You do not need to be a developer to speed up your WordPress site with these tips, but it would certainly help. After each suggestion, I encourage you to use the Google PageSpeed Insight tool to test if your page efficiency has improved. One thing I want to point out before you start is that this is your website. You don’t have to use all of the tips below if it does not make sense for your website and audience. Here are 7 easy and simple steps that you can do to speed up your WordPress site without needing a developer.
Remove Unnecessary Plugins
Did you know that running a lot of plugins will slow up your site? WordPress is fantastic for people like me who can’t code, but it can also act as a double edge sword in terms of site speed. Here are some tips to remove or limit plugins for your site
Plugins like Yoast and All in One SEO are practically the same thing. If you are running both plugins, you really should get rid of one of them. Same goes with other plugins that sort of do the same thing. Things like Contact Form 7 and Calls to Action are similar, so you should again consider how often you use both. It is easy to forget about all plugins that you no longer use, so you should take a quick look at all of your plugins and delete and remove any that are not necessary anymore.
Just like the tip before, we want to remove waste on the site. I use to have a lot of widgets placed as static placeholders on the right side panel of my site. I had social media icons, an internal search bar, a picture of myself, a description of myself, a call to action, and more. When it came down to the end of the day, I did not care if people went to my Twitter or Facebook page. People were not using the search bar to search within myself, and my bio was awkward and not needed since I have an about me page. Cleaning up or removing widgets will help speed up your site.
Optimize the Image File Size
Large image sizes are the problem here. Even if you scale an image down within WordPress, Google will still see the original image file size. So while the user will see the smaller image that you put on the page, your site still needs to fully load the original file sizes even if you don’t want to show that. For myself, I use two solutions that don’t require code.
First, I use the free plugin called WP Smush which helps scale all of my images down on my site. This is a great first step in improving the load time. Second, I begin with my most visited landing pages for organic traffic. I run a PageSpeed report within Google Search Console to see if the images could be reduced further. If so, I will re upload the image by using a tool like Photoshop to save the file to the size I want my audience to see. From there, I will re upload that new image size on the page.
You can also use a tool like Screaming Frog to look at all of the image file sizes of your site. You can then sort the image file sizes from largest to smallest. From there, you can then follow the second step that I mentioned above and reduce the sizes.
As a tip, you should have the images below the fold of your site. Having images below the fold reduces what the page needs to initially load for the user. Again, you can argue the user experience aspect of removing an image before the fold. This is just a tip I think about when I write a new blog post.
Revision Control for Your Posts and pages
If you are like me, I save blog posts every ten seconds. I do that so I won’t lose anything, but did you know that those revisions are actually stored by WordPress? The revisions are then all stored and stacked up on that page or post. To fix this problem, you can download the Revision Control plugin. The picture below shows that I only keep three revisions of any post. If you look at some of your posts in WordPress, you might see twenty or more revisions all saved. You will be amazed at what this plugin can do for your load time once you implement it.
Minify the CSS
In WordPress, you need to head over to your CSS file sheet to do this step. Look for this section (*/) within the CSS file and copy all of the code beneath that. From there, you will head over to this CSS Minify Tool. From there, you need paste in the CSS code that you copied and click on the minify tab. You will see the new minimized CSS code directly to the right. Head back into your CSS file and paste this compressed code into the CSS and save the changes. The arrow shows how the CSS is now all connected within each other and no longer individual lines of code.
As a note, you will still see that error message within the PageSpeed report, but you will see less problems then before. Depending on the theme of your WordPress site, you will either see a small or a massive direct impact from doing this.
This tip was saved for the end. Check out how to enable compression for your WordPress site to figure out how to do this properly. If you want to bypass that, you should download the W3 Total Cache Plugin and get going! In a nutshell, you want to enable compression for your website because it will allow your server to provide smaller file sizes which in turn will make your site load faster.
Here is a report from Google for my site. As you can see, I still have a lot of things I can do for my site to improve the speed.
Some other things I can do include contacting your hosting provider to see what upgrade options are available to speed up your site. You can eliminate render blocking Java Script and CSS above the fold. You can even use Bing Webmaster Tools to control the crawl rate of Bing Bot during your peak hours of traffic to not limit your site in its efficiency.