Nobody likes a slow website. No one is going to wait for 7-8 seconds just for your website to load. Moreover, you are losing on the SEO front too.
And if you have built the website using WordPress, then the matter is worse. WordPress makes it super easy for us to make it super slow. New WordPress developers are going to make your website slow.
Why? I tell you.
Two of the essential parts of a WordPress website are a theme and plugins. It’s effortless for people to go wrong on both of those fronts.
Before my rant goes out of hand, let me reorganise myself.
So, let’s talk about the four things that are going to make a snail seem to travel faster.
1. Slow Hosting
If ‘Get the cheapest possible hosting‘ is your mantra, then you are headed for trouble. There is a reason why cheap hostings are cheap. These hosts keep too many websites on one server, and it is bound to make your site slower.
If your business requires a strong business presence, I will suggest you get a good quality hosting. Let it be shared hosting. That’s not an issue. But it has to be a good quality one.
It should not go down or crash now and then. The support should be knowledgeable.
My experience with different hostings
I was initially using a GoDaddy hosting. It was a bit slow, but then I never intended to start an online business, and I didn’t know much about the hosting.
A year later, I switched to InMotion. I was happy with the hosting. It was faster than the GoDaddy one but almost five times costly. And it wasn’t five times faster.
After that, things took a turn for the worse. I got an email from HostGator that they had 50% discount going on the yearly plan. I immediately grabbed the offer as anyway my year with InMotion was almost over.
That hosting was so bad; it was so crappy that my website was going down now and then like nine pins. And support? Oh boy! That was one hell of pathetic support. I left that hosting after just three months.
I am not sure how HostGator’s quality is now.
One important point I want to mention here is I purchased this hosting from HostGator India, which is different from HostGator USA. I have no idea about the quality of HostGator USA.
With the issue with this hosting, I moved my website to SiteGround. SiteGround is supremely good hosting. I am delighted with their service. Many of my customers are using SiteGround. It’s almost hassle-free.
I have used Bluehost for my clients. And their quality is also good. As far as I know, it’s no SiteGround, but it’s sufficiently good.
Currently, my website is on WP Engine. And I couldn’t be happier. My site now loads in just about a second.
But WP Engine is not cheap hosting. It costs $35 every month. Compare that with other hosts which cost $2-$3 per month.
It’s critical to have an excellent host. My suggestion is don’t be thrifty with the hosting. Don’t go for very high-end hosting like WP Engine or Kinsta initially but get decent hosting.
2. Bloated Theme is one of the prime reason for a slow website
I have talked extensively about themes previously here. I won’t reiterate what I had said in the earlier blog post, but the themes that look beautiful and have graphic gizmos in plenty are slow.
These themes provide a ridiculously high number of customisations. Let me tell you these customisations are not good too. But they slow down your website.
I have used themes like Avada, Karma and some other themes from marketplaces. The websites made with them look terrific, but they are slow as hell.
Since then, I have shifted to the Genesis Framework. Their themes are of very high quality and lean. No doubt they have less number of customisations, but they play very well Elementor.
By the way, Elementor is a page builder.
Astra is another lean theme.
My suggestion for you is don’t look for a theme that provides a maximum number of customisations. Instead, look for a theme that is lean and loads fast.
3. Too Many Plugins
We might not even use WordPress if there were no plugins available. Plugins extend the functionality of the website beyond our imagination.
There are more than 50000 plugins. And there lies the problem. Not all of them are of good quality.
Very few are good. When I say good, what I mean is secure plugins, that are updated regularly and don’t open the website to malware attacks.
But man, the good plugins, they are too good. Plugins like Contact Form 7, Elementor, Yoast SEO are the few examples of quality plugins.
Coming back to the original point, using too many plugins puts the load on the system. Eventually leading to slow load times.
You should use plugins that are essential for your website. Also using non-standard plugins may create conflict between the plugins. Again a bad situation to be in.
I have curated a list of 7 must-have plugins for your WordPress website. You can download it here.
Don’t use a plugin for every small thing. Like if you want to add some custom CSS, you can do so in the WordPress Theme Customizer. There is no need to get an additional plugin.
This is where you will have to tell your developer that you want a lean website and not a bloated one. Lazy developers will take a shortcut and use plugins for the banalest thing.
This website is using ten plugins.
Thrive Architect for building landing pages
Thrive Leads for lead generation
Google Sitemap for sitemap generation and submission
Pods for creating custom post types
Pretty Links for link shortening
Antispam Bee to weed spammy comments
WP-Rocket for performance optimisation
Pixel Caffeine for Facebook Pixel integration
Imagify for compressing images
Regenerate thumbnails for generating thumbnails of the images
I am not using a separate SEO plugin because the Genesis Theme I am using comes with builtin SEO support.
Keep the count of plugins to maximum 15 so that you don’t have a slow website. Don’t go overboard with them and install like 30 odd plugins.
4. Big Images
Stock images have a high resolution. And with high resolution comes a large size. On average, the images downloaded from sites like Unsplash, Pixabay, iStock or other such repositories have a size of 10+ MB.
If we use them directly on our WordPress site, things are bound to get slow. Imagine having five images each with a size of 1 MB (forget 10 MB, even 1 MB is enough). Then your webpage will have a size of 5 MB, and that’s excluding any other files.
A webpage that big is not acceptable.
Sometimes even the images we download from Canva are big. So make sure to compress the images. You can use plugins like EWWW image optimiser or Imagify or WP Smush. I used to install EWWW, but then I switched to Imagify, which is an excellent plugin.
Keep your website to a maximum of 3 MB. After that, even a superfast host may struggle to load the site quickly.
So make sure you take care of the above four things, and you will have a faster website at your disposal.