Want to know how to make your blog faster? Well, you've come to the right post. We'll take a look at 10 smart ways to make your blog go from snail pace to lightning pace! Let's go.
What's the big deal with website page speed and the importance of loading times? I mean, it never used to be a problem years ago. If you had a great-looking website with all the right information, that's all that mattered.
Sadly, we now live in an era crammed with unnecessary complications. Technology has shoved us into a corner where we have evolved into the most impatient species on the planet. We seek instant gratification for almost everything.
Waiting? What on earth is that? I want it now! Yep, that's the 21st century alright.
When it comes to all things online, if a website or application doesn't load instantly, we assume that the end of the world is coming. I mean, how dare should we be made to wait more than 2 seconds for a web page to load?
Google Search Console has some features called Page Experience and Core Web Vitals, which to me, sounds like a load a dog... Well, you know. It might be great for some webmasters, but it's bloated and complicated in my opinion. Just another way for Google to screw things around and take control of the web.
Again, this is purely my opinion, but I don't think the average person gives a rat's tail about page load time or waiting a few extra seconds more for something to happen.
Myself, for example, I'm happy to wait longer than a few seconds for something to load if I really need the information. Heck, I've been known to wait a few minutes sometimes. I just go and make a cup of coffee or something.
I never used to be like that though, I used to hate waiting and curse slow-loading websites! Arghhhhhh, the darn thing won't load!
But we almost forget that most of the time, it's not the problem with the actual website. Poor internet connection, slow servers, and poor mobile network coverage all play a role in slowing down a website.
Oops, I almost forgot.
Of course, we have all these statistics to prove otherwise that if a website loads too slow, it's the webmaster's fault! And not to mention that folks will just go elsewhere or click away.
Woo hoo, the statistics say so... So it must be true, right?
Pffft, as much as I like reading and sharing statistics, I take it all with a pinch of salt.
That being said, whether I think it's all a pile of garbage or not, it's important to make your blog load quickly as possible - It would appear that if you want your blog to grow and drive more traffic and conversions, you have to play by Google's algorithm rules.
So, here are 10 ways to make your blog faster! Not only to please Google but more importantly, your visitors and readers.
OK, let's start with one of the most critical factors when it comes to performance and making your blog faster.
At this level, if your hosting sucks, it won't matter how much you optimize your blog, theme, plugins, images, etc - because your blog or website's performance will still suck.
So, you might be tempted to keep the seemingly attractive $1.99 per month shared hosting plan that you're on right now. That's fine if you are just starting out.
However, if you're into the growth stage of your blog development and want better performance, overall, paying $1.99 per month will not cut it.
You don't need to pay $100 per month either for great quality hosting. If you are on WordPress, I would recommend looking into migrating to a provider like Kinsta, which is the hosting provider we use for Magnet4Blogging.
Kinsta specializes in managed WordPress hosting offering a plethora of state-of-the-art, performance-optimized technology that all run on the Google Cloud Platform.
Oh no, not Google again!
Seriously, not only do you get the best hosting for your buck, but you also have access to some great features such as resource usage overview, analytics, backup, Malware removal, redirects, IP deny, SSL, plugin manager, and more - All within your hosting dashboard.
Recommended Podcast: We've Moved From SiteGround Kinsta: Here's Why
Using a content delivery network has many advantages. Just in case you're new to all of this: A CDN is used to distribute content from a server that is closest to a user. This just doesn't just help to improve page speed and improve visitors' experience, but also helps to reduce bandwidth costs. Whether that cost is reflected in your hosting bill or not is another matter.
Anyhow, before you go off and explore which CDN is best for your needs - be aware that there are both free and premium services available.
Cloudflare is a great starting point because they offer free CDN complete with automated SSL certificates, unmetered mitigation of DDoS attacks with up to 90 Tbps capacity, and more.
That being said, if you migrate your blog over to a host like Kinsta, you get access to free Cloudflare CDN which is available across all plans.
What can I tell you about WordPress that you don't already know? It's great. It's better than great.
Sure, it's not a flawless platform, but what are these days? WordPress is, however, one of the most flexible website building frameworks.
When it comes to content ownership, WordPress wins hands-down. Your domain, your hosting plan, your website, your content.
As I said, WordPress has its more than fair share of flaws. Hackers seem to love hacking into WordPress sites and injecting all kinds of trash. But as long as you have safeguards in place, and use a reliable web host provider and CDN, you can reduce the impact hackers will have on your blog.
Recommended: 15 Tips And Tools To Lockdown Your WordPress Site: WordPress Security
When it comes to WordPress themes, there are literally thousands to choose from. Sadly, not all themes are created equally. When thinking about security and performance - your WordPress theme should tick both of these boxes.
I would recommend picking a theme that has been well-coded, receives frequent updates, and doesn't come with a ton of bloat. A simple, premium, lightweight theme that you can build upon is worth every penny.
When I talk about bloating, some themes come with a lot of code that's not always necessary. Not to mention features that you'll never use.
So, what do I recommend? I use and recommend the following:
Oxygen Builder - A powerful drag-and-drop theme builder plugin that gives you the tools to build your 'bloat-free theme from complete scratch. Even better for savvy WordPress users with basic knowledge of web design and coding. You can also eliminate bloating by disabling emojis, deprecated JQuery code, etc. Magnet4Blogging is built on Oxygen Builder. Learn more.
Thrive Theme Builder - A complete, user-friendly, drag-and-drop theme builder from one of the most reputable WordPress tech companies on the web. Thrive Theme Builder lets you design and customize every area of your blog from complete scratch. Learn more.
StudioPress - StudioPress is the creators of the popular Genesis Theme Framework, along with Genesis Blocks Pro and Custom Blocks Pro. These are powerful tools for creating a fast, responsive, and lightweight blog with WordPress. Ideal for those looking for something to use right out of the box. Learn more.
Plugins are great for adding functionality to your WordPress website. There's no doubt about it, WordPress wouldn't be what it is without plugins. However, too much of a good thing can be bad. You simply cannot add hundreds of plugins to your WordPress site without sacrificing performance.
I recommend a few things -
One of your plugins should be the Perfmatters plugin. This is a lightweight WordPress performance optimization plugin that comes with a host of useful features. Use it to reduce HTTPS requests and make your website faster and more.
What do I mean by gimmicks? Well, basically any feature that has no purpose. Silly transitions and animations that slow website page load time for example. Carousels and sliders are probably among the most useless features on a website or blog. Both from a user and conversion perspective. Not convinced? Check out this post.
Poorly optimized images are the worst. They are the number one cause for most slow-loading websites out there. Blog posts often have a lot of images and other visuals embedded, so be sure that you are optimizing every image before your upload them to your blog.
I recommend using a tool like TinyPNG to compress your images without losing the quality.
If possible, I recommend hosting your images on a reliable external server such as Amazon S3. It's super cheap. Almost all of the images on Magnet4Blogging are hosted on Amazon's cloud storage.
One of the things I notice a lot as a freelance designer and front-end dev over at FVM is that almost all the WordPress sites I diagnose for problems have plugins that are out of date. Some have not been updated for months on end. I can't understand how hard it can be to update a few plugins, it literally takes just a few seconds.
Keeping your theme and plugins updated reduces the likelihood of something going wrong with your blog or website. In addition, these critical updates help maintain the performance of your blog.
Frequently flush out the cache in your WordPress blog if you use a caching plugin. In addition, you can also flush out the cache server-side, in your web host, if provided. You don't always need to do this, but if your website isn't loading properly or appears broken, that's one place you can look.
Of course, in order to maintain the optimum performance of your website or ensure your blog loads fast every time, you need to make regular checks.
You can use free tools like GTMterix, Mobile-Friendly Test to check your blog. GTMetrix will give you a variety of data about your website including performance, structure, waterfall, and more.
So, there you have it. If you want to make your blog faster, all you need to do is take some time to make a few of the tweaks mentioned above. This will help to keep Google happy, but most of all, keep your visitors and readers happy too.