WordPress performance is extremely important for your website. If pages take too long to load, Google may penalize your site and visitors will be flocking back to the SERP.

In fact, according to the Akamai Online Retail Performance Report, a one second delay in loading time can lead to a 7% decrease in conversion rate.

If you’re selling courses, running a podcast or publishing blog posts regularly you can’t afford to give up features for a minimalist site approach, even if it will increase performance.

With that in mind, here are 7 ways to boost your WordPress performance without sacrificing functionality.

1) Optimize Images

Start with compression, which means reducing the size of your images where appropriate. For example, if you’re showing a small testimonial icon you can compress that image to 20 x 20 pixels, instead of having your website load the full resolution, just to minimize it in the interface.

Image Thumbnail

You can do this manually by accessing your WordPress media folder and resizing each image in part.

Wordpress Image Edit

The benefit of that is that you can choose not to compress an image if you know it should be downloaded and used by other people in their content (i.e. an infographic made for link building).

If you don’t have time for that, you can use a tool like WPSmush to help you speed up the process.

Next, try and serve scaled images. This means that you serve one asset to the network and markup will scale the image in CSS or HTML based on the device your visitor is using. This is great mobile optimization, because you won’t have smartphone users loading a full sized image, but desktop users will still see the same quality.

It’s not the easiest thing to implement, but for a detailed guide you can check this Google developers tutorial.

Lastly, do some smart web design. If I compress all images from my home page, I can save up to 2 MB of data.
But that’s only equivalent to one full-sized picture. If I rearrange my homepage and replace the image below with a CSS element or background, I can save just as much.

Optimise Images WordPress

2) Leverage Browser Caching

Browser caching is extremely important, especially for serving repeat visitors well. The way this works is that you have users save some of the content from your pages for later use.

When they navigate to a different page or come back to your website after a few days, they don’t have to download every byte all over again. Their page loads faster, your network is using less bandwidth.

Logos, headers, footers and backgrounds are elements you can cache and the way to go about it is easy. Just set expiry dates for certain types of files in your HTTPS.

Alternatively, you can use a WordPress plugin to do this for you. WPSuperCache is made by Automattic – the guys behind WordPress – so you can give it a try.

3) Check Your Plugins

Since we mentioned plugins, here’s one more fix: make sure the ones you have installed are not wasting resources.

This can happen because updates create incompatibilities. There’s no way to detect this manually, but you can install P3 (performance profiler plugin) on your site.

Update WordPress Plugins

My personal result with P3 went pretty well, none of the plugins I had installed were problematic.

One thing to watch out for is plugins that you’ve purchased a Pro version for – make sure you either deactivate or uninstall the vanilla version, otherwise it may affect your loading time.

4) Watch Out For That Theme

If your theme is not optimized well or if it’s not communicating properly with other WP tools, loading time can suffer.

There’s no real way to analyze this on your own – it’s a trial and error process of discovering fast themes.

But your job is not done. Using visual editors like Elementor sometimes means that you’ll deactivate your theme’s interface and only use a blank canvas page.

However, if you forget to deactivate elements from the theme settings, they might load but not display. Headers tend to do that, so make sure you deactivate such elements from your theme dashboard.

Wordpress Theme Settings

Lastly, make sure you delete unused resources. This goes for all content, you don’t want to overload your server, but unused themes and theme elements are especially problematic.

5) Minify Code

A lot happens in the background when your page loads. CSS, HTML and JavaScript lines are running to output your website, and there’s some work you can do here as well.

Code minification basically means decluttering your code. Removing clear lines, comments and unnecessary sections to have everything run smoother.

This is extremely important if you’re using a visual editor with custom code lines. For example, if you hover a button with the drag-and-drop editor, but use custom CSS to resize it, you’ll have two sections that can be made into one.

Such fine retouches can only be done manually by accessing the entire code of a page, but for an easier fix you can use a plugin like Autoptimize or a free tool like the CSS Compressor.

These will clean your code where possible. To maximize performance however, don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. You don’t need to learn an actual programming language, just understand the syntax and go through your website’s code clearing useless lines or redundant functions.

6 ) Optimize Your Content

It’s not all images and code. You can also tweak your written content to increase WordPress performance.

Usually people will break a long-form piece into pages or use an FAQ format for really long pieces, where visitors can drop-down the sections they’re interested in reading. This works well if you’re publishing a 10x pillar page for example.

Your performance will increase since visitors only load the sections they’re interested in.

Moz Seo Image

Another thing anyone can do is break the comments section into pages. This way, visitors won’t load every comment if they’re not interested in reading them.

7) Use a CDN

A CDN (Content Delivery Network) stores static content from your website in different servers around the globe.

CDN Graphic

The way this helps is that visitors will receive data from a server as near to them as possible, removing lag and increasing performance.

CDN’s come in all shapes and sizes. If you’re looking for a decent free version, we recommend Cloudflare, but do your own research – you can start here.

And For The Final Fix

Boosting your WordPress performance means rolling up your sleeves. It’s not the hardest process, but you do need to understand a little bit about networks, coding, images and web design. Follow the tips outlined above and you should have a decent head start.

If you want a trusty tool to help with the process, consider using WPRocket. It’s not cheap, but it’s worth the money because it can help with almost everything you read today, without sacrificing functionality.

For more information on the topic, you can also read Authority Hacker’s Step by Step Guide on How to Speed up Your WordPress Website.