Is your site slow to load? Afraid it’s affecting your bounce rate? Well it is, but we’ve got even worse news: if your site loads slowly, your bounce rate is probably much higher than you know. If a visitor clicks away before your Google Analytics script has loaded, that visitor isn’t even counted in your bounce rate.
Scary stuff, right? Especially if your bounce rate is already higher than you’d like.
In case you don’t know, your bounce rate is the percentage of visitors that only hit one page before exiting your site, and a lower bounce rate is always better. The lower the bounce rate percentage, the more people are enjoying your content, subscribing to your newsletters, and buying your products. But one of the major factors driving up bounce rates for many websites is a slow load time.
Another huge downside of having a slow load time is that it affects your Google search ranking negatively, so it’s definitely worth your while to try some of the methods below to get your site up to snuff!
On WordPress, slow load times are a particular problem because of how people tend to overload their sites with heavy content and plugins. Fear not though, we’ve got the tools and tips to help you!
Pingdom Speed Test
Don’t know how fast your site loads? Well you can’t fix a problem if you don’t know how bad it is! Plug your URL into this speed test tool to see how you measure up and what files are slowing you down.
Remove Extra Plugins
That includes Hello Dolly (unless you use it… but does anyone?). Try to pare your plugins down as much as possible because every extra plugin means more files for the browser to download. Delete the inactive ones too for good measure.
Empty Your Trash
Get rid of your spam comments by going to Comments > Empty Spam. Empty the Trash by going to Posts > Trash > Empty Trash and also Posts > Trash > Empty Trash. And especially delete old post revisions. The easiest way is with this plugin (that you can delete when you’re done), Better Delete Revision.
Optimize Your Images
If you’re uploading 5MB photos to your website – quit! Edit your images to be as small as possible (and still look great on your website!). If you don’t have Photoshop, use this wonderful online editor, Pixlr.
A Caching Plugin
“But you just said to cut down on plugins!” you exclaim. We know, but this is one worth having. WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache are the leaders in the field. Both are great, though WP Super Cache is a little less overwhelming for beginners.
Ask for Help from Your Hosting Provider
It’s a little known fact, but your hosting provider might be able to move you to a less crowded shared server or increase your bandwidth. All you have to do is ask (or insist, depending on your customer service representative).
Then re-test your site to see if you’re faster! If not, ask your hosting provider what you can do to speed up your site.