I always want my website to load faster. I’m sure anyone who operates a website wants that as well, because nobody likes a slow site. Even search engines appear to favor sites that load faster.

There are many steps that one can run a faster site – here’s some of mine. Note that I’m using Bluehost as my webhost (webhosts play a part in reliability and speed).

 

1. Implement Caching

What is caching?

Imagine a painter doing a painting of a lake. He is fully capable of doing the same painting over and over again, but it takes time to do so each time. Imagine now that your website is the painter, and it has to paint each webpage from scratch each time a visitor visits your site. It is doable, but causes strain on resources and is slow to the visitor. A cache is a copy of an already ‘painted’ page, awaiting to be shown to visitors. This reduces load times and resource strains.

The best free WordPress caching plugins are WP Super Cache (more simple) are W3 Total Cache (complex with more options). Both are free plugins and I’m using WP Super Cache currently.

By installing and activating a caching plugin, your visitors will experience improved load times.

Note: Caching can mean that some changes you make won’t be seen live for some time. There can also be conflicts with some plugins. If you experience such issues, you need to flush the cache (or deactivate and reactivate the cache plugin) sometimes.

 

2. Implement Lazy Loading

What is lazy loading?

Say you have  a page with a bunch of text and images on it. When a visitor requests a website, the text will be relatively small in size to fetch, but if you have a lot of images, it will really slow down the loading of the webpage.

Not good.

A very simple (and very smart) solution is to implement lazy loading.

What this does is to first load your webpage with the main elements, and only load images, videos etc when the website visitors actually scrolls to the part of the page.

What this means a much faster load time on a page with a lot of images, and a happier experience for the visitor!

All you need to do is to install this plugin.

 

3. Using CloudFlare

CloudFlare is a service (with a free tier) that can make your website load faster with less strain on resources, by redistributing your content from their servers. See the video below.

[vc_video link=’https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qA_yl3E7cnc’]

The problem with CloudFlare is that it can be a little technical to set up (requires redirecting of DNS records).

Fortunately, Bluehost has partnered with CloudFlare which makes it easy for you.

 

Within Bluehost

Logging into Bluehost, click on CloudFlare

Bluehost CloudFlareProvide an email address to sign up for CloudFlare

Bluehost CloudFlare 2

Or login with your existing CloudFlare account

Bluehost CloudFlare 3

 

CloudFlare should be enabled and working. You can make a couple of tweaks on the CloudFlare website itself, to further enhance performance.

 

Within CloudFlare

Log into CloudFlare.com > (your website) > CloudFlare Settings > Performance Settings

CloudFlare Settings

Auto-Minify

Under the Auto-Minify section, make sure all the 3 items are green as shown. (or click to enable). This combines long paragraphs of code into shorter form for faster processing.CloudFlare Minify

Rocket Loader (beta)

Under Rocker Loader, turn it on to Automatic. Although it says beta, it works well for me.

What Rocker Loader does is make sure the main parts of the website shows up (while other code load concurrently in the background). This can mean a big improvement in your load times if you have plugins which cause your site to load slower. CloudFlare Rocket Loader

Update: I’ve since turned ‘off’ Rocket Loader on this site, as it has some conflicts with my plugins. If you face the same issue, I suggest that you leave this ‘off’ as well.

 

4. Optimizing/Resizing Images

We’ve been focusing on the technical aspects of website loads, but you can do your part to make your content load faster by reducing the size of your images.

One thing you can do is reduce each image size before you upload them. A great tool you can use is TinyPNG, which works for both png and jpg files.

You can also use a plugin to optimize your images. 2 popular ones are EWWW Image Optimizer and WP Smushit. Both are free plugins and I’m currently using EWWW Image Optimizer.