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How To Speed Up WordPress And Other CMS & Shopping Websites

Cvetan Mihaylov
Cvetan Mihaylov

How fast is your website? Are your visitors given immediate access or are they forced to endure slow and frustrating loading times? According to Backlinko, who analyzed over five million websites, the average web page takes 1.3 seconds to load on desktop and twice as long on mobile, yet 47% of visitors will leave if a site isn’t loaded in under 2 seconds.

A slow site = a high bounce rate, and the slower it is, the higher that bounce rate will be.

So, what can you do about it?

In this guide, we’ll show you how to speed up a WordPress website with a few simple tricks.

Website Types: Static And Dynamic

Is your site static or dynamic? This question is key to understanding page speed optimization on WordPress.

A static website is co-called because it is “static” for every visitor. It is a basic, flat website that doesn’t change based on the user’s platform, location, or preferences. By their very nature, static websites remain the same or don't change often, and so the data is cached and the site loads quickly. There are minimal server requests and so web users see the content in an instant.

Static websites are the most common type of website and are usually found on small sites with minimal interactivity. If the site’s content doesn’t need to change or update, it can remain static. A portfolio section or an agency website are great examples of this. The bulk of the information on that page remains the same or changes only slightly, so server requests are reduced and it loads quickly.

A dynamic website, on the other hand, will change depending on the visiting time - a visit that occurs two minutes later could see different page content. It might change according to the viewer’s language, platform, time zone, or even the time of day but also the changes made by the website owner in the meantime. The content is constantly updating and thus takes longer to load.

All of these changes happen in real-time. Once a visitor lands on a dynamic website, their browser information will be passed to a server and that server will decide what to show them based on preset variables.

Dynamic websites are commonly used on eCommerce sites and booking sites, ensuring the best customer experience possible. Imagine that you are about to book a room in one specific hotel, but you are checking other options at the same time. While doing this, someone else manages to book the last room. You will wonder why your booking is denied and after refreshing the page (= sending a new request) you will see that the room is not available anymore.

The difference between static website and dynamic website
A dynamic website is built to deliver a truly real-time interaction with website visitors in terms of the backend structure while the static websites can be cached once and delivered upon request.

Of course, there can be speed issues, especially if you’re working with slow servers and limited experience, but in the next few sections we’ll show you how to increase page speed in WordPress and other CMS platforms.

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Different CMS Platforms and Website Speed

Content Management Systems (CMS) are designed to build and manage digital content. They streamline the process of publishing, organizing, and uploading content, but also come with some website performance features or the possibility to implement them by yourself or add plugins. Therefore, the CMS platforms impact the website speed.

There are several types of CMS out there and they typically fall into one of the following categories:

Web Content Management System Platforms

Joomla, Wix, WordPress, and Drupal, for example, all fall under this somewhat general category. Web CMS platforms are developed to produce and manage an array of digital content, including images, text, and interactive elements. There are many moving parts here, but these platforms are designed with simplicity in mind and they are mostly considered user-friendly.

What’s more, most page speed techniques are relevant across all platforms, which is to say that many Joomla website speed optimization tactics apply to Drupal page speed optimization methods, as well as those designed for WordPress and other CMS platforms.

Although these CMS platforms are easy to manage, they could be notoriously slow for the users. In most cases, the issue lies with large, uncompressed image files (logos, banners, sliders), as well as large pages programmed to load all at once.

Your CMS won’t do all the work, and you need to think carefully about how you add content to these platforms and how that content is loaded.

eCommerce CMS Platforms

PrestaShop, Magento, Magento 2, Shopify, and WooCommerce are popular eCommerce CMS platforms. They are designed to produce eCommerce-ready websites, where an array of products will be showcased and sold. As above, many PrestaShop page speed optimization tactics will also help you to speed up a Magento 2 store, albeit with some minor variations.

Page speed optimization is especially important here, as most of them are dynamic websites listing lots of products and a higher bounce rate will reduce a site’s customer conversion rate while also affecting its search engine rankings.

Blogging, API-Driven, and more

In addition to the above, there are CMS platforms designed specifically for blogging, as well as ones driven by API and other technology. Blogs exist in a highly competitive space. Consumers expect them to be fast. If not, they’ll get their information from somewhere else.

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Ways To Test Your Page Speed

Whether you want to know how to increase website speed on Wix, speed up a Magento store, or boost your WordPress site, the first step is to test your current speed.

For this, you can use services like Pingdom or PageSpeed Insights.

How To Speed Up A WordPress Website - Best Tips

The following tips will help you to increase website speed in WordPress or in a WooCommerce store (WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin for retail sites). However, these tips are pretty universal, so they will also teach you how to speed up a Shopify website, get a grip on Magento page speed optimization, and master Magento 2 page speed optimization.

The Best Tips to Speed Up a WordPress site
Common best practices advised by experts to continuously speed up a WordPress site and any other CMS and eCommerce platforms.

Use a CDN

A Content Delivery Network (CDN) can give your WordPress or Shopify website a speed boost. If you have a lot of content, it’s an essential part of your online business puzzle. CDN works by delivering content from servers all over the world. When a user visits your website, the CDN will distribute content from a server that is nearest to their destination. It also stores static content and delivers this as needed, greatly reducing HTTP requests and providing a high-speed and fluid experience every time.

Compress and Manage Media

If your website takes a painfully-long time to load, and there are no server issues, your images are probably to blame. One of the biggest mistakes that webmasters make is to add screenshots and high-quality images without optimization. It means they have images that are several megabytes big and take an eternity to load.

It’s especially problematic for eCommerce websites, as store owners want to showcase their products in the best light and so they post the highest-quality images. A key part of any WooCommerce or Shopify website speed optimization process is to rethink how those images are being added. Always compress them before posting and then optimize them after posting.

And don’t just stop there. Every now and then, spend some time going through your media files to remove the ones that are no longer relevant, and are no longer being used.

Minify Your Codes

Your images aren’t the only thing you can optimize. With code minification, you can give the same treatment to your CSS, HTML, and JavaScript.

When you minify your codes, you’re basically removing all unnecessary elements, including comments and line breaks. The code will still do the job for which it was designed, it’ll just be leaner and won’t weigh as heavily on your servers. The more code that you have (such as from lots of content, interactive elements, and complex themes), the more effective this process will be.

Lazy-Load Your Long Scrolling Pages

The longer a page is, the longer it will take to load, and as we noted at the outset of this article, most visitors won’t give your site more than a couple of seconds. To prevent high drop-off rates on long-form content, utilize lazy loading.

Lazy loading works by only loading the content that a user can actually see. It’s similar to the rendering processes used by video game developers. They create vast and detailed worlds that can be accessed by the player, but they don’t have the processing power to load them all at once so they only load what’s in the player’s periphery.

If you do the same thing on your website, you can keep those long and detailed pages without forcing your visitors to flee for greener—and faster—pastures.

Don’t Neglect Plugins

How many plugins do you have and how many are actually being used? These questions rarely produce the same answer, and it’s not uncommon for the former to greatly outnumber the latter.

If you’re not using a plugin, deactivate it and remove it. If you are, make sure it is updated. The same goes for WooCommerce and for WordPress in general. You should always update your plugins to the latest versions.

Of course, plugins aren’t as relevant to Shopify and Magento website speed optimization, but most CMS platforms have some form of plugins, widgets, or apps that can both boost performance/functionality and weigh heavily on your load time.

Limit Comments

A free-flowing comments section is a great way to boost organic SEO and ensure visitors keep returning to your site. However, they can also reduce your speed as it gives the website more content to load.

To counteract this, consider reducing how many comments appear on the page at the same time while also placing restrictions on comment length and the use of attachments.

Conclusion

There are certain techniques and tools, which can improve the website speed, even if you are not an experienced developer or website builder. Now that you know how to speed up a WordPress or Shopify website, and more, it’s time to get out there and start fine-tuning your website!

If you have a WordPress site, check out Cloudimage, a page speed optimization WordPress plugin that works by transforming and optimizing videos and images on-the-fly, which gives you a faster website and provides your visitors with a better experience. You can use this plugin with other CMS and Shopping platforms either and should experience some immediate and significant improvements.

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Cvetan Mihaylov