What is the best way to speed up my site?

Let’s look at some tips to speed up your site.

A slow website can negatively impact your business. Research shows that even a 1-second delay in page load time can cause a 7% reduction in conversions. There are several ways to optimize your site for faster load times. In this post, I’ll share some of the most effective methods for improving website speed based on our own experiences at Team 218.

Optimize Images

Images often make up the bulk of a web page’s size. We see this happen all the time – someone takes a pic or 2 with their smart phone and uploads them to their website. The picture looks great but behind that great looking photo is a huge resource hog. Here’s what we do to combat image bloat. Figure out what dimensions your image needs to be for its’ intended placement on your web page. Also consider the format the image need to be in; portrait of landscape. You don’t need an image that’s thousands of pixels wide. For a featured image on a blog post for example, we size the image at 700 pixels by 395 pixels. We use a web application called squoosh to resize, compress and optimize the image. This all happens before the image is uploaded to the media library in WordPress.

How to Use Squoosh.app to Optimize Images

Squoosh.app is a browser-based image compression tool that makes it easy to reduce image file sizes. Follow these steps:

  • Go to https://squoosh.app/ in your web browser. No installation or account setup needed.
  • Drag and drop an image you want to optimize directly onto the website. You can also upload an image using the file picker.
  • On the right side of the interface, you’ll see sliders for various optimization settings:
    • Image Quality – Lower values increase compression rates and reduce quality. Be careful not to set too low or artifacts will show.
    • Encoding – Try different formats like MozJPEG, WebP and AVIF. WebP and AVIF produce smaller files than JPG/PNG but have less browser support currently.
    • Resize – Resize images if they’re unnecessarily large for the web. Rarely need images over 2000px wide/tall.
  • Use the Compare button to see the original and optimized version side-by-side. Helps spot if compression went too far.
  • When ready, click Download to get your optimized image file. Supports formats like JPG, PNG, WebP and AVIF.
  • You can optimize multiple images in bulk by dragging and dropping a folder of images.
  • Extra tools like Sharpen, Rotate and Resample available for more advanced image edits and optimizations.

The key benefit of Squoosh is reducing image file sizes right in the browser without needing to install any software. It makes image optimization quick and easy.

Minify CSS, JavaScript and HTML

Minification removes unnecessary characters like whitespace and comments to reduce file size without altering functionality. A common approach is to minify assets as part of your build process. Alternatively, use a plugin like Autoptimize to minify and combine assets on-the-fly. Just be sure to test minified assets as errors can sometimes be introduced.

Enable Caching

Caching stores static copies of pages and assets so they don’t have to be rebuilt on each request. Browser caching instructs browsers to store files locally. We use Litespeed cache and recommend it if your hosting supports it.

Here are some of the main benefits of using LiteSpeed Cache plugin:

  • Speeds up your WordPress site by caching pages, posts, archives etc. Reduces server load and speeds up page load times.
  • Implements both server-side page caching and browser caching using cache headers. Utilizes LitSpeed’s optimized caching engine.
  • Automatically purges caches when content is updated. Ensures fresh content is always served to visitors.
  • Offers advanced cache options like database optimization, minification of HTML/CSS/JS, and parallel preloading of cache.
  • Compatible with Cloudflare, Varnish, Nginx and other caching solutions. Can be used in conjunction with other optimizations.
  • Lightweight plugin with little impact on server resources. Well optimized code and efficient memory usage.
  • Easy to use setup and configuration. Caching can be enabled with default settings quite easily.
  • Active development and updates. The team is continually improving performance and adding new features.
  • Provides actionable caching analytics within WordPress dashboard. Helps further optimize caching strategies.
  • Free basic version available. Paid add-ons offer advanced functionality like image optimization, object caching, and Priority Support.

Overall, LiteSpeed Cache is a top caching choice for WordPress sites looking for simplified management, speedy performance, and compatibility with various environments. Proper caching is critical for fast load times.

Optimize Database Performance

Bloated databases slow down queries and cause scalability issues. Regularly clean up post revisions, stale data and optimize tables. Avoid expensive queries on high-traffic pages. Finally, employ a caching plugin to cache common queries and reduce database load.

Choose a Faster Web Host

Your site’s performance is highly dependent on your web host’s infrastructure. Research hosts with fast networks and server technology like LiteSpeed or NGINX. Avoid overcrowded shared hosts. VPS and dedicated servers are better for highly trafficked sites. Who do we use? We use and recommend NameHero. Their hosting is top rated with fast server speeds and exceptional customer service.

By following these best practices, you can achieve much faster load times. I recommend using PageSpeed Insights or WebPageTest to measure improvements and catch additional optimization opportunities. Faster performance leads to more engaged users, lower bounce rates and greater conversion rates. Visit our Technical SEO page to learn more.


About The Author

Team 218 Web ServicesHi, I'm Chuck Hersey, co-owner of Team 218 Web Services and I created this content. I've been building websites and working with SEO projects for over 20 years. I started Team 218 in 2014 with a goal of offering quality, affordable websites to Iowa small businesses and nonprofit organizations. I wanted to provide a complete website package solution to make getting a website easy, fun and affordable.

You can contact me by email (puhpx@grnz218.pbz), our Contact Form or by text or phone at 319-333-0815.

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