You have to make a decision right now: Are you going to be in the slow lane or fast lane? If you don’t make that decision and follow these steps to make your site faster, you probably never will. So, make the right choice and choose the fast lane!

Let’s be honest: everyone knows there are tons of things you can do to make your site faster, but we are going to focus on 3 easy things that don’t take much time and will have the biggest impact on your website’s load time.

fast highway

Credit: Alex Green Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/101703978@N02/15460912518/

Yes, these 3 things are going to cost a little bit of money, but they are the best, quickest things you can do to improve your site’s loading speed. You could spend more time and perform speed load optimizations for free, but those few extra hours could probably be spent more productively elsewhere in your business and make you more money.

Compress Your Images with Kraken.io

One of the easiest things you can do is compress your images, but you have to do it the right way. The first thing you want to do is make sure you use Kraken.io. It is the best image optimization tool on the market, PERIOD.

For the first month, you can sign up for the Basic Plan for $9 a month which allows you to compress 2 gigabytes of images. After the first month, downgrading to the Micro Plan for $5 a month will save you money, while still allowing you to compress 500 megabytes of images each month.

Kraken.io has a WordPress plugin you can use to compress all of the existing images in your media library. Currently, it does not have the feature to compress all of your images with one click, but it is a feature currently in development. Any images that you upload in the future will be compressed automatically.

Once you have signed up for the Basic Plan and installed the plugin, you need to activate the plugin.

Step-by-step instructions to use Kraken.io to optimize images on your website

  1. Go to Settings and Media
  2. Enter your API key and secret (found within your Kraken.io account)
  3. Choose the Lossy optimization mode
  4. Click Save Changes

If you are more of a visual person, the screenshot below should help.

wordpress speed optimization

Original Image Courtesy of Kraken.io – https://wordpress.org/plugins/kraken-image-optimizer/screenshots/

Next, compress all of the existing images in your media library.

Follow these instructions:

  1. Go to Media and Library
  2. Select the icon that looks like bullet points with straight lines
  3. Click on Screen Options (top right hand corner) and change the Media items to 100 and click on Apply. Now there will be 100 images per page instead of 20, which will make the process go faster.
  4. Click within the white box right below Bulk Actions which will select all of the images
  5. Select the dropdown menu for Bulk Actions and click Krak ‘em all and click Apply.
  6. Now wait until all the images have been compressed, and repeat this process for all of the pages until all of the images in your media library have been compressed.

kraken image optimization tool

Credit: Kraken.io

Spring Cleaning Time with WP Optimize

You probably know that you should be deleting things as you go along with your site, but do you?

One of the most common times to do this is with redesigns of a website, which happens every 12-24 months for most sites. However, even then, you probably don’t do a complete spring cleaning – if you do it at all.

Today, I encourage you to go through and delete everything that you don’t need, particularly old comments. Whether they are in pending, spam, trackbacks, or pingbacks, approve or delete them. Due to their spammy nature and the little value they provide, it is smart to delete all existing trackbacks and pingbacks on your site. Also, disable them so you don’t get any spammy ones in the future. An easy way to delete all of the trackbacks and pingbacks on your site is to use the plugin WP Optimize.

All of the posts and pages that have been sitting in the drafts folder for a few months are probably safe to delete as well.

What about the old themes on your site that you aren’t using and are deactivated? Out they go!

The big one, though, is all of your plugins! For some reason, most sites have a large number of activated, unused plugins that are adding requests (HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files) and slowing those sites down. If you aren’t using a plugin on a regular basis, deactivate it and delete it.

The last area you should go through is all of the files on your server, either in file manager or FTP. Go through the root folder of your site and the whole /wp-content/ folder and delete everything you don’t need.

Warning: if you aren’t very technical and aren’t familiar with the site you are doing this to, don’t do it! You might want to hire a consultant to do this for you instead.

Now that you have cleaned everything up, make a full backup of your database. If you don’t have a backup solution already, you can use phpMyAdmin or the plugin WP Database Backup. Make sure you have a full, locally-stored backup of your database or one stored in a safe external spot before proceeding.

With that full backup completed, use the plugin WP Optimize to optimize your database.

wp rocket cache tool

Credit: http://wp-rocket.me/

Caching your WordPress Website with WP Rocket

The two most recommended plugins for WordPress performance optimization are W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache. However, if you want the best solution and don’t want to spend all day configuring it, WP Rocket is the way to go.

WP Rocket’s single site license costs $39, but it is very easy to set up and the best caching plugin on the market. W3 Total Cache has been overloaded with options over the years, requiring at least several hours for each site you optimize to find the best performance-tuned configuration for that site. WP Super Cache is easier to set up than W3 Total Cache, but is still more complicated than WP Rocket to configure and doesn’t come with nearly as many features.

Once you have purchased your license, install and activate the plugin on your site.

Step-by-Step Instructions to Configure WP Rocket

  1. Go to Settings and WP Rocket
  2. Under the Basic Options tab, check the box for “Enable lazy loading images and Enable Caching for Mobile Devices.”
  3. Change the Clear Cache Lifespan to 1 day. If you don’t make many changes to your site, you could make this as high as 8 days, but you should start off at 1 day. In the future, you can always increase the amount of time.
  4. Click Save Changes.
  5. Go to the Tools tab, click on the Clear Cache button and then the Preload Cache button.

You are now done configuring the easiest and quickest options of the plugin with the most results.

Two other recommended options are the minification and concatenation section under the Basic options tab along with the content delivery network (CDN) tab. If you do configure the minification and concatenation section, make sure you configure the JavaScript section under the Advance Tab for all of the JavaScript files that are currently loading in the footer of your site.

And, just like that: with three small, easy-to-implement changes to your site, you can enjoy faster load times without losing your mind!

Which one of these 3 things helped with your site’s load time the most? Let us know in the comments below!

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