Why News Publishers Should Speed up their WordPress Website

Last updated on Nov 27, 2023

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Why News Publishers Should Speed up their WordPress Website

Our digital world is so fast paced, that you wouldn’t expect any website to load slowly. A slow website can lead to higher bounce rates and reduce user engagement leading to a poor ranking in web search. Search engines such as Google also consider a website’s user experience apart from several factors, such as relevance, authority, and popularity.

SERP

According to Google, a one-second delay in page load time can lead to an 11% decrease in page views and a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction. Another study by Amazon found that a one-second delay in page load time can cost the company $1.6 billion in lost sales each year.

For News Media Publishers, SERP rankings are important since it helps users find their content. A higher SERP rank will lead to increased traffic, more clicks, and eventually result in higher advertising revenue. But poor load speed can cause users to drop off.

In this article, we will talk about the impact and cause of slow-loading websites, poor user experience, and how you can speed up your WordPress website.

Why do WordPress based websites slow down?

WordPress, the core on which a majority of websites are based, doesn't slow down by itself. However there are multiple factors that can cause your instance of WordPress to slow down.

Here are some factors that cause a website to load slowly:

  1. Poor hosting: Your website will load slowly if your hosting provider doesn't have enough resources to handle the traffic on your website. This can be due to a shared hosting plan, or choosing the incorrect plan for your traffic. IONOS, Hostinger, HostGator, Bluehost, DreamHost,and GoDaddy are some of the popular hosting platforms that you can use for your WordPress website.
  2. Heavy themes with feature bloat: When a theme has more features than it needs, it is called Feature Bloat. While some themes are very lightweight and efficient, others are packed with features that can slow down your website.This can include things like sliders, carousels, social media integration, and more. If you do not require certain themes or features, disable them to speed up your website.
  3. Plugin Issues: Another common cause of slow WordPress websites is plugin issues.
  4. Unoptimized images and videos: Large images and videos can increase load time, especially if they're not optimized for the web. You can optimize your images and videos by reducing their file size and using the correct image formats. For example, a webp image is ideal compared to jpg and png images.
  5. Lack of caching: Caching stores static copies of your website's files, which improves page load time significantly. If you're not using a caching plugin, your website's files will have to be generated from scratch each time a user visits your website.
  6. Lack of a CDN: A Content Delivery Network (CDN) delivers your website's files from servers located all over the world. This means that users in different countries can access your website's files more quickly. Lack of a CDN will slow down your website as the files will be delivered from one server which may not be close to the reader..

This can include:

  • Outdated plugins: When you don't update your plugins, they may become incompatible with the latest version of WordPress. This can cause issues with the functionality of the plugin and cause websites to take longer to load.
  • Conflicts between installed plugins: If you have multiple plugins installed, they may conflict with each other causing unnecessary delays and slowdowns.
  • Incompatibility of plugin and theme: A plugin that is incompatible with your theme can also slow down your website.

Pro Tip

To ensure smooth functioning of your website, you should offload unwanted plugins and instead of using multiple plugins, try to find plugins that offer the necessary features.

Now that you are aware of some of the most common reasons for websites to slow down, here is how you can speed up your WordPress based website.

Here’s How You Can Speed Up Your WordPress Website:

  1. High-Quality Managed Hosting: This is a great way to ensure that your website can handle traffic spikes as your traffic increases. By choosing a high quality managed hosting plan with a sizable bandwidth, your website will remain up and running even during periods of high traffic.
  2. Using a CDN: CDNs can help you overcome some of the common pain points of traditional hosting that come up as your traditional hosting. Instead of locating the hosting server, you will get your info from the nearest server in the network. This will significantly improve page load times for users all over the world.
  3. Optimizing Images and Other Media Files: Large media files slow down your website, so it's important to optimize them. You can do this by reducing their file size and using the correct image formats. Plugins like Smush, a3 Lazy Load, and Lazy Load by WP rocket, etc. can be used for lazy loading media files, this means that images and videos only load when they are in view.
  4. Deleting Unused Plugins: If you have plugins that aren't used, delete them. Unused plugins can slow down your website and create security vulnerabilities. In case you don’t want to delete a plugin, we recommend you disable them.
  5. Updating to the Latest Version of PHP: A study by Cloudways found that updating to the latest version of PHP can improve WordPress performance by up to 20%. This is because newer versions of PHP are more efficient and include performance optimizations.
  6. Switching to HTTPS, if you haven’t already: HTTPS is the secure version of the HTTP protocol. It encrypts all communication between your website and visitors, protecting their data from attackers. Google gives HTTPS websites a ranking boost and many modern browsers display a warning for non-HTTPS websites.

Image 2 Traffic SpikeSource: https://www.contentpowered.com/blog/blog-spike-direct-traffic/

Why is it important to be able to handle traffic spikes?

If your website is unable to handle traffic spikes, it will be experiencing frequent slowdowns, outages, or even crashes. This will eventually lead to a loss of traffic and revenue, and can damage your reputation as a News Publisher.

How does managed hosting help with traffic spikes?

Managed hosting providers have the infrastructure and expertise to handle traffic spikes. They use a variety of techniques, such as load balancing and auto-scaling, to ensure that your website even when the traffic on your website is high.

Image 3 CDN Source

Some benefits of using a CDN

When a user requests a file from your website, the CDN server will deliver the file from the server that is closest to the user. Most CDNs have a cached version of the website enabling it to load faster.

  • Reduced bandwidth costs
    • The CDN server delivers your website's files to users from the nearest server, which reduces the load on your origin server. This saves you money on your bandwidth bill, especially if you have a high-traffic website.
  • Increased website uptime and reliability
    • Because the CDN servers are distributed around the world, if one server goes down, the other servers will still deliver your website's content to users. This prevents your entire website from going down during outages or periods of high traffic.
  • Improved security
    • CDN servers are also used to filter out malicious traffic and protect your website from denial-of-service attacks.
  • Use of caching
    • The CDN server stores static copies of your website's files, which helps in improving the page load times. We recommend using the W3 Total Cache plugin for your WordPress Website. It is one of the most popular WordPress caching plugins. It is a comprehensive caching plugin that offers a wide range of features, including page caching, database caching, object caching, and fragment caching. With many features available, W3 is easy to use and configure.

 

For example, PHP 8.1 includes a new feature called JIT (just-in-time) compilation. JIT compilation improves performance by compiling PHP code to machine code as it is being executed. This can reduce the amount of time it takes for WordPress to load pages.

Image 4 http-vs-https-1 Source

There are many benefits to switching to HTTPS, and there is no good reason not to do so. If you haven't already switched to HTTPS, we recommend doing it as soon as possible.

Watch Video: How to switch to HTTPS

A fast and responsive WordPress website is essential for news publishers. It helps improve your SEO and offers a great user experience. A slow website can be the reason for lower engagement. By following the tips mentioned, you can speed up your WordPress website and improve the overall user experience for your visitors. This will lead to higher SEO rankings, increased traffic, and more revenue for your news publishing business.

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Punya Batra
Punya Batra
Punya is a full-time content marketer and a part-time blogger who loves to explore the unique stories behind brands. She pens down short stories, poems, and one-liners in her free time. Her dream is to publish her thoughts as a book someday.

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