So, you’ve just built the most beautiful website and you’re certain it’s going to make your business take off, but you’ve accidentally made a few mistakes while you were building, and now your home page takes 10 seconds to load. Without knowing it, you may have killed your site speed.
A fast-loading website is crucial for modern-day web browsing. Site speed is one of the most important factors that Google uses to rank pages. The loading speed of a site also influences user experience and can lead to a higher bounce rate if it is too slow. A higher bounce rate means the average time people spend on your site goes down, tipping off Google’s algorithm that your site does not satisfy user intent. This is a vicious cycle that you should avoid at all costs, especially if you’re using the Divi theme to build your site.
Page builders like Divi have some big benefits for building beautiful websites but are notoriously more resource-intensive than a standard WordPress theme. It is important to take extra steps to keep your site running fast.
Thankfully, Elegant Themes, the creators of Divi, are so on the ball that they’re always finding new ways to improve performance and speed for Divi websites. And despite the fact that the theme may be a bit slower than others, there are many things that can be done to avoid this happening and to work around it so that you’re still managing to keep your site performance up to scratch.
In this post, you’ll learn about the top ten things that can hurt your site speed for Divi websites and how you can avoid them.
1. Choosing the Incorrect Host
Hosting can make or break your site. Choosing the wrong hosting can lead to slow server response time (TTFB) errors, site downtime, and other problems.
Hosting comes in all shapes and sizes, so it’s imperative to know what your needs and requirements are before purchasing a hosting package. Shared hosting is the go-to budget hosting option, but if you are using Divi we recommend a managed WordPress hosting service. Although it’s a bit more expensive, it comes with a selection of premium features and upgrades that make your life considerably easier and your website faster. Divi Space Hosting is ideal as its server settings are the only host optimized for Divi straight out of the box. It comes with:
- 99.9% uptime guarantee, minimizing the amount of downtime your site experiences,
- Daily backups, to keep your site running smoothly,
- A one-click WordPress install, to help you avoid manually installing WordPress, as well as a one-click install of the Divi theme package,
- A free SSL certificate to ensure the safety and security of those visiting your website,
- A cloning feature to give you a staging site, and
- World-class tech support from our WordPress and Divi champs.
2. Not Selecting a Theme Geared for Growth
One trap that people can fall into is making an error in judgment when selecting a theme. Our advice? Don’t choose a theme without thoroughly researching its features.
It’s important to choose a theme that you can keep using long-term, as having to change your theme down the line will cost you a lot of time and resources.
We’re big fans of the Divi theme. Despite it requiring extra performance steps, we still believe that the theme is a total winner. There are three main reasons we love the Divi theme:
- It’s so robust and is continuously being re-engineered by Elegant Themes to stay up to date with the latest trends in functionality.
- All the modules that are included in this framework minimize the need for new plugins or other paid software. Instead of adding plugin after plugin for small aesthetic changes or functions, Divi’s includes everything you need right out of the box: sliders, contact forms, email opt-ins, all built-in.
- It’s so easy to use. From a developer’s perspective, it’s incredibly easy to offload for your clients, who can then update and change their own content.
3. Working with Images Incorrectly
Incorrectly sizing your images can greatly affect your overall site speed. It’s important to make sure they’re the right size, format and have been correctly cropped before uploading them. Here are the steps you should go through before uploading images to your WordPress website:
- Crop and resize images, so they are the ideal pixel dimensions
- Make sure the images are in the correct format (jpg, png)
- Export the images for web to compress them
- Run them through an online image compression tool to decrease the filesize further (good options are TinyPNG or TinyJPG)
- Add an image compression tool like Compress JPEG & PNG or WP Smush to your site
Divi will have very specific image aspect ratios for all their image-related modules. Make sure you are formatting and sizing your images to fit these requirements.
4. Videos That Aren’t Being Stored Correctly
Storing videos on the same host as your server is one of the biggest mistakes made by site owners. Though it’s extremely convenient to drop your Video files into the media library, large video files will eat up server resources.
It’s best to store videos offsite on websites like YouTube or Vimeo or on a dedicated media cloud storage system such as Infinite Uploads that serves your files via a remote CDN. If, for some reason, your video has to be uploaded directly to a Divi site, it’s important to upload the file in WebM format with an MP4 fallback.
5. Using The Wrong Plugins
If not used correctly, plugins can be problematic and having just one poorly coded plugin can slow down your whole site.
When choosing your plugins, it’s important to be discerning. Opt for plugins that have a great reputation and that are known to work well with Divi. Make sure the plugins you choose have good reviews, were recently updated and have a considerable number of active installs.
We sell Divi-specific plugins built with Divi in mind. One of our top sellers, Divi Switch helps you make powerful changes to your site without using any code. Instead of fumbling through lines of code or uploading multiple plugins, this singular plugin will help make aesthetic and functional changes to the back and frontend of your site in a matter of seconds.
With Divi Switch, you’ll be given fifty different switches that can easily be toggled on or off and will have an immediate effect. This is one of our favorite products that is loved and adored by multiple Divi users all over the world. If you’re looking for a singular plugin that packs a punch and delivers a great deal of functionality in one package, this is the plugin for you.
6. Not Investing in a CDN
Another common mistake is relying on your host and your host alone. Making use of a CDN (Content Delivery Network) allows your site to be stored on multiple servers all over the world. This means that users will access your website via the server closest to them, leading to faster load speeds.
7. Skipping Caching
Don’t make the simple mistake of not implementing a caching plugin.
Caching saves a static version of the site in the user’s cache, enabling it to load much faster on the second visit. Our favorite caching plugin is Divi Rocket, which is created specifically for Divi. It takes the Divi interface, user experience, Divi file structure, theme set up, Divi limitations and challenges into account to make sure the caching process is implemented seamlessly.
Most caching plugins are notoriously difficult to set up and configure. Divi Rocket is a walk in the plugin park in comparison.
8. Improperly Connecting to Third-party Origins
Video players, external font libraries, and even Google analytics tracking codes require additional server calls. There are a few things you can do to help improve the performance of these calls like adding ‘preconnect’ or ‘dns-prefetch’ or the font swap perimeter. However, the only sure way to avoid slower pages caused by external elements is to not connect them at all.
When adding a video to a page, fancy fonts, or even tracking codes to your site, be aware of the speed implications and weigh the benefits before connecting.
9. Not Being Open to Hard Coding
Using the Divi Theme Builder makes editing Divi websites even easier, but it can pose a speed problem. Previously, you couldn’t access, edit or design certain areas on your Divi site, like the header, footer, archive pages and so on. With the theme editor, you can access these areas and add a custom-designed site-wide layout to them. However, there is a trade-off here: what you gain in design ease, you sacrifice in site speed.
If you’re really concerned about the performance of your site, it may be better to hard code your header, footer, and archive pages, rather than relying on the theme editor. To do so, you’ll need a bit of knowledge of code as you’ll have to edit PHP files in your child theme. This is, however, worth it as you’ll be able to have your site run faster.
10. Skipping GZip Compression
Using GZip compression is often overlooked by site owners, but it shouldn’t be. It’s actually even more important than minification and can reduce page size by 70%. What it does is make all the files it can into smaller versions of themselves so that they can load much more quickly.
Many caching plugins actually support GZip compressions, this is why we recommend Divi Rocket.
Skipping any of these steps can have a big impact on speed. Now that you know the ten things that kill your site speed, you can stay away from them and implement better options.
After making these changes, your website speed should improve by leaps and bounds. Once you’ve implemented these suggestions, make sure you test your Divi website by using either Google’s Page Speed Test, GT Metrix or Pingdom.
Do you have another site speed killer that we didn’t mention? Share it in the comments section below!
Thanks for reading!