A 1 second increase in page speed can translate into a 2% increase in conversions.
In 2010 Google had announced that page speed would count as a ranking factor. Websites who had slow loading times had begun to see their websites penalized by search engines.
For site owners, not only does addressing page loading time improve search rankings, but also improves usability which can translate into lower bounce rates/page abandonment and higher conversions/leads. In fact, Google will also crawl your site less if your site is slow which can be an issue if you’re updating your website frequently, which almost any site will in a good content marketing strategy.
The average load time for websites is approximately 3 seconds, however if you’re running a WordPress driven website improving page speed can become a challenge.
Test your website with these great tools!
There are several online tools that I recommend for testing your page speed and identifying potential issues which can hinder load time.
GTMetrix.com has become a quite popular tool among web developers for testing page speed and provides insights on how to fix issues on your website.
Page Speed Insights provides information on how your web page loads on desktop vs mobile.
Pingdom provides information on how your website compares against other websites that have previously used the tool and allows you to check loading time when accessed from different geographic areas.
The following tools and tips can drastically improve your page speed:
While cheap hosting packages can be tempting to many site owners it can completely determine the success of a website. In 99% of all cases you get what you pay for. Typically more expensive packages have more memory which can make a poorly designed website run faster than a well-designed website on a low package.
Serving large scale images on your website is a common culprit for slow loading websites. Manipulating images in Photoshop or using the WordPress image editor are two ways you can resize your image dimensions and file size.
While image sliders seem like a great idea for aesthetic purposes there is unfortunately a tradeoff. While site owners want to use high quality/large sized images on their home page slider, this can translate into seconds added to their page loading time.
Smush.it is a WordPress plugin that allows images to be compressed on upload and also allows you to bulk resize images that are already in your library.
Install a caching plugin
There are many available caching plugins available for WordPress. Apart from improving site speed a caching plugin can also put less demand on the server. There are many caching plugins available for WordPress including W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache, Speed Booster Pack and my personal favorite WP Rocket.
Reduce the number of plugins
WordPress plugins have become easy to install. Just visit the plugin search library and download with the click of a button and within seconds you’ve downloaded all the files to your template. While adding plugins can certainly boost the functionality on your website it can sometimes come at a cost as websites sometimes become bloated with too much or unnecessary code. If it’s not too many plugins it can sometimes be poorly coded ones that may slow down your website.
Choose your WordPress theme wisely
Choosing a WordPress theme is the most important step in starting a website. Most people would typically choose their theme based on the images or functionality displayed in the demo’s. Unfortunately if you’re not familiar with themes this can pose a risk. Similar to number 4 in this list, WordPress themes sometimes become bloated with too many plugins or are poorly coded. A knowledgeable web developer will normally choose themes based on the framework rather than the images as they can always be replaced.
This was a guest post from my developer buddy, the one and only Danny D’Ambrosio