Most business owners don’t give much thought about their website page speed. Until one day they realize their website isn’t doing much for them in terms of capturing leads. Then they get into the ‘audit’ mode – analyzing their website to figure out why “it isn’t working.”
One of the factors affecting leads and conversions of your website is your website page speed.
What is Page Speed?
Page speed is measurement of how fast the content on your page loads. It is not to be confused with “site speed.” Page speed is better described as ‘page load time” – which is the time it takes to fully display the content on a specific page – like your home page for an example. It can also be referred to as “time to first byte” which is how long it takes for your browser to receive the first byte of information from the web server.
You can evaluate your page speed with Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
Website SEO Best Practices
Google has indicated site speed as well as page speed is one of the signals used by its algorithm to rank pages. According to Billy Hoffman, of Zoompf, Google might be measuring time to first byte as when it considers page speed. A slow page speed means that search engines can crawl fewer pages using their allocated crawl budget and this could negatively affect your indexation.
Page speed is also important to user experience. Pages with longer load time tend to have higher bounce rates and lower average time on page. Longer load times have also been shown to negatively affect conversions.
Load Times Affect Your Bottom Line
Here’s an infographic from Kissmetric’s How Loading Time affects your Bottom Line.
According to Akamai, if your website takes longer than three seconds, you could be losing nearly half of your visitors. Nearly half of your visitors.
So by increasing your website load time or page speed can have a very positive impact on your entire sales and marketing pipeline. Remember – up to 79% of customers who were dissatisfied with a website performance are less likely to buy or visit from the same website again.
How to Improve Page Speed of Your WordPress Website
Google suggests to set the goal of improving your page load speed between 1 to 3 seconds. 3 seconds being the maximum page load speed to keep your bounce rate low and to improve your conversion rate.
There are about 8 most common steps you can take to improve your WordPress load times.
1. Use a lightweight WordPress theme and or framework.
There are so many WordPress themes with a lot of dynamic elements, sliders, widgets, social icons and many more shiny bells and whistles that are so cool looking. But you need to remember this – your website has too many elements and higher page sizes, then they will cause your web server to take a beating.
It is best to choose a lightweight WordPress theme. There are many choices for you to choose from.
- Elementor Hello Theme
- StudioPress Themes
- OceanWP WordPress Theme
- Astra WordPress Theme
- GeneratePress WordPress Theme
Here’s a couple more links for you to look at for more options”
Blazing Fast WP Themes from Colorlib
The 54 Fastest WordPress Themes that Load Insanely Quickly (2020)
2. Reduce Image Sizes.
Images are the major contributors to size increments of a given web page. The trick is to reduce the size of the image without compromising on the quality. If you manually optimize the images using Photoshop orany other tools, the process will take a bit longer. There are plugins available for just about everything you can think of, including image optimization. The ones worth mentioning are:
Using either one of these above mentioned plugins on your WordPress website will reduce image sizes and thereby improving the speed of your website. I personally use Photoshop because I try to use less plugins as possible on websites.
3. Deactivate or uninstall plugins
Keeping unwanted plugins on your WordPress websites will add a tremendous amount of junk to your web files. Moreover, it will also increase the size of your backup and put an overwhelming amount of load on your server resources while backup files are being generated. It is better to get rid of the plugins that you don’t use.
4. Disable pingbacks and trackbacks
Pingbacks and trackbacks are two core WordPress components that alert you whenever your blog or page receives a link. It might sound useful, but you also have things such as Google Webmaster Tools and other services to check the links of your website.
Keeping pingbacks and trackbacks on can also put an undesirable amount of strain on your server resources. This is so because whenever anyone tries to link up to your site, it generates requests from WordPress back and forth. This functionality is also widely abused when targeting a website with DDoS attacks.
You can turn it all off in WP-Admin → Settings → Discussion. Just deselect “Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks).” This will help you speed up WordPress some more.
5. Minify JS and CSS Files
If you run your website through Google PageSpeed Insights tool, you will probably be notified about minimizing the size of your CSS and JS files. What this means is that by reducing the number of CSS and JS calls and the size of those files, you can improve the site-loading speed.
Also, if you know your way around WordPress themes, you can study the guides provided by Google and do some manual fixing. If not, then there are plugins that will help you achieve this goal; the most popular being the Autoptimize that can help in optimizing CSS, JS and even HTML of your WordPress website.
6. Use caching plugin
WordPress caching plugins (e.g. WP Fastest Cache or WP SuperCache) have been there for a long time, making the complex tasks of adding caching rules to your website elements easier. Combining such plug-ins with advanced caching mechanisms like Varnish could help you better the loading speed of your website and ultimately speed up WordPress considerably.
7. Enable GZIP compression
Compressing files on your local computer can save a lot of disk space. Similarly, for the web, we can use GZIP compression. This maneuver will dramatically reduce the bandwidth usage and the time it takes to gain access to your website. GZIP compresses various files so that whenever a visitor tries to access your website; their browser will first have to unzip the website. This process brings down the bandwidth usage to a considerable extent.
You can use either a plugin like the WP-Optimize, which enables GZIP compression, (as well as database cleanup and image compression) or add the following codes in your .htaccess file.
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml
8. Clean up your WordPress database
Deleting unwanted data from your database will keep its size to a minimum and also helps in reducing the size of your backups. It is also necessary to delete spam comments, fake users, old drafts of your content and maybe even unwanted plugins as well as themes. All of this will reduce the size of your databases and web files, and thus speed up WordPress – your WordPress.
The biggest advantage of improving your website page speed is that it will improve your visitor’s experience and it will also improve your rankings on search engines. Reduced bandwidth usage of your hosting and faster site loading speed on the client side will also benefit you as well.
Need help with your SEO or improving your website?
REMOTE CONTROL VIRTUAL SUMMIT – I will be sharing 10 ways how to generate more traffic to your website without having to spend a dime. April 4th, 10 am.