In my carrier, I’ve met people that do not care about loading speed and thought that if a site takes up to a minute to load it’s completely fine. I’ve seen sites, with a front-page take 16GB🤯 in size, that were never loading. In this article check why you should be concerned about the site’s loading speed and how you can improve it.
Why should you speed up a WordPress site
It is already known that any user will rarely go beyond a 3rd page on the Google Search engine, and these first 3 pages have some limited spots open, where your site could be positioned. Here is why a site’s loading speed is crucial when it comes to Google Rankings. Google’s algorithm will rank first a faster loading site. These sites that require more time to load will be placed and lower rank. A lower rank on Google Search Engine means less traffic on your site.
With a slow loading site speed, you’re risking increasing sites’ Bouncing Rate. Online customers are the most impatient and expect a site to load as fast as possible.
If we will look at some mobile site data statistics from Think With Google. For every 2-second delay the bounce rate increases by 32%, so let’s say your site requires 6 seconds to load, this means on average 64% of traffic will not be waiting for your site to load and will leave it before seeing the actual content. That’s serious, especially if you’re making money from your site.
Faster page load time leads to better user experiences, and ultimately to more revenue.
How to test loading speed of your site
It’s simple, you can use Site Test Speed sites, here are my top 3 online tools:
- PageSpeed Insights
These tools are free, and they provide useful insight about what and how you can improve a site’s loading speed.
For more advanced users, Chrome Developers Tools have the Test Speed tools implemented within a browser
One important facto that often I’ve seen is ignored. Visitors from different geographical locations will have a completely different experience when visiting a site. So keep that in mind!
Setting up Cloudflare integration for users all over the world it’s my first choice. But’s that’s another story 😊
If you wondering what’s the perfect speed for a site to load, based on the latest researches, it’s 2 seconds. I know, I know, it’s shocking, and now you’re wondering how can it be done. Well check bellow
Ways to speed up your site
Set Up Cloudflare DNS
Your DNS service matters. To make it simple, websites are just files saved on a computer that is connected through the internet. Every device, including a server, that is connected to the internet has an IP address assigned. So if a server is located, in Berlin Germany, and a visitor’s device locate in Frankfurt. Both devices with an IP address need to make a connection to download file content to the device. So every server with IP address, where your site is hosted is given a domain name, in another world, it has a DNS. DNS stands for Domain Name System. So when a user types a domain in their browser, a DNS lookup occurs to find the IP address of the server. Free DNS services from a domain provider usually are slow to respond. Where Cloudflare, which you may still register for free, has a much faster DNS lookup response. See attached screenshot:
If possible, use a premium DNS service.
Plugins and Themes
Plugins and themes, even deactivated can use some o your site’s performance. So locate plugins & themes that are not been enabled, or even these plugins that are not being used, and remove them. Make sure to keep everything up to date, this will not only help your performance but security as well.
Optimize and Clean images
Images can take a serious amount of space. So clean up your site from unused images with the Media Cleaner plugin.
Optimize all your images with the Smush plugin. If possible consider updating to Pro, which will optimize images even more. With the Smush Pro version, use CDN, or try an alternative Jetpack solution.
If you can replace PNG format images with JPEG, JPEG can be compressed much better with almost no effect on image quality.
All these steps will significantly reduce the total size of a site and front-end pages. The smaller size a front page has, the faster it will load.
Install a Caching plugin
Caching is a way to store temporary, copies of files, to deliver these to visitors in a more efficient way. There is a big variety of caching files, here is a list with my favorites:
- SG Caching, if you’re site is hosted on Siteground as mine does, this is the nest option.
- WP Super Cache
The above plugins besides page caching will give you an option to enable Browser Cashing, Minimize/Combine JS and CSS, remove Render Blocking CSS & JS, enable GZIP Compression, even clean up your database tables.
If there are very long pages, limit them. Try breaking very long pages into smaller pages. The more content exists on a single page, the heavier it will be in size. Limit posts number on your blog page. Let’s see an example, if 25 posts are loading on a single page, it will load 25 image thumbnails, if change the number of posts loading on a single page to 10, a browser will make fewer media requests. Wil fewer media requests, performance will be increased.
If there is a comment section, break it into pages. Adding paginations for your comments is pretty simple. Login to your WordPress admin dashboard. Go to Settings > Discussions, tick on the “Break comments into pages” and add the number of comments you want to have per page.
Remove Animations. Animation can give a fancy look to a site, but it comes with a toll, it affects the loading speed.
One last tip, do not upload a video to your site. User services like Youtube or Vimeo. Online services are optimizing video based on the visitor’s device and serve an optimized version of a video placed on your site. Plus, it will save your bandwidth.
Many articles have as a first step is checking your hosting loading speed. But let’s not be hasty and blame your hosting provider yet. Most of the servers I’ve seen are good servers, and it’s usually the site’s architecture that is the main factor of slow loading site. Of course, if your site is heavy, for example with the Woocommerce plugin installed and lots of traffic, in this case, you need a stronger server to manage all jobs running in the background.
The right way to test how fast is your hosting provider loading speed is to set up an empty site, you may just upload a simple index.html file or even have an empty WordPress site and run it through a website test speed tool.
There is much more stuff that can be done to improve loading speed, it is for more advanced users. Complete the above steps and you will see a significant change in site’s loading speed. Let me know bellow in the comments about the impact of these steps on your sites.
[Disclaimer: This is not a paid promotional post, so every WP company/service mentioned in this article, I’ve been using myself]