There are so many aspects of your site that Google takes into account when ranking, popularity, security and speed are some of the top points. Your site visitors will leave if your site is slow to load, Google will take that into consideration and start to drop your ranking in search results. So how do you target your speed in order to get your site to load faster for your visitors? Read on and we will share our WPEZI tips for a faster site; not only to keep visitors on your site but increase conversion rates and provide a better experience for your visitors.
What slows a website down?
We have discussed this before, but one of the first things to check on your site is the images. If you have lots of high-resolution images on your site, it will take longer to load. There is a delicate balance between displaying high quality images of your products and making sure the site loads within a reasonable time frame.
Whitespace can also contribute to a slower load time, along with some of the background code, which could be slowing the process without you realising. Videos can also be a big killer of speed as they can take longer to load on the screen and if they are loading before other elements, it will slow the whole site down.
Images and videos are how a website works though, you cannot have a website without imagery, so how do you get around the speed issues. That’s where the team at WPEZI have a purpose-built solution. We have developed a nine-step process to speed up your website.
How to run a speed test?
There are so many plugins and applications or web services that will test your WordPress site speed for you. We use Pingdom for most of our testing and monitoring. For single speed tests you can go to the Pingdom Speed Test site and enter your website address and wait for the results. This will give you a starting point to improve your site speed from.
GTMetrix also has a similar tool that shows you a report on your Page Speed, how long it took to load completely, and it also allows you to drill down as to the why your site is performing the way it is. You can even sign up for a free account if you wish to test from multiple devices and locations.
WebPagetest is a more advanced Speed tool designed to meet the needs of developers and advanced user base. It does however provide a wealth of data on functionality and indepth analysis of the site.
Google is also in the speed test business, they offer a free mobile speed test so if you want to see how your site performs on mobile, this might be the tool for you. It is uncomplicated and basic in its design and will give you the immediately important information.
If you are running these tests on your site, you should be aware that different locations, devices, networks and browsers will all impact your testing. However, if you can test in a range of conditions it will give you insight into improvements that need to be made in certain areas. For example, if your visitors are mostly using Google Chrome on a mobile device, you would dedicate time to testing this situation for its speed and responsiveness. If none of your users as accessing the site using Internet Explorer on a PC, then you do not have to dedicate any time to optimising your site speed for that instance and testing it would be slightly redundant.
Where do you start?
You should have a host for your site, that is committed to ensuring speed and uptime. The WPEZI team are big fans of SiteGround for hosting services. If your site isn’t hosted well, you may be prone to downtimes, lagging and other flow on effects on your WordPress speed.
Caching can be another effective tool in boosting the speed of your site, there are so many caching plugins to choose from including some of the top WordPress plugins. Caching your site can be a huge impact on speed without impacting on your visitor’s experience.
Take a look at your theme, does it have too many elements to it? Your theme may look amazing, but if not written well, could be causing your site to load improperly. The more features a theme has, the more code that has to load each and every time someone visits your site. The same can be said for unused themes, and also plugins, if you are not using them, but they are taking up space, simply remove them. For plugins, you can start by deleting your inactive plugins from the plugins menu, then check the still active plugins; deactivate and delete as you see fit. If you go to the Themes section of your Appearance menu you can delete your old or unused themes from there.
Another one to check is your media library. Check the unattached option for all of the images and content not attached to anything. These are old images or files and if they are not attached to anything, they are simply taking up space.
On the same note, you can compress or lazy load your image file. Lazy loading suspends non-essential resources when your WordPress site is loading. It is not until the images are right in front of the user that they begin to load. So instead of loading content the user may not want to see before the content they do, you may lose them in the process. Lazy loading is popular among sites and you may notice it when browsing yourself. Turning off the Gravatar images in your comments is also a good tactic to try. The less redundant images your site needs to load, the better.
Using a datacentre or Content Delivery Network, can also improve your load time, as the resources loading are stored in a data centre near the user, reducing the loading time over resources stored in one location regardless of the user.
If you have wordier content on your site, you can use smaller elements that lead the visitor off to another page if they want to read more. This can also work with images. An excerpt box is the perfect way of handling this, unless of course your theme already has these coded in.
You can also try embedding videos to your site, rather than uploading them to the media library. Services like YouTube and Vimeo are hosts of video content and they can take the hard work out of having videos on your site. Videos will also impact your backups and generally cause your site to be slow if they are uploaded rather than embedded.
The WPEZI team have put together a 9-step process to boost the speed of your WordPress site; and if it doesn’t work for you, we do offer a money back satisfaction guarantee. You can read through our process on our site. We developed this process as a standard for improving our client’s WordPress site speed and we now offer it to one time users of our support services. We include a licence for the WP Rocket plugin in the process. We also perform our basic check up of your site as standard; we check your security and plugins for any updates and will usually get your site load time under 3 seconds and within 24 hours. Our team is ready 24/7 to help all our clients with their WordPress needs; they only need ask.
If you have any questions, please let us know, the WPEZI team are happy to provide WordPress support, whether you are a regular customer or it’s a one-off issue. Contact us via live chat today, it’s just in the bottom corner or complete our contact form and one of our team will be in touch shortly.
You can also find out more about our WordPress Speed Up Service.