For someone to truly dominate their niche with marketing online, you have cover all the bases with respect to having great content that offers real value, and delivering your service whatever it may be, in the most efficient manner possible. This is why speed is such an important factor in a successful marketing campaign.
Google recognizes pagespeed as a metric for ranking and has done so for quite some time. The truth is that user experience is paramount to conversions as well as engaging visitors to stay longer on your website, or move on to another page to further engage with more of the content you have to offer.
So now that we understand that speed is a factor in not only user experience, but also that it is a ranking factor, you can really appreciate the importance of your website’s loading fast. So there are some things you can do to really have an effect on your page load time, especially if you are using the WordPress platform. This post will mostly be dealing with optimizations for WordPress based sites but many of the general ideas I will present can be beneficial for any platform.
WordPress, out-of-the-box, so to speak, is not very well optimized and can also become bloated in the use of plugins, all the plugins can cause extra http requests, ultimately slowing down your website load time. The first step would be to benchmark your pages loading time with some of the many free tools out there. Google has their pagespeed tool. Pingdom is another great website that you can use to measure your page loading time and investigate where your speed may be suffering.
Once you have an idea of your page load speed we can examine some common issues that can affect website load speed.
One of the major culprits is un-optimized images. If you are content marketing then odds are you have a ton of images that make up a large part of your website, these images, if un-optimized and uncompressed can slow your load time and Google page speed score.
Fortunately there are many options available for compressing your images and you can also resize them as per google pagespeed recommendations, this can have a huge effect on the load time and increase your page load time immensely.
Don’t Bloat WordPress with Too Many Plugins
Another main culprit if using wordpress, as I mentioned before is the excessive use of plugins. These plugins can cause a major bloat in the number of http requests and resource usage that will negatively affect your pagespeed score. My advice would be to go through your plugins and make sure that just the ones that you essentially need are enabled.
Caching Is Crucial
If you’re looking for the fastest method to speed up your website, you need to install a caching plugin. There are free plugins out there that are super effective. One is w3 total cache but the best plugin I have found is wprocket. They offer a free version to get you started but I highly recommend paying for a subscription, it is really worth it.
Defer Or Async Load Blocking Resources
You may see render blocking resources which typically could be google fonts or analytics like in my experiences, the best solution that I’ve been able to find is wprocket. It’s a plugin that can optimize the scripts on your website and make it faster. You have the option of deferring scripts also this can prevent them from loading as render blocking, but you also need to err on the side of caution and make sure no visual elements are broken on your website if you use the css optimizations.
Maximize Your User Experience With a Content Delivery Network
You may want to sign up for a free content delivery network, there are plenty of choices out there and the great thing about CDNs is that they can help deliver your static content from their edge server around the world, more efficiently than your host can. This of course depends on the type of hosting you are using, a shared server (cheap hosting) can typically see the most benefit from going this route, but why not even if you use more expensive dedicated hosting, better to offer your static assets from locations closer to your website visitors reducing network latency. If you are using SSL which I highly recommend, a great solution is Keycdn, they use the let’s encrypt open source SSL certificates and make the transition to using CDN over SSL super easy. Once you sign up you can create a cname in your hosting of something along the lines of cdn.yourwebsite.com and that’s all that’s involved to get your static resources hosted on servers all around the world and loading faster for your visitors globally. Many content delivery networks are free to begin with and offer more premium features if you pay for them.
Enable Gzip Compression
Many (even cheaper hosts) offer gzip compression of assets from the server, if your host has cpanel access you can go ahead and make sure gzip compression is enabled. Most modern devices can handle gzip compression and this can help also boost your pagespeed score.
If You Sacrifice Speed For Quality It May Not Be Worth It
When optimizing for webpage speed there may come a point where you are forced to make a decision between speed and user experience, there can be a tradeoff for the quality of your page display that sacrificed at the behest of your optimizations. I suggest you find the best possible happy medium, where the speed is reasonable and your quality doesn’t suffer.
Sometimes it may not be feasible to have the perfect google pagespeed score, so I would suggest only using the pagespeed tool as a guide and alo look at other resources like pingdom and gtmetrix for example.