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How To Increase Website Page Speed (The ‘Speed Update’ In A Nutshell )

HOW TO MAKE YOUR WEBSITE LOAD FASTER - INCREASE WEBSITE SPEED

Are you struggling to increase website page speed?

Have you ever tried visiting your website on a mobile device, how long did it take to load?

If you don’t have an answer to that question, you might as well take time to run an analysis.

Website loading speed is a precedence for the overall user experience, and it’s also one of the hundreds of SEO ranking factors.  These factors will be well covered in our digital marketing training course.

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Desktop-based Google search has always regarded page speed as a ranking factor for SEO, but only recently has Google announced that website page speed would be a ranking factor on mobile devices.

So what are the ramifications of this announcement?

How will the new ranking criteria affect your site?

In today’s article, I will share with you everything you really need to know about website page speed — definition, impacts, benefits and how to properly optimise your website to make it load much faster.

What is Page Speed?

Page speed is the speed in which web pages are downloaded and displayed on the user’s web browser.

Page speed is the speed in which web pages are downloaded and displayed on the user's web browser. Click To Tweet

Website speed optimization or website optimization is the field of knowledge about increasing web performance.

Faster website download speeds have been shown to increase visitor retention and loyalty and user satisfaction, especially for users with slow internet connections and those on mobile devices.

Page Speed or Website Speed?

Page speed is too often confused with “site speed,” which is actually the page speed for a sample of page views on a site.

Page speed can be described in either “page load time” (the time it takes to fully display the content on a specific page) or “time to first byte” (how long it takes for your browser to receive the first byte of information from the web server).

No matter how you measure it, a faster page speed is better.

Many people have found that faster pages both rank and convert better.

The Speed Update In A Nutshell

Google announced the upcoming ‘page speed’ development on January 17, on the Webmaster Central Blog.

They call it the “Speed Update”.

The primary plan is to slowly push out the new ranking factor starting in July 2018—which presents plenty of time to make changes as you see fit.


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According to Google, the update is only going to affect the slowest sites on the web and is only going to come into play for a small percentage of queries.

In other words, the new criteria is only designed to weed out slow sites, rather than rewarding fast sites.

There’s no way to tell exactly what criteria Google is using here; for example, it’s not like all pages that take more than three seconds to load are going to be affected.

In fact, on the Webmaster Central Blog, Google encourages webmasters to “think broadly about how performance affects a user’s experience of their page and to consider a variety of user experience metrics,” rather than spending too much time thinking about speed alone.

Will You Be Affected?

According to this research from 2017, about 70 percent of sites take roughly 7 seconds to load on mobile devices.

As a mobile device user, you likely know, intuitively, that 7 seconds is a long time. You reasonably expect your content to load within 2 or 3 seconds, and anything longer than that is frustrating.

While we don’t have an exact metric to work with, we do know that Google is insisting that only a handful of sites and queries will be affected. In fact, because relevance is still so important, a highly relevant piece of content can still achieve top rankings—even if it loads slower than average.

So will your site be affected?

The simplest answer is “probably not,” since only the worst-offending sites are going to see the negative ranking factor of the ‘Speed Update’.

However,

Here are my top picks of the most harmful effects of an extremely slow or sluggish website page load might have on your business.

  • Your bounce rate increases
  • Reduce in number of site visitors (drop in traffic)
  • Drop on Google search rank.
  • Drop in sales.
  • Poor user experience and,
  • Has a negative effect on customers as it will eventually tarnish customer’s loyalty.

Why Page Speed Is Still Important

Even though your site probably won’t be affected by the new update, this is a good time to analyze—and improve—your site speed.

Even if your efforts don’t result in a higher search ranking, there are many benefits to having a faster site, including:

  • Visitor retention: Today’s users are demanding. They generally expect a site to load within 2 seconds and may abandon your site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Cutting your load time by even a fraction of a second increases the likelihood that a user will stay on your site after clicking a link.
  • Actions and subsequent page visits: A quick-loading site is an inviting site. When users discover that your pages load quickly, with little delay, they’ll be more inclined to visit other pages on your site, and more likely to purchase with you.
  • Brand reputation: If a user decides to stick around, despite an unsatisfactory loading time, they may think less of your brand when engaging with your site. This may negatively affect your consumer relationships.

Checking page speed of your website

GTMETRIX

Here are some tools I use to help me check and keep track of my page regularly to avoid being badly penalised by Google for slow website load time.

How to increase your website page speed

Let’s say you want to improve your site’s loading time—what can you do?

1. Cache your site using a Caching Plugin

When it comes to optimizing your website, the role of caching in WordPress can never be underestimated.

Quite a lot has been talked about caching on the internet in general. Yet, it still remains a relatively lesser utilized feature among a large section of the WordPress user base.

Cached websites provide for a better user experience overall. A faster site helps users browse better.

Furthermore, cached site means that the user’s bandwidth is also saved (albeit by a nominal margin), since static cached pages are less in terms of file size as compared to dynamic requests.

To make this happen, your caching solution must make use of combined and minified JavaScript and CSS, apart from just basic page caching.

READ: Get more insight here on how to speed up your site with the best caching plugins for WordPress.

2. Hosting Service Selection

Your hosting plan can have a considerably positive impact on your website’s page load speed, particularly for resource-intensive sites.

Though, the impact may be smaller if your site is less resource intensive or is already on a comparatively fast hosting.

Your choice of hosting can determine your site load speed when choosing the company where you want to host your site, you have to consider caching, some host uses caching tools that help speed up your site.

With FindDigitalTools, you can be sure of getting the best.

3. Choose The Right Framework/Theme

Frameworks form the skeleton upon on which you build your site’s appearance and eventually display your content.

Selecting the right lightweight theme is not easy. However, if your chosen theme could answer the following questions in affirmative, it is a very good fit for your website:

  • Is the theme based on an optimized framework such as Bootstrap, Thesis or Genesis?
  • Is the theme minimalistic with little eye candy?
  • Is the HTML code optimized?
  • Is the size of theme files small?
  • Is the WordPress theme free of bloated options that nobody ever uses?

If the answer of any of the above questions is in negative, chances are that the chosen WordPress theme will slow your website to a crawl.

A good framework is important to ensure good site performance. The theme which helps design and modify the appearance of your site also contributes to site load time.

See colorlib’s list of themes to help speed up your WordPress site.

4. Use A CDN

CDNs or Content Delivery Networks help deliver static files of your website faster to your visitors from a server location much closer to them than your site’s servers.

This makes a website that is normally fast even faster.

A CDN ensures that your visitor hits the cache rather than reach your servers. And accessing the cache as opposed to requesting site data from servers is much faster.

See how to do that here.

5. Optimise Your Site’s Database

Use a WordPress database optimisation plugin and get your site’s database in order.

WP-Sweep is a powerful plugin that performs multiple functions involved in the WP-Spring Cleaning process. This plugin, when installed, can help clean up the mess that has been stored in your WordPress database.

Get more insight here.

6. Compress Images before uploading

Image compression is another great way to reduce the size of your page and eventually allow it to load faster.

Images uploaded on WordPress can be compressed manually or automatically using an image compressor plugin. It doesn’t matter where you are accessing your site from, you can compress images on smartphones, PC or directly on WordPress using a plugin.

7. Diagnose Entire Plugins

All plugins at the end of the day are pieces of code that help perform functions. Sometimes they become cumbersome and counterproductive. So with the P3 Profiler plugin, you can diagnose your entire site o know which plugin is consuming memory and slowing up your site.

8. Disable Pingbacks and Trackbacks

Trackbacks and pingbacks are used to let you know that someone else has put a link of your post on another blog or site.

Trackbacks are manual and pingbacks are automatic, they both end up in your comment moderation. 99% of all trackbacks and pingbacks are spam. And if you start getting too much of it, your site speed can potentially be affected.

How to Disable Pingbacks and Trackbacks:

How to Disable Pingbacks and Trackbacks

Head over to Settings > Discussion and under the first heading, Default article settings, de-select the checkbox for Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks).

9. Use the Latest PHP Version

Using the latest version of PHP (at the moment PHP 7.x) will greatly improve the speed of your website. PHP 7 works wonderfully well with WordPress websites and delivers exceptional performance.

Ask your hosting provider whether they have support for PHP 7. This is a must-have upgrade that performs well even on low-end servers.

10. Delete Unused Plugins and Themes

So you did get carried away and installed all the plugins you could find.

Now if you think that you could deactivate the plugins and speed up your website, you are very wrong!

The only solution in this case, is to delete all unused plugins and themes from the WordPress website. Deleting unused plugins and themes will reduce the size of the wp-content folder, further improving access time to this folder.

11. Use AMP Pages

Accelerated Mobile Pages is the new hype in the SEO and web development industry. The AMP pages load in milliseconds on mobile devices and rank higher in Google SERP in searches originating from mobile devices.

If you want higher traffic from mobile users, it is absolutely necessary to configure AMP pages on WordPress. Read our helpful guide on how to configure AMP pages on WordPress websites.

To sum it all up:

Increasing a website load time isn’t much of a big deal if the following optimisation tips are properly followed.

This is a good opportunity to review your site’s loading speed on mobile devices, analyze your key user experience metrics, and make tweaks to improve your site’s mobile performance.

If you want more traffic, subscribers, and revenue from your website, then you must make your WordPress website FAST using the recommended tips!

READ:


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