Improving Your WordPress Site Speed

Lessons in SEO: Website Speed

Search Engine Optimization is a crucial aspect of any online marketing plan. That much we all know. Having said that its funny how many SEO people do not understand what or how to apply SEO to their online presence. SEO, in fact, is simple, the problem is the level of competition that makes it difficult. This is exactly the reason why billion dollar companies exist with the sole purpose of improving SEO results. But, I repeat SEO is simple in essence, you just need to know the basics. Though, one important fact that I must get through to you people is that SEO, is not a developer’s job, it’s a marketer’s job. Most developers I know don’t even care about SEO enough to learn what is it that needs to be done.

But here’s the thing, there isn’t much to be done for SEO technically from a developer’s perspective anyway. Other than ensuring that the site is up and running, follows a proper structure and a good load speed, a developer’s work is very limited on the SEO side.

Note: Be wary of web development companies that claim to sell you SEO services along with a website. This is especially true in Lebanon

On the other hand, SEO must be central to the work of any Digital Marketer. It is literally how you control the flow on the internet. If the internet was a neighborhood, Google is the gate-keeper.

One of the main indicators of quality for high-quality sites is site speed, that is why Google started taking site load time into consideration in Search Engine Ranking.

WordPress

Sine WordPress prides itself on powering most of the internet, it’s safe to assume that most of you reading this, either own, operate or work on a WordPress site. This is why the following tools are designed to help you speed up your site without much work.

A high-quality hosting provider: BlueHost

If you are running a business it only makes sense that you give your core elements the resources they need. So if you are running a website and paid 2$ for your hosting you honestly deserve what’s happening to you right now. Especially when you can get amazing services like BlueHost for only marginally more money. Using the proper host, especially one that offers special WordPress hosting will provide you with many extra perks that will help you with your site, both technically and in SEO friendliness.

One of these improvements is a free SSL certificate that will boost your security and act as a signal to Google that your site is of a high-quality nature.

Image Optimizer: WPSmushIt

The number one reason your website is slow is the use of images. What perfectionists keep forgetting is that the internet is a bunch of bytes going all around trying to reach their intended target. So the larger the image used, the more bytes that need to be loaded onto the site. By using an image optimizer you will make the image up-to 80% smaller with minimal loss to quality. SmushIT is a great optimizing plugin that works wonder on your site and will automatically optimize all the images on your site.

Note: If you have a lot (500+) images on your site, it is preferable that you run it at times of low traffic since it will take up resources from your host due to the onsite optimization. If you’d rather not pay the 50$ subscription for a premium membership of WPMUDEV (totally worth the price btw) that will allow you to get SmushIt-Pro, it’s better that you use optimizilla.com to optimize your images

Pro-tip: Avoid using sliders as much as possible, not only are they slow to load, they don’t even load properly most times. Siders are so bad that you never know what can break it and when it breaks, good luck trying to fix it!

Leverage Browser Caching: W3 Total Cache

Most sites use static homepages, meaning that the content on the homepage does not change very often. This is means that for returning customers the experience can be drastically enhanced with the use of a caching plugin like W3 Total Cache. This will allow your site to store data (like images, videos, and text content) on your user’s computer. This will allow for a much faster load time for recurrent visitors, up to 60% faster for image heavy sites!

Tip: Make sure to always clear your website cache every time you update something important, or at the very least create a short expiring cycle. After all, you don’t want your users to view outdated content.

Lazy Load Images: BJ Lazy Load

In order to improve your website load time, you need to make sure that only the absolute essentials first and then everything else. That’s exactly what lazy loading does. Lazy loading allows your site to load the viewable content first and then load the rest of the content as you scroll down. By limiting initial load to only above the fold content, you would drop your page size drastically and allow for a much faster load time no matter what connection your user has.

Optimizing and Cleaning Your Database: WP-Optimize

When you’ve had a website for a very long time, you will have a lot of useless bits of data and broken links here and there that will bog down your on-site database. This happens especially if you are a WordPress user. WordPress stores things like drafts and previous versions. This stuff is good initially, but once you are satisfied with the final version of your content, they end clogging up your site and taking up storage causing your server to slow down and your databases to become inefficient. This is where WP-Optimize comes in. It scans your database and cleans it up to guarantee a smooth functioning structure. It also goes a step further by removing any unnecessary backups and versions.

AMP stands for “Accelerated Mobile Pages”. This is a technology developed by Google to deliver lightning fast mobile experiences. Google itself places AMP sites front and center in search on mobile. This means that by installing AMP on your site, you not only improve the performance of your website but you also give your SEO a major boost. AMP pages also have a priority in Google Now suggested articles, meaning that you will have a better possibility to reach in-market audiences in more organic ways.

Use a decent CDN: Recommended CloudFlare

Click edit button to change thCDN stands for “Content Delivery Network”. This is a network of servers all over the world that store copies of your site in order to be closer to your user. By publishing your website onto a CDN you will decrease website load time all over the world not just near your main host. In simple terms the less distance the data has to travel, and the less relays it has to go through, the faster your website will load.is text.

Move on to a minimalistic design philosophy (at least for your blog)

The move to minimalism on websites and blogs is not a purely design driven decision. It is true that from a design perspective, minimalism removes distractions and allows the user to focus on your content. You need minimalism for that because these days attention spans are so small that it is very important you remove distractions or you will lose the reader {in fact that is why I’m writing this article using a distraction-free markdown editor}.

But there is another reason why it’s very important to use a minimalistic design. By adhering to minimalism, you will by definition useless images, and more whitespace. Both of these things will implicitly force you to keep the page small and manageable as opposed to huge and impossible to load!

Tip: Take your design cues from medium.com for blogs. Very few sites can do a better blog than medium.

By | 2017-09-19T08:44:17+00:00 September 19th, 2017|Uncategorized|