10 ways to improve your page speed

10 ways to improve your page speed

10 ways to improve your page speed 600 300 digital devotee
Page speed is a measurement of how fast the content on your page loads.  This is super important firstly because people have less patience for slow loading pages and may click away from your site if it takes to long.  Secondly because search engines like Google take into account your page speed when ranking you website so there is a direct impact on SEO.

 

Here are the main things you should work on…

TEST

First check and see if your page speed is an issue and what might be causing it.  Ideally you are looking for a load time of under 2-3 seconds in the main locations your viewers come from.

I’m using my own site as an example which has a server in Singapore and uses a CDN.

GTmetrix

This is an excellent tool that gives you the best insights about your speed. You’ll notice that my site’s speed today was around 3.9 seconds from Canada and that images are the thing slowing my page down the most.  You’ll need to consider your priorities to see what matters the most to you.

Pingdom

This is a useful tool because it lets you choose the location of your test.  For example the majority of my viewers are in Hong Kong so I have a server in Singpore and am testing from Japan.  The speed here is faster because it’s closer.  However, Pingdom’s analysis of your key issues may be less accurate.

Google PageSpeed Insights

This is not to be ignored as it’s used by Google to rank your website.  You will notice a lot of variation in scoring if you re-run the test without changing anything so aim to have an overall improvement.  Unless you have a very “slim” homepage or one created specifically for mobile you’ll find it hard to rank well there but do make sure your site is at least mobile friendly: Google Mobile-friendly Test

Common Issues

If you performed the benchmark tests above and found that your performance was lower than what you wanted there are some common reasons why that may be.  Go through them and prioritize which are most important to you and will have the biggest impact if you change them…

1. Hosting

If you are using a shared server which is far away from your viewer’s location or isn’t optimized for WordPress this may be a primary reason for slow results.  I use SiteGround which has a server location in Singapore so closer to Hong Kong, caching, minification, Gzip, free CDN and more options that really speed your site up quite a bit.  Another option might be WPEngine which is also very optimized for WordPress and has a server in Taiwan.

2. Too Many Posts Loading

If you have a homepage that loads 8 articles, try reducing that and likely there will be a big reduction in speed already.

3. Social Feeds + Widgets

If you have multiple social feeds such as your Twitter and Facebook feeds on the homepage these can be big connection time suckers so consider minimizing these.

4. Bloated Themes + Unused Plugins

When you are selecting a theme, avoid those that have a large number of features / options that you don’t need.  Selecting a theme is critical and hard to do from the millions available from different makers.  I always get worried when I see they have loads of demo versions but haven’t updated for 2 months.  Reading reviews to make sure they are actively supporting the theme and frequently updating it are good places to start.

And of course always update your themes / plugins and get rid of stuff you aren’t using.  Will improve your security too!

5. Too Many External Fonts

If your website is using custom premium fonts or even Google fonts, make sure you are really only calling the ones you need as each version takes resources to load.

6. Fat Images

Images are often an issue and you should be trimming these where ever possible.

  • Aim to have every image as small as possible but at least under 200kb
  • The largest image you’d need to cover a screen is 1920×1080 so never exceed that.  And if you only need one for a 400×400 space then make one that size!  And yes there’s more to it with retina display but let’s not get into that just now;)
  • Sliders like RevSlider can be beautiful and make a really wonderful interactive animated top of your homepage but they are pretty heavy so consider slimming that down to a single large image if that’s all you actually need.
  • If you don’t have Photoshop to do editing, you could try a plugin like Ewww Image Optimizer
7. Content Delivery Network

CDNs increase the speed of your website to locations that are further away from your server.  So for example if you have a server in Singapore but you have lots of customers in the UK then they may have to wait longer to view your website.  Using a CDN will help speed that distance gap and also provides added layers of security.  A common CDN is Cloudflare which Siteground offers for free as part of your hosting package.

8. Compression

You should compress your site with gZIP so that the final HTML output of your site and some of the static resources will be compressed before being transmitted to your viewers.

9. Minify + Combine JS and CSS Files

These help reduce the size and number of JavaScript and CSS files that your site loads. Minification strips all unnecessary symbols by removing precious bites from being loaded every time you request an URL. Combination combines multiple JavaScript and CSS files into one. This reduces the number of requests your site makes.  Be sure to check the results on your site though as this sometimes causes conflicts between themes and plugins.

10. Caching

Caching saves the different operations your site performs in order to produce your final content. It then serves this ready “product” to the next visitor of your site. With a good caching solution enabled and functioning, your site will be as fast as a static page until you make a change. When this occurs, the page will load dynamically for the first visitor after the modification. Then, the cache will be refreshed and the next time it will load the much faster, cached version of the page.

Caching can be done with a plugin but is even faster if it is done at the server level which is why it’s best to go with a host that provides that kind of server like SiteGround does;)

Taura Edgar

I am a digital marketing professional based in Hong Kong since 1998. My experience spans digital marketing, social media, branding, PR, advertising, customer service, loyalty, and media. I have developed and led digital teams to grow brands and I have a keen interest in brand communications, digital strategy, customer service for social media and how those can work together with CRM to enhance customer experience / retention. I value long-term vision of enriching customer experience to extend loyalty above short-term fixes.

All stories by : Taura Edgar
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