WordPress Speed Optimization is critical to overcoming Panda suppression factors to produce across the board improvements in rankings for all the pages on your website.
WordPress is great for a host of reasons, mainly for its extensibility and ease of use. But a site can get bloated quickly. If a site takes more than 2 seconds to load, you’re losing people. And losing visibility in Google. In this post I outline some of the things I did to reduce my website’s load time from 8 seconds to 1 second.
Tip: It’s important to optimize your website for speed. Go to http://gtmetrix.com. to see how fast your website loads. If it’s more than 2 seconds, most likely, you’re being penalized.
Why Is Speed an Issue?
First, Google and other search engines are including speed as a major factor in their their ranking algorithm. In other words, they want websites to load quickly and penalize bloated sites that slow down a visitor’s experience. Remember, if a visitor isn’t pleased with your site’s performance, they’re a click away from your competition.
What Slows A Website Down?
The bad news is that there are many factors that can create bottlenecks and lead to a slow page load time. Cheap/shared hosting, images or videos that aren’t scaled properly, a jumble of unorganized content, un-neccessary plugins, and too many external scripts running on pages. These are just some factors that can slow your site down.
The good news is that slow load times are easy to fix.
The first step is to measure your page speed using http://gtmetrix.com. Again, it should load in less than 2 seconds.
How Can You Speed Up Your Website?
While there are several options to explore, making your pages available as quickly as possible is the desired result.
Most problems can be solved with the use of a properly configured caching plugin and a CDN, even if you’re using a shared hosting environment like Rackspace or Siteground.
Be sure to have your developer run your website through http://gtmetrix.com.
WordPress Speed Optimization Tips
You should start with the highest priority issues on the PageSpeed and YSlow tabs. Here’s what I recommend for every website:
Configure A Caching Plugin
In a computing, a cache is a place to temporarily store data. Active data is often cached in order to reduce load times. By implementing a cacheing plugin, your server doesn’t have to reload each page each time it’s requested by a user. It loads a cached page… one that’s already available. That’s why you want to implement a cacheing Like WP Super Cache, W3 Total Cache, or Quick Cache with the best settings for your server. This really depends on your web host.
Optimize Your Images
WP Smush strips un-necessary information from your images, reducing the file size without a loss of quality. The site loads faster. Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines like it better.
Remove Query Strings From Static Resources
This plugin will remove query strings from static resources like CSS & JS files, and will improve your speed scores in services like PageSpeed, YSlow, Pingdoom and GTmetrix. Resources with a “?” or “&” in the URL are not cached by some proxy caching servers, and moving the query string and encode the parameters into the URL will increase your WordPress site performance significant.
Pre-render Your Pages
WordPress Instant Articles dramatically improves user experience and site speed with page pre-render, DNS prefetch, Link Prefetch, HTML5 subresource
Set up a content delivery network (CDN)
My preference is Cloudflare, which is a-m-a-z-i-n-g. The CloudFlare WordPress Plugin ensures your WordPress blog is running optimally on the CloudFlare platform.
Be sure to make as many of the other optimizations as shown in GTmetrix.
By following these simple steps, I reduced my page load time from 8 seconds to 1 second.
WordPress Speed Optimization is important. As always, think of the customer journey/experience.
A website optimized for speed is a reflection of your brand. Your customers will appreciate when you demonstrate you are thinking of them with your actions.