These days when everyone is focusing on SEO many website owners are missing one very important factor for better ranking - the speed of your site.
We live in a fast phased world nowadays and it’s measured that the attention is kept for just 7 seconds and that’s the reason search engines penalize slower websites by pushing them down on the SERP.
The average site speed is around 8 seconds despite the fact that the best loading time is around 3 seconds. So if you want to get an advantage in front of your competitors your website must load faster than those 3 seconds.
Having your site speed up doesn’t require that much effort and technical skills like SEO and is considered important by Google.
How to check the performance of my website?
There are many tools for speed check and here we will take a look over some of the most popular competitors. Run a quick diagnostic and see what suggestions for improvement you will get. Some tools give good insight and explain what needs to be fixed.
Google Pagespeed Insights
Google offers this tool for free and you can use it to analyze the speed of your website and how to reduce the delay in page loading. Unfortunately not always they give you a good insight on how to improve your site to get a better score.
GT Metrics is a tool that can give you a good overall look over your website’s health and its performance. It also gives technical insight into areas for improvement.
How to speed up my WP website?
Make sure the Web Hosting you’re using is good
Often when using shared hosting, the server resources are shared between many customer accounts. This is normal for a low priced hosting services - the server has to be able to host as many websites as possible in order to be in profit. However sharing system resources means low loading speed, even if your website is very well optimized. That’s why it is recommended to invest in a good hosting solution - either enterprise-level shared hosting or a VPS.
Our high performance shared hosting may be just the suitable option for you - we offer Lightweight Virtual Environment which is similar tech to VPS but in a shared environment and it allows to isolate resources for each hosting account. So our plans are based on system resources (RAM, CPU cores etc) and you are able to scale easily. We also emphasize on speed by using ultra-fast web server - LiteSpeed with LSCache for WordPress, all SSD storage, high-performance CPU and network.
Optimize your images
Photos are an important part of any site that attracts and holds the attention of users but can be one of the elements that slow down your site when they are large and not in the right format.
A good practice is to edit your pictures in order to resize them.
There are many formats that are available, some of the most popular ones are PNG and JPEG. PNG format is uncompressed and has better quality and respectively is in a larger size.
Of course, with the development of technology and the improvement of the user experience, new and better web formats are being developed. WebP format created by Google provides superior lossless and lossy compression. With it, you can reduce photos by 27% more compared to JPEG or PNG.
A good plugin for better formatting of images is WP-Smush it. You can read more about it in the following link.
You can see for yourself the difference in file size in different formats and decide which you're gonna use.
Behind the abbreviation, CDN stays - content distribution network - which itself says a lot about its functionalities.
CDN is a network of proxy sources that are strategically located to distribute data from sites to the required geographic locations. In this way, the data that users are requesting is delivered fast, no matter where the site operates from. Software-wise automatically static resources such as photos are served where needed and captured on a local server for a period of time when users in a current location indicate they have an interest in this information.
There are many providers of this service but one of the most popular ones is CloudFlare.
To use the CDN services of CloudFlare, you should sign up in their platform and follow the provided steps for the installation. They will extract all your domain DNS records and apply them to their DNS server. Then you will have to change the nameservers of your domain.
This service is usually paid for. Cloudflare has a free basic version which is with limited features but you can still take from the advantages of using CDN.
Activate LazyLoad for your images
Images are some of the heaviest elements on a website. They require a lot of resources such as bandwidth and slow down the loading of the pages. With the use of LazyLoad plugin your website will only load photos that are in the visible part. When the user scrolls down the page, the other images will be distributed. This way the first load of the page will be significantly faster.
The Smush it WP plugin that we showed you earlier will take care of making your images load that way. If you are using the LiteSpeed WordPress cache plugin, you can enable this feature from that plugin too.
Use Caching plugin
Caching as technology is designed to do one thing very well and that is making your website faster.
Your WordPress website servers dynamic pages - the content in them is changing periodically. This means that every time you visit a page, the CMS will query the database, follow the algorithms, and prepare a view that will be displayed.
The process consists of many steps, which slows down the site. For this reason, the use of a caching plugin is recommended. It caches the result and every time a new user visits that page, it will give the user the cached version of the page.
One of the most popular plugins is Litespeed WordPress Cache but not every hosting provider is using LiteSpeed Web Server. For us, it is very important to use the best technologies on the market so we do use it and respectively you can take advantage of it.
The plugin has great features that can benefit your website significantly. Some of the most important ones are the free QUIC.cloud CDN cache, the image Optimisation (Lossless/ Lossy), Lazy load images, WebP image format support, and many more. You can find detailed information about the characteristics of the plugin here:
You can easily activate Litespeed WordPress Cache Plugin on your WordPress website following the instructions described in our documentation, where you will find tips on how to activate the plugin via WordPress or through the cPanel administrative panel.
If your hosting provider is not supporting the LiteSpeed WordPress Cache plugin, we recommend you to use W3 Total Cache:
Do not use heavy Themes and a lot of plugins
In the very beginning when choosing your WordPress theme it is good to have in mind that some of the themes are lighter than others. Usually, the paid versions are the ones that will be with the best features and will work faster but not always. Choose wisely and when you do make sure the theme is light and fast-loading.
Using too many plugins can make your site heavier and slower to load. If you reduce the number of installed plugins and use only those that you really need, you can significantly improve the loading speed.
Update frequently your WordPress theme & WordPress plugins you use
When using a CMS system it’s essential to update both your theme and all your plugins frequently. This way you will increase the security of your site and at the same time will apply the latest features of the theme or plugin. Most of the vulnerabilities on WordPress are on their older versions. That’s the reason checking for updates to be so important.
Make sure your hosting providers support HTTP2
If your hosting provider supports HTTP2 then you can take advantage of the fast and reliable connection of the next data transfer protocols - HTTPS & HTTP2, which provide a secure connection between the server and the user, drastically reducing the number of connections made to the server, which in turn saves time. The HTTPS protocol also helps significantly for better indexing of the website in search engines.
We advise you to review your website and apply the improvements we mentioned. All of them are easy to implement and do not require technical literacy, but they can positively affect the performance of your site and lead to better ranking in a higher position on search engines and at the same time improve the user experience.