Whatever type of website you might have and no matter what the primary purpose of that website might be, you’ll never get your site off the ground if your page takes forever to load.
Impressions count. There are three main advantages to having a faster website:
1) Better User Experience
In today’s society people are accustomed to having their websites load quickly. No one wants to wait around for a website to load, they’ll just go on to the next one in the search results list. This is why you need to make sure that your website loads quickly.
In fact according to a KISSmetrics study, 47% of consumers expect a website to load within the first two seconds. If it doesn’t they will quickly abandon that site. In fact, you don’t even need fancy surveys to help you understand how important it is for a site to load quickly. You use the web yourself and you know how you react when a website doesn’t load quickly.
2) Improved Search Engine Rankings
Faster loading times will also help with your rankings.
In 2010, Google announced that site speed was a ranking factor in their search ranking metrics. This is after having hinted at the importance of speed for many years. Matt Cutts explains further in his blog and the update is also outlined in this Google Webmastercentral blog post.
Google’s obsession with speed has increased many times over with the initiative called Make the Web Faster. This feature offers webmasters a wide range of tools and resources to help them make their websites load quicker.
3) Higher Conversion Rates
Not only does speed help you keep customers on your page and increase your search rankings, but it also helps you to increase your conversion rates.
Both Amazon.com and Mozilla have studied the conversion rate of pages using loading speeds as a factor. They both noticed a direct correlation between speed improvement and increase in conversion. This means that customers are more keen to take action if the site loads fast.
Amazon noticed that for every 100 millisecond improvement in page speed there was a 1% increase of revenue.
This proves that page speed can dramatically impact your business. This is true not only in the form of customer happiness but also in terms of revenue and site popularity.
Website performance is one of the more important factors in improving user experience. Additionally, with people using the internet on mobile devices more and more these days, speed is king.
Now that you know all the ways in which speed is important for your business to succeed, let’s make your website faster.
Run A Speed Test of Your Website
Before you make any changes to your website, the first thing you need to do is run a website speed test. This will help you to establish the baseline of your websites speed.
There are a number of speed testing tools that you can use. Some even include things like website services and browser extensions.
Some of the most popular tools are:
• GT Metrix
GT Metrix uses Yahoo.com’s YSlow and Google’s PageSpeed to test your website’s performance. You will be given a percentage grade for how each of those two tools loads. The information is easy to understand. You will also be provided with suggestions on what you should focus on to shave seconds and milliseconds off of your page load time.
• PageSpeed Insights
Ran by Google, this tool gives the user a score that will show how much faster your page could be. High scores will state that your page loads fast. A lower score will mean that you could improve your page.
• WebPage Test
The site contains a lot of different analyzing capability. And unlike PageSpeed Insights, it allows users to pick what country they are trying to focus on. This helps in making sure your intended marketplace is getting the best speed possible.
In addition to finding bottlenecks,Pingdom can give the user easy to understand summaries. These summaries show the following:
* the number of requests
* page size in MB
* load time in seconds
* grades for different things including browser caching.
This service differs from the others in that it is a software that plugs into the web development tool firebug. The software analyzes 23 different testable factors from a list of rules that affect web page performance. These rules are as dictated by Yahoo’s web performance team.
Varying Results and Suggestions
It is important to remember that each of these tools might produce various results. To receive a complete idea of the issues and advantages of your sites is to review the data points you get from speed test tools. From there, you can work on the ones that are most prevalent in the results.
Do not be disappointed if these data services do not give you complete answers. Remember that there are many more services out there to help you test your website’s speed and performance.
More Advanced Techniques to Fully Optimize Your WordPress Site
WordPress is like any other web page software, it sends requests to your server. Your browser then downloads the files and then you get to see the website you anticipated. On a good web page all this will happen in seconds, sometimes so fast you can’t even count it. On a bad web page this will take seconds upon seconds, making your website clunky and slow.
And what is to become of these clunky and slow pages? Visitors will get tired of having to wait and Google will lower your sites rankings because of the load time of your page. But how do you ensure that your web page is fast?
Choose WordPress Optimized Web Hosting
WordPress is a PHP and MySQL combination. For those of us who are not tech savvy, this means that requests to the server and the database are best saved to a solid environment to maximize performance.
WordPress hosting needs to be done by a professional hosting service. One of the better hosting services available is WP Engine. WP Engine is a managed WordPress hosting service.
They use WordPress experts to optimize your page for speed and performance. This hosting service works only on WordPress based sites. This allows them to optimize their servers for just that purpose. In fact, they have created a custom infrastructure that no one else has.
This is one way to make sure that your web page is adequately optimized. You won’t have to worry about a lot of things because the hosting service takes care of all the little details for you.
Choose a Clean and Optimized Theme
Another way to ensure that your website loads quickly is to make sure that the theme that you use is optimized for your purposes. If you use a theme that loads slowly, often the cause of poor coding, your website will be slow no matter what you do.
The Genesis Framework is built with all the latest search engine optimization recommendations. This includes those from Google. It optimizes the website for search engines by helping it to understand the content, metadata and more.
Use a Content Delivery Network
A content delivery network or content distribution network is a large distributed system of servers located in many data centers across the internet.
This network allows you to serve your website to customers from a location nearer to their location. What the CDN companies do is place servers in different areas around the world.
Not only do they place servers in multiple areas, but they also save copies of your website to make certain that your website’s loading time is a quick as possible. If you are looking for a top notch CDN company, you cannot go wrong with MaxCDN.
This service provider uses the quickest servers available to them. This is to make sure that any site that uses their service loads quick as lightning.
Cache Your WordPress Pages
If you aren’t using a hosting service like WP Engine you will need to ensure that you have an advanced caching system in operation. Caching is the process of storing data in auxiliary memory to ensure high-speed retrieval.
One way to achieve advanced caching is to use a plug-in or other service to cache your pages. One such plug-in that you can use to speed up your caching time is to use WordPress Super Cache plug-in.
Optimize Your Images
Yet another way to speed up your website’s performance is to use your skills to optimize your images. Depending on how you upload your image, they can add more loading time to your website. A high resolution image can add megabytes to your website and can drastically slow down the time that it takes to load your page.
Knowing the difference between the way a PNG file will act on your website and how a JPEG file will act is the key. Knowing the difference will ensure that your website is quick and easy to navigate for your consumers.
Avoid Using Multiple Plug-ins
While it might be tempting to install more plug-ins it can make your website slower. More plug-ins mean lots of hard work on caching.
While this doesn’t mean that you have to forgo all plug-ins, it will be best if you use less. This way, you can make sure that you are using the ones that you absolutely need.
For example, the JetPack plug-in that is available from WordPress is a free and all in one plug-in. JetPack gives your website CSS customization options, social media buttons and more. Using the JetPack plug-in will allow you to free up some space from other plug-ins that only do one of the many things that JetPack does.
After you have done all these things, your website should be to the most optimized speed possible.
You will have been able to do the following:
* cached your page
* optimized your images
* sought out a content delivery network
* and maximized the effectiveness of your web pages plug-ins.
By doing all these things, and having a stellar idea for a website, your website is sure to be a success. You will make a lasting first impression on your sites visitors giving them incentive to visit your page again and again.
With these tricks, you can make your website go faster and increase your web page ranking. With a faster website, your customers will have more reason to come back. And it will continue to be so.
But the tricks do not stop here. There are other things you can do to speed your site up a few more notches. Let’s talk about them next.
The Best Ways to Speed Up Your WordPress Site
In 2009 a study run by Akamai found that 47 percent of visitors expect a page to load in less than two seconds. Additionally, 50 percent of visitors will abandon a page if it takes more than three seconds to load.
Yet, the Akamai study is not the only study to confirm this. There have been many studies that have found the same or similar results. In 2006 Amazon reported that for every 100 milliseconds shaved off the loading time of your web page there was a one percent increase in revenues collected.
Not only does Amazon know how important speed is, Google does as well. Google has taken page load speeds into account in it’s website ranking algorithms.
So what are the ways you can speed up your WordPress site?
There are 13 different approaches to increase the speed at which your page loads. Some of them include things like:
- Identify which plug-ins slow down your website
- Cleaning up your website’s database
- Fixing the way that your browser caches
Laying the Foundation
Maybe your website’s server is sluggish. Or maybe it’s theme is bloated it will cause your page to load slower. Because they keep the page from loading you need to fix those main areas first before you work on anything else.
There are some quick fixes that you can use. But using them first, before fixing the glaring problems, would be irrational.
Choosing a website hosting company and a hosting package that will meet the needs of your site are essential. They are the main ways in which your website’s speed is determined. When you choose a free or cheap web hosting platform you get exactly what you pay for and the speed will always be lacking.
That isn’t to say that buying expensive web hosting service will guarantee you faster speeds. What you need to do is make sure that you do your research and use services well. This will help you to meet the needs of your internet based business.
What do you think will happen if you use a cheap shared server website hosting company? And what if your business has thousands of visitors to it’s web page daily? Your website will take longer to load. But, if you use a more reliable and well known web hosting service.
One that promises dedicated servers to your site. The time that it takes to connect to your web hosting server will decrease.
It might not seem budget efficient to use a more expensive web hosting provider. If you consider that increased speed of your site is related to increased sales. You will soon see that you are not spending your money foolishly.
By spending the necessary money on getting a quality web hosting company you will ensure that you get the most bang for your buck. You don’t want to pinch pennies while wasting dollars. You will be wasting dollars if you sacrifice speed at the altar of price.
That is why it is extremely important to use a web hosting company that offers dedicated servers to your site. It will pay off in the long run.
Another way to ensure that you have a superior website hosting time is to make sure that you do not use a bloated WordPress theme.
Sometimes, big and flashy isn’t all that it has cracked up to be. Often, themes will brand themselves as versatile and customizable. In reality they have hundreds of different customizable features that slow down the site. Think back to the days of MySpace and how slow pages would load when they had music and fancy backgrounds.
This is why Amazon uses a plain white background. Large companies use the simplest background. This is to ensure that their page loads quickly for their customers. It is one of the many reasons they remain the leader in e-commerce.
Using a Content Delivery Network
The first thing that is important to know is that a Content Delivery Network or CDN is. A CDN is a network that hosts your files across a large network of servers from around the world. This allows for users to load their pages faster and reduce bandwidth usage when loading files from your website.
Additionally, when you use a CDN it allows for your files to be spread across many servers. This will reduce the strain on your main server which keeps your page running smoothly and quickly.
Once you have increased speed with a CDN. Decreased load times with a proper website hosting company. Optimized your page with a minimalistic theme.
Now you are ready to move to the task of increasing your site by milliseconds. Increasing by milliseconds only works to help improve your site for the next person.
1. Check which plug-ins might be slowing you down.
Using a diagnostic plug-in, like P3, can help you to understand how much time your plug-ins are draining. By running this diagnostic tool you will learn how to spot which plug-ins are making your website slow.
2. Compress your website to reduce the size of its files.
Just as you would compress files on your computer to a ZIP file, you can do the same thing with a Web page file. Using a program like Gzip you can compress your websites files and help to save you on bandwidth.
You can increase you pages load times with Gzip. The way this works is that the program compresses your website files. Later it unzips those same files and shows their content after your page has loaded.
3. Use a program or plug-in that will help you to compress your images.
Images can be a major detriments to load times. When you use a plug-in like WP Smush.it your website will automatically compress your images. It will then upload them to the media library. This type of compression is lossless. It is lossless because most users will not be able to notice any difference in the quality of the image that it serves your clients.
4. Use a sensible plug-in to help with browser caching.
Caching is important in speeding up your page’s load time. Unfortunately, sometimes you can find a caching program that does more harm than good. This is why you need to make sure you use a program like WP Super Cache. WP Super Cache helps you reduce the need for visitors to have to download the same files from the server twice. This will reduce the number of HTTP requests that your site makes.
5. Clean up your database of trackbacks, pingbacks, and unapproved comments.
One great thing about WordPress is it saves everything. While this is a good feature to have. Sometimes, it can also create disadvantages. The disadvantages come from your database being filled up with thousands of post revisions, trackbacks, pingbacks and more. To solve this problem you should install a plug-in like WP-Optimize. WP-Optimze will routinely clear out your databases trash so that it only keeps what it needs to keep.
7. Turn off pingbacks and trackbacks in your settings tab.
Part of good Search Engine Optimization or SEO might be having lots of pingbacks and trackbacks. But while that is good for SEO, it isn’t good for speed. And if you’ve tried everything to get the loading time of your page down and it hasn’t worked this will be a way to help that get down.
8. Make sure to specify your image dimensions and character sets.
Every time a visitor opens your web page it will have to figure out how to lay out the content around images. If the browser isn’t told the size of the images it will have to figure it out itself. This is why you should always specify character sets and image sizes in the HTML of your website.
9.Move your CSS scripting as close to the top of the page as possible.
This is a good idea to do because the way that browsers work is that they first render the CSS file and then everything else. If the CSS file is at the top of the page it makes it easier for it to load.
10. Make Use of CSS Sprites
A sprite is a large image file that contains individual images. When you use CSS you can hide everything in the image except for the section that you need. You can do this by specifying a set of coordinates.
The coordinates will allow you to show just a specific piece of the picture and that will make it easier to load. This is because it only has to load one picture.
One way that you can do this is by using a tool called SpriteMe. SpriteMe turns all your images into a CSS sprite. But, before you decide to use this remember that Safari browsers cannot load large sprites.
11. Use HTTP Keep Alive, a message that allows the users machine to download multiple files.
HTTP Keep alive is a something that you can use. HTTP Alive will ensure that the message that the user’s machine sends to the web server which asks for permission to download a file.
When you enable HTTP Keep Alive, you allow the client’s machine to download many files without the hassle of having to repeatedly ask for permission to do so. HTTP Keep Alive will save your website bandwidth.
12. When appropriate replace PHP coding with HTML.
PHP is a great way to make your website run efficiently. Besides, increasing efficiency PHP also helps to reduce the need for you or your web master to enter the same information multiple times.
While this may decrease the time you need to spend coding your website the process of calling up information through PHP uses server resources. By using server resources, you will increase the amount of time it takes for your page to load.
This is why it is advised to use static HTML coding wherever you can to reduce the amount of time it takes to load your page. This does not mean you cannot use PHP but to be wise about where you use it because it can be resource heavy.
After you have made these changes your website should be running faster than ever. And speed is important now days because mobile internet usage is set to take over. That is of course if it hasn’t already surpassed desktop internet usage.
The shift in internet usage there has never been a greater necessity to have a fast website than there is now. Users expect a website to be as fast as their thoughts.
Customers will punish developers and website that don’t comply by leaving and never coming back. First impressions are important and speed is the best way to make a lasting first impression on your consumer.
The Core Truth On Lightning Fast WordPress Sites
Everyone thinks that there is a secret to having a faster WordPress website. But there isn’t a secret to making your WordPress site load faster. All you have to do is follow some simple advice and you too can have a faster website.
It doesn’t involve any magic or trickery, just simple hard work.
To run a successful online business, you need a responsive website that is not only search engine optimized but also fast. There are hundreds of blogs that offer tips on how to improve website page speed. Unfortunately, most of the tips are ineffective and end up misleading website owners like you and me.
Forget the hype; here are some proven ways of making your website fast without spending a fortune.
Fixing a WordPress website is like fixing a home. If you find problems with the foundation you don’t start to clean off the windows. You fix the foundation first.
But what is the foundation of a WordPress website?
Core refers to the foundation of essential components. These components are so important that your site cannot run without them.
The foundation of a WordPress website is it’s hosting, theme and plug-ins. So when you go to fix the problem of your website loading slowly you need to start with hosting, theme and plug-ins.
The first way to fix the performance of your site is to strengthen up the foundation. Or better yet, optimize the foundation of your content.
To give you a clear perspective on the essence of core, consider your body. Arms, legs, and head are the core parts of your body. If you want to increase your body strength, you need to work out these parts. Sure, having ripped biceps and pulsating curves is nice, but flexibility and strength in your muscles is more important.
The same case applies to your website.
To get supreme performance, you need to work on its core features. You can do this by:
- Getting a reliable DNS
- Go for a hosting package that is customized for WordPress websites.
- Get a clean theme that is devoid of bloat
- Get rid of unnecessary plugins
Let us discuss each of these elements in detail to give you a clear perspective on how to increase your site’s performance.
Shoring Up Your DNS
First thing to understanding how to shore up your DNS is to understand what a DNS is. DNS stands for Domain Name Server. A Domain Name Server is a system that automatically translates internet addresses into the numeric machine addresses that computers use.
This Howstuffworks article explains what you need to know about DNS.
In fact it’s all very technical as computers don’t read the same languages that us humans do. But most importantly is to make sure that your web page’s DNS is working properly.
The best way to find out if you DNS is to run a quick Pingdom test. The Pingdom test will look at how things load on your website. It will display to you a multicolored bar that will represent the pages load time. The first set of data is the DNS servers load time.
For optimal results you should try to get that number down to around seven milliseconds. To get your DNS numbers low you should find a company like Amazon’s Route 53 or Fantasktic to help you find a reliable DNS.
Ensure Your WordPress Hosting and Caching is Correct
After you have shored up your DNS you can focus on your WordPress installation. The next factor in fixing the foundation of your website’s foundation is to fix the hosting and caching problems.
In order to have a serious WordPress website is to make sure that you use a top-notch hosting service. You need to stay away from generic, shared hosting which is often marred by generic and slow performance.
If you are planning on getting any decent amount of traffic to your website you’ll want to make sure that you have your site hosted on a server that is configured to the needs of a WordPress website.
Why do you need to use a hosting service dedicated to WordPress sites?
This is because WordPress generates the pages dynamically. Dynamic generation usually involves pulling theme files, database information, image folders, and information from third-party websites. It does all this for each single page that is generated.
The best way to make that process run quicker and more reliable is to use NGINX. When you involve NGINX in your page or elements of your page, it allows your information to be saved on the server and loaded pre-generated anytime that a user calls upon it.
This allows your website to be much faster at loading and able to handle more potential users at once.
In addition to fixing the hosting of your web page, you need to make sure that you fix the caching. Caching or origin caching is part of a strategy that allows you to retrieve frequently used or requested data at a high-speed.
The best way to make your caching smarter and more efficient is to use a tool called W3 Total Cache. W3 Total Cache includes fragment caching support that allows for even more caching control and most importantly faster load times.
Get Clean Themes and Plug-Ins
Another thing that you can use to help speed up your site is using a theme like Genesis. Genesis framework is a type of theme framework that allows for clean code. Ultimately everything comes down to making sure that code is clean and efficient in order to have websites or programs run smoothly.
If you use bad code for your theme or your plug-ins it will sink your website before you even got a chance to present it to the world. When you use things like Genesis Framework, you are given the option of using very well coded themes.
Additionally, you need to make sure that your plug-ins are well coded as well. This is why not only do you want to make sure that the plug-ins that you use are adequate for the jobs you need to done on your website but also to make sure that they are efficient as possible.
The best thing to do is to make sure that you use the best running and most efficient plug-ins as possible. One way to do this is to use a plug-in that can do the job of multiple plug-ins.
That will reduce the amount of plug-ins that you need and at the same time free up memory that your site needs to use to run properly.
Now that you have a good idea of how to fix up the foundation of your WordPress website you can go out and make those changes. While the changes may not be cheap to implement, it is entirely worth it. When you are trying to get business done on the web you don’t want to try and work with sub-par tools.
There is a saying that a mechanic is only as good as their tools, and it translates to websites as well. If you use sub-par tools your website will suffer and people will abandon your site.
This is why you might need to shell out a little bit of money to make sure that your website is as efficient as possible. This doesn’t mean you have to spend with wanton abandon for prices but to be smart about how you spend your money and make sure that it goes to something that matters.