What is Website Page Speed?
Website page speed is just like it sounds, how fast your website loads. It is affected by the amount of media on your page, the speed of your host, and other variables. Page speed is something that can be changed, even people with little technical knowledge.
Why Should I Worry About My Page Speed?
Google has always paid attention to website speed scores, and ranking your sites will be difficult if your page speed score is poor. In an article by Search Engine Land, they go over what’s known as the “Speed Update” in Google’s algorithm.
The Speed Update brought in mobile page speed as a ranking factor. Before that, page speed was a ranking factor as of 2010, except it was focused on desktop page speed. The Speed Update took effect in July of 2018.
The speed update is the reason you need to know how to speed up your WordPress website. Hopefully, after today you’ll be an expert at it.
How Do I Check My Current Page Speed Score?
Google provides a tool, which is called PageSpeed Insights. Some other third-party tools that can be useful are the Pingdom Speed Test, and GTMetrix Speed Test.
If your site is generating all green numbers with site speeds of 90+ on all these websites then I wouldn’t worry about reading the rest of this article. To the rest of you, I hope you’re able to take something away from this today.
Why Should You Trust Me?
I’m not much of a bragger, but in order to show you my advice is credible, I’m going to brag a little bit. These are my results when I use the above-mentioned tools on my agency website.
As you can see, my agency website gets an 84% PageSpeed score, and an 87% YSlow score from GTMetrix. These are very respectable speeds, and they are helping my rankings.
Pingdom Speed Test:
My Pingdom Speed Test produces a score of “78”. This would worry me, but that’s why I use multiple tools to test my page speed. My average competitor gets a score between 50-70, so this is not of great concern to me.
Google PageSpeed Insights:
This is the test I take the most seriously.
Google PageSpeed Insights includes a mobile test and desktop test. The following is what my website scored on the mobile and desktop version of the tests.
As you can see, I scored a *shudder* 72. Although this doesn’t seem like a good score, Pagespeed Insights Mobile test is notoriously hard to score well on.
When I looked at my top 5 competitors (who are ranking on Google for my target keyword), these are their mobile page speed scores.
28, 16, 11, 22, and 34. This means the average mobile page speed of my top 5 competing companies was a 22.2… out of 100.
Now my 72 isn’t looking so bad! And these numbers will vary (weirdly enough) when you retest your site after making no changes. When I tested my mobile page speed a week ago it was at 75. Now when I went to take a screenshot of it, and it went down to 72.
And similarly, when I tested my site a week ago, it was at a 99 desktop speed. When I went to retest it for the screenshot, it went down to 98. Oh well, I’ll assume that 1% isn’t killing my rankings.
If you’ve been in the SEO game for any considerable amount of time, you know that website speed was, is, and always will be a considerable ranking factor. Which is why today we’ll be going over how to speed up your WordPress website.
The Steps To a Fast Website
1) Invest in the proper hosting
The idea of “proper hosting” is subjective, but the main idea is that you’re not running your site on a $2/mo shared hosting plan.
Trust me when I say, my agency site isn’t hosted on super expensive hosting. Don’t rush into any hosting, do your due diligence, and you’ll be good. Remember uptime and speed are the most important metrics when it comes to hosting.
If you can afford private hosting, then you should invest in it. Your page speed will thank you.
2) Use a Caching Plugin
Caching your site will essentially allow Google to “remember your site” and not have to load each element individually.
No matter how complicated this may sound to you, WordPress makes this a very seamless process. Just download a caching plugin and set it up.
I use W3 Total Cache, but I’ve also heard great things about WP Super Cache.
3) Optimize Your Images
This tip takes a bit of work, but once you get it down it will dramatically increase your page speed.
There are two things to remember when optimizing your images;
a) Compress the file.
Use an online image compressor to compress your raw png or jpeg file.
I use imagecompressor.com , you can cut the file size down by upwards of 70% just by compressing the file, which in turn will speed up your website.
b) Properly size the image.
This can get a little bit more complicated, but it will do wonders for your website.
When you upload a picture onto your website, you often don’t even think about the (physical) size of it because it will just be resized when it is being loaded on your page.
What if I told you this was affecting your page speed? Let me show you the process.
View your site from the point of a visitor. Now right click anywhere on your site. Click on “Inspect” which is at the bottom of the drop down.
If you go over the code in the “Elements” tab, you will see the snippets of code highlight different aspects of your site.
When you find the code that pertains to this image, you can hover over the code and see what size your image is supposed to be.
Write the dimensions down. Now open up the raw file in an image editing software such as Preview on a mac.
Now go to Tools > Adjust Size.
Resize your image to the dimensions you wrote down earlier.
Re-upload the image to WordPress and replace the old image with the newly resized image. Be sure it is still a compressed version to keep the size (in terms of MB/KB) down.
After going through these steps, your website’s page speed should be new and improved. I hope you’ve learned some actionable steps today and can implement them right aways!
If you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to visit my website by clicking here, and using the contact us form to get ahold of me.
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