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Reduce Page Load Time on WordPress

Page speed is ranking factor for Google’s Search Algorithm. While it is critical not to sacrifice the site’s usability and content relevance for the sake of faster web pages, making sure that your site is up-to-par in this aspect impacts both ranking and user behaviour.

Why does it matter to Google?

According to a blog post by Google Search Team, Google tested this by purposely slowing down their own search results to measure the impact on users.

“Our experiments demonstrate that slowing down the search results page by 100 to 400 milliseconds has a measurable impact on the number of searches per user of -0.2% to -0.6% (averaged over four or six weeks depending on the experiment). That’s 0.2% to 0.6% fewer searches for changes under half a second!”

This is, in essence, a mirror of user behaviour. People like fast sites and Google is pushing that every site owner builds fast sites.

What can you do to improve site speed?

Take a baseline measurement.

Before you treat a sickness you have to get a diagnosis first. The same goes with your website.
Use page speed tools to know what issues you need to target on your site.

You can use Google’s own tool which provides general guidelines on your site:
https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

Or you can try other free tools that may provide more detailed information:

Take screenshots of these results for comparison and future reference.

Optimise your site

The most common items from Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool often include the following:

  • optimise images
  • enable compression
  • eliminate render blocking code above the fold (CSS and JS)
  • reducing server response time
  • minify code (Javascript and CSS)
  • leveraging browser caching

It can be useful to have a paid developer to help you with these items.

However, if you are doing things on your own, you can try some plugins to speed up your site.

Clean up your site’s code

The code can always be improved. But, if you don’t have the know-how or you are not a developer, you can use tools like Autoptimize. This WordPress plugin will be able to take your code and minify your site’s JavaScript, HTML and CSS. It is a free tool that will take only take minutes set-up.

Enable the use of browser caching

Whenever a user visits a website, their browser downloads assets into their browser’s local cache. This makes sites load faster since the browser does not have to retrieve HTML, CSS, JavaScript and images on every page load.

The suggestion of implementing browser caching often refers to implementing correct HTTP cache headers or setting longer cache time.

Non-developers can simply use WordPress plugins like WP Super Cache or WP Rocket.

Compress images

Image compression is often the easiest as well as the change that can the highest impact for page load improvement.

There are a number of image compression tools available to use like Optimizilla or Tiny PNG.

Make sure to compress and resize each image individually. While batch compression is available, it still important to see whether the image is still of good quality (not pixelated) while having the smallest files possible.

Repeat (after a few months).

It can be useful to always take measurements of your site’s performance. Compare it with your last test and see where you can continue to keep that page load number down. This is important if you have numerous updates on your site.

If you think you need help with making your site load faster, send us a message. Our team has the skills and capability to take your site further.

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