- I am not there yet but I know people who are.
- For example Ben and Jeff (owners of this site).
- Who you are, how you get started … none of this matters to the visitors of your blog.
- They all want that clicking on your link works on the promise you made.
- This, and they want you to do it in two seconds or less, thank you.
Readers love short blogs… until they do.
- If instead of a writing team and a 20-man tech department, readers don’t care 100%, it’s just you.
- In your PJ, on your kitchen table, even.
- Readers value authenticity. Real people behind a blog. Connection. Relatability.
- I may be biased, but I think younger, independent bloggers pull the point that readers may actually find more value than giant blogging teams.
Although younger bloggers struggle, however, they are with technology.
- And do technical conflicts manifest themselves in the first place? Site Speed.
- Do all bloggers care about this?
- No, if you only blog as a hobby and don’t care about growing an audience or making real money.
- Otherwise, you need to.
- Because when visitors care less about creating content, they are ruthless and clueless when it comes to how quickly you deliver it.
Why is site speed also a thing for small bloggers?
Table of Contents
- The site came from your visitor loaded in just a second. When you are not, they think “No, bless his heart.”
- It’s more like, “WTH is wrong with this site?”
- Almost no one understands or cares about the technical differences between your blog and mega-blog. That clumsiness means that you have equal opportunities. That’s great, isn’t it?
- But it also creates hope that you will deliver just like the big ones.
- Every extra second that your page takes to load gives you a portion of your potential audience. Especially if they are using a mobile device.
- Just see what load bar to bounce rates in the diagram below.
Even if they didn’t hit the back button on that first slow loading page, they only run on fewer pages.
So whether they are speaking outright, or after just a few clicks, slower site performance means fewer page views.
The bottom line when it comes to speed is this:
If you want to develop your blog into something that quits your day job, then you can’t keep up with the speed of the site.
Are you a general blogger?
Most bloggers do not start with an ideal setup.
I don’t know how anyone can be. Writing blog posts is not huge for most people, but the technical decisions behind setting up a blog are not 100% every day.
When you go in search of information, it is difficult to sort the good from the bad.
- You can install a resource-intensive plugin that slows down your site (on the recommendation of a blogger friend-).
- Choose unsightly hosting because it all seems the same. (I mean, why not the cheapest one?)
- Use a page builder to get everything ready in advance.
- The net result is that a lot of bloggers wind up site speed which is useless. And, often, no clue how to fix it.
Okay, I will not lie. A blog post is not going to fix everything that slows down a site.
What a blog post will do:
- Offer you a crash course so that you understand what the speed is.
- Suggest avoiding those things.
- Tell us what to do if you need a big/quick win now.
- If the basics are not enough, show you how to get help.
- Let’s do it.
Speed 101: How to speed up WordPress performance
If you haven’t loaded any extra things into the pages of your blog, they won’t be super plain.
Great content alone may suffice for some people. But the reality is that without visual interest, it is difficult to keep most readers engaged.
On top of having a visual interest, there are things you may want to load into your pages to help develop your blog. For example opt-in form.
Speed is not always about doing (or not doing) a thing. The best way to see this is as a series of trades. If you add an image to a post, it adds a little loading time. But it also adds visual interest and perhaps explains the content a bit.
The basics are very simple. Whenever you can do something on the list below, you will speed up your site:
- Use small things
- Load things from fast server
- Load things close
Yes, whatever you load in the pages of your blog decreases at least a little bit. But when you are smart about your choice, you only add things that are worth it to both you and your visitors.
Tips for using fewer things
Use fewer plugins. Each plugin loads at least one additional file, usually more. Make sure that every plugin on your site is pure positive for you and your visitors.
Avoid using page builders. They load any additional files and are one of the easiest ways to speed them up WordPress.
Do not load more fonts than is absolutely necessary. Understand that each style (eg bold, italic, light, bold italic) requires an additional file.
Tips for using small things
Optimize images. I use and recommend ShortPixel. Not free, but close.
Use the smallest image size that works.
Replace resource-intensive plugins and themes with lighter options.
Fast server tips
Pick the best host your budget allows. I use Lightning Base. Jeff and Ben use biscuits. Both are good options.
Do not maximize your hosting space. Upgrade before you start having problems.
Tips for loading things nearby
Avoid plugins and embed code that interacts with other servers wherever possible (such as Instagram embed, ConvertKit plugin, Facebook box).
Choose a server near the majority of your audience. That is, if your host gives you a choice and if you know where your audience lives.
Put your site on a CDN such as Cloudflare, where copies of your site can be stored very close to visitors in the places where they are in the world.
Speed 201: Where to Start if Your WordPress Site is Already Slow
Are you a small blogger doing all this with limited time and money? Start after taking big swings like the initial slow-motion criminals.
1. Remove Domain Redirects
Do you sometimes use the ‘www’ version of your domain, and sometimes not? Do Google search results show your URLs as HTTP when they need to be https?
However, it is great that you are redirected to the place, so that visitors where they are, they add all those redirects to the loading time.
Go to Google Search Console and make sure your URL was added correctly. Check your WordPress site and make sure that both the WordPress address and the site address use the correct version.
When people use something other than the preferred version then use the redirect to cover you. But you can do everything to ensure people visiting your site through your favorite URL.
2. Serve optimal images
Because the speed of the site is so monotonous and technical, people tend to permanently underestimate the extent to which images can be responsible for a slow site. Here’s an example.
The optimized pin image on the right side is only 5% of the image size on the left.
Now you can see how corrected image optimization is the fastest, easiest and cheapest way to speed up your site?
Be sure to use really small images.
Sometimes you think that you are using a small image, but find that you are loading many more pixels than you do. This can happen in a few different ways.
For example, dragging the edges of an image into the WordPress editor. This makes the image look smaller. But it is still loading all pixels of the larger image.
Do not drag to resize; Use a smaller image size.
Another problem area that I see very often is with a theme or widget that is in the images depicted. They use what looks like a small thumbnail but often has a full-size image.
Use JPEG, not PNG.
- As you saw in the example above, when used incorrectly, large files are created in PNG format.
- PNG is used for logos and artwork with only a few colors. Not billions of colors like pictures.
- Want a cheat sheet to help you with all of the above image optimization tips?
- No signups are required, although I like joining my tribe in A Fearless Venture for fear of you.
- Related: 27 Best Places to Get High-Quality Stock Photos (For Free)
3. Rate and remove or replace plugins
Go through the plugins of your site and you can disable what you think.
If you have motion-sucking plugins that handle important tasks, see if there is a more lightweight option. If not, try to cut elsewhere to make it.
4. Install a caching / optimization plugin
- I suggest this as one of the last steps for two reasons.
- First, because turning on a plugin for the first time is usually not the best improvement. Finally, because a plugin may encounter problems that you really need to address.
- I usually recommend WP Rocket for small blogging operations. However, what is ultimately the best thing for your site, however, depends on many factors – including what other measures you are taking to optimize it.
- Also, know that every optimization plugin is slightly different. I found some overlap of them, as well as special features for a plugin.
- It is important to weigh all of these factors because optimization plugins often collide.
Pro tip: Do not log in to the post editing screen until actively working.
Autosave of WordPress blocks your database. WP Rocket or Autopoise can help clear your database if they set up correctly. Getting used to logging out can help a lot – no plugin needed.
5. Get your site on CDN
Putting your site on a CDN like Cloudflare can give a performance boost and help you give WordPress tremendous momentum. But, save it for last. With the caching / optimization plugin, CDN can give you enough to promote masking issues that need to be addressed.
CloudFare’s free plan is sufficient for small blogs.
Still struggling with site speed?
If you want to try to tackle slow site issues on your own, the tips in the “Speed 201” section of this post are a great place to start.
Want a fast site in just 7 days – at a fraction of the cost of professional website optimization? Our 7 days for the Speeder WordPress website program is exactly what you need.
For less than $ 100 – including premium plugins – we’ll guide you through a handful of the biggest (but simplest!) Site speed wins.
Every day, for seven days, we send you detailed, step-by-step instructions on what to do and how to do it. This is a definite, technical, how-to course. This is a task that helps you speed up WordPress by answering two questions:
What should I do to help my slow site?
How can I do this without getting into technical junk?
Help visitors stay around your blog starting today. Now go to the 7-day Speedier WordPress website program.
Why is my website slow?
You have done a site speed test and found that your load time is very slow. (If you don’t know how to do a site speed test, I’ll explain later in this post).
There may be several reasons why your site’s load time is short. This can be anything from server load time to image size to the number of redirects you have.
This means that there is a whole set of steps you need to take to improve page speed. We will look at 20 of them. But before you start troubleshooting to improve website performance, you need to have something to aim for.
Let’s take a look at what is considered a good load time to get you something to shoot.
What is a good page load time?
- Before you start working on the speed of your site, it is a good idea to set a goal for where you want it.
- This can be difficult if you are not sure what acceptable page speed is.
- According to Google, the best practice is for three seconds. Unfortunately, according to its recent benchmark report findings, most sites are not close to it.
- In an analysis of 900,000 mobile ad landing pages spanning 126 countries, Google found that 70% of the pages analyzed took about seven seconds above visual content for display.
- Of all those industries, none of which had an average of three seconds close to their recommended best practice.
The average time to fully load a mobile landing page is 22 seconds, but if the mobile site takes more than three seconds to load, 53% of visits are skipped.
Also, it takes one to ten seconds for the page to load, increasing the mobile user’s chances of bouncing by 123%.
This means that site owners, in general, have a lot of work to do to equalize their sites in the eyes of Google.
As you improve your site, you can use Google’s recommendations and benchmarks to set your goals and measure your performance.
After all – as the largest search engine in the world, Google can have a major impact on your success. Therefore it is never a bad idea to use their standards as their standards.
How to speed up your website in 2020
There are many factors that affect how long each page of your site loads, so there are several different steps to increase your speed and improve the user experience.
- In this post, we will use more than 20 tips and best practices that you can use to reduce your load time and improve the performance of your site.
- And if this number seems excessive – don’t worry.
- While all these tips can help you improve the speed of your site, you do not need to do all these today.
- In fact, if you have worked on the speed of your site in the past, your site may already conform to some best practices.
With this in mind, let’s get started.
Speed Up Your Website
4. Minimize HTTP requests
According to Yahoo, 80% of the web page’s load time is spent downloading different parts of the page, such as images, stylesheets, and scripts.
An HTTP request is made for each of these elements, so the more on-page component, the more time it takes to render the page.
The first step to narrow down your requests is to find out how much your site currently uses as a benchmark.
If you use Google Chrome, you can see how many HTTP requests your site makes using the browser’s developer tools.
Right-click the page you want to analyze, and click “Inspect”, then click the “Network” tab. (If you don’t see the “Network” tab, you may have to expand the Developer Tools sidebar by dragging left to left.)
The “Name” column shows all files on the page, the “Size” column shows the size of each file, and the “Time” column shows how long each file takes to load.
In the lower-left corner, you will also see the number of total requests made by the site.
Reducing the number of requests will speed up your site, check your files and see if any are unnecessary.
You may not notice anything immediately, but some of them are prime candidates for a combination – which we will get to in the next steps.
5. Minimize and Combine Files
These are extremely important files because they determine the presence of your site.
They also say that your site increases the number of requests a user visits each time.
You can reduce this number by “reducing” and combining your files. This reduces the size of each file, as well as the total number of files.
This is especially important if you use a templated website builder. These make it easy to build a website, but they sometimes create messy code that can slow down your site considerably.
Minimizing a file involves removing unnecessary formatting, WhatsApp and code.
Since each unnecessary piece is added to the size of your page, it is important that you eliminate the extra space, line breaks, and indentations. This ensures that your pages are as lean as possible.
There are many ways to shrink and combine files, and if your site runs on WordPress, plugins such as WP Rocket greatly simplify the process.
If you have this plugin installed, go to the “Static Files” tab and check the files you want to shrink and combine.
Then, hit “Save Changes” to complete the process. You can reload your page and revisit the developer tools to see the impact of your changes.
When it comes to your website, the inclination is better. The fewer elements on a page, the less HTTP requests a browser will need to render the page – and the faster it will load.
When you shrink and combine some of your files, you can also customize the way that they load on your pages.
If your scripts load synchronously, they load once in the order they appear on the page. If your scripts load asynchronously, on the other hand, some of them will load simultaneously.
Loading files asynchronously can speed up your pages because when a browser loads a page, it moves from top to bottom.
Check the further options of “Render-Blocking CSS / JS”, using the same “Static Files” tab as the WP Rocket plugin.
Click “Save Changes”, then test your site to make sure everything loads correctly.
8. Minimize the time for the first byte
In addition to the time it takes for your page to load fully, you also want to keep an eye on the time it takes to start loading.
The time for the first byte, or TTFB, is the amount of time a browser has to wait before receiving its first byte data from the server. Google recommends a TTFB of less than 200 ms.
Unlike many front-end performance factors, most site owners focus on it, this is a server-side concern.
When a user visits your site, their browser sends an HTTP request to the hosting server. There should be three steps between that initial request and the first byte of data:
- DNS lookup
- Server processing
You can see how long this process takes for your site using Chrome’s developer tools or a third-party tool.
If you use developer tools, it is important to remember that response time can be affected by your Internet connection. So slow down your own connection, your server’s response will be slow.
To access this information in the Developer Tools, click the “Network” tab and mouse over the top item in the “Waterfall” column.
9. Reduce server response time
The biggest factor in how quickly your page loads is the time it takes for your DNS lookup.
A DNS, or domain name system, is a server with a database of IP addresses and their respective hostnames. When a user types a URL into their browser, a DNS server translates that URL into an IP address that indicates its location online.
A DNS lookup is then the process of searching for a specific DNS record. You can think of it as seeing a number in a phone book as your computer.
For example, suppose you want to go to the URL ubnt.com. You type it in your browser – but it means very little to your computer.
Your ISP will perform a DNS lookup to find the IP address associated with that URL.
10. Choose the right hosting option for your needs
Most new site owners choose the cheapest possible option for hosting. While this is often sufficient in the beginning, when you start getting more traffic you will need to upgrade. Do not skimp on your host, get one that you can trust. Here is a large set of reviews on the best web hosts.
When viewing hosting, you have three different options:
- Shared Hosting
- VPS Hosting
- Dedicated server
Shared hosting is the cheapest option and you can often get it for around five dollars per month. While this is fine for low-traffic sites, shared hosting struggles to keep up with traffic spikes and high-volume sites. And it is possible for your site to be affected by traffic spikes from other sites using the same server.
With shared hosting, you share certain resources such as CPU, disk space, and RAM with other sites hosted on the same server. Speed Up Your Website.
With VPS hosting, you still share a server with other sites, but you have your own dedicated portion of the server’s resources. This is a good option. This protects your site from everything else on your server without the necessary costs for dedicated hosting.
11. Enable browser caching
When you visit a website, the elements on the page you visit are stored in cache or temporary storage on your hard drive.
This means that the next time you visit the site, your browser can load the page without sending another HTTP request to the server.
Here’s how Teny Theurer, formerly of Yahoo, explains:
12. Reduce image size
Images can play a major role in the speed of your site. They are often very large files, which can slow down the page load time.
But removing them altogether is not an option.
Consider this: the average eCommerce website conversion hovers around 1-3%
But for some sites that number could go up to 5 percent, such as Natomounts – which sees an average conversion rate around five percent, with about 85% of those conversions on mobile.
One of the best ways to achieve your conversion rate at this level involves lots of supporting product images. In a survey, 66% of consumers said they wanted to see at least three product photos before purchasing.
This means that if you want to run a successful eCommerce site, images are absolutely essential.
This also means that image compression is important – and whether or not your site includes an eCommerce store.
You can see how a big effect image is made on any of your pages with a tool like Phatt. Run the page speed test, then look for “Content-Type Requests”.
In this example, you can see that pictures make up more than 40% of the content on the page.
13. Use CDN
Beyond the server hosting your site, you can also use other networks of servers to reduce load time for your visitors.
When your site is hosted on a server, each user who visits it sends a request to the same server.
This means that when your site experiences a high level of traffic, the time it takes to process each request slows down the load time for all of them.
When you consider that high-traffic time typically presents a ton of growth potential for your business, this is far from ideal.
Also, for users who are physically far away from your server, the load time is longer because the information has more distance to travel – even when you are not experiencing a lot of traffic.
A CDN, or content delivery network, can help you eliminate these problems. Speed Up Your Website
With a CDN, you cache your site on a global network of servers. When a user’s browser requests files from your site, that request is routed to the nearest server.
For example, suppose your parent server is in California but uses a CDN to host files globally. Your network might look like this: Speed Up Your Website.