Insane as that sounds, but would you believe me if I tell you that 53% of your visitors leave your website when it takes more than 3 seconds to load on mobile devices?

Which is why, if you need higher conversions for your online business, it’s not an option that you need to speed up your website.

Currently, Google is using speed as among it’s top ranking factors to rank web pages on SERPS.

Which means the chances of your slow website appearing on the first page of Google, for a certain keyword are veery slim.

Why? Let me elaborate.

If your site takes too long to load more users are likely to leave your site before it fully loads.

The result will be a bounce rate.

Bounce rate is a bad signal to Google. High bounce rate will impact your site’s  UX (user experience). Literally, Google highly penalize websites with a bad UX

 It will assume that if more users barely wait for your site to load or spend less time in your website probably your web page isn’t the right one for its users. 

Leave alone Google, honestly speaking, would you wait to browse a slow website? You will immediately leave the site, right?

Even when you had planned to purchase an item from that website you wouldn’t. Reason being, it’s slow.

The high loading time of your website not only make you lose traffic, but also causes less conversions for your online business.

Amazon for example reveals that for every second of delay, their conversions were down by 7 %, which is equivalent to 2.5 million dollars in losses per year.

Another research by Kissmetrics says that if a user left your website because it’s slow most likely he will go to your competitor instead.

If you want to boost your web traffic and skyrocket your online business’s  sales then spare your few thirty minutes speeding up your WordPress site.

How long should your site take to fully load

15 years ago, in 2006, 40% of users left a website because the page took more than 4 seconds to load.

Today, for an average user, more than 2 seconds of waiting is too much.

Surely those who already surfed the internet 10 or 15 years ago have waited patiently for minutes to load a web page (and without questioning).

Well, this is over, for better or worse now depends on literally seconds, and even hundredths of a second so that our user experience is very positive or very negative.

Google advise it’s users to make sure that their site take less than 3 seconds. Anything more, will surely have a negative impact.

For myself I would recommend to make sure that your site takes an average of 2 seconds. That’s the best loading time for better conversions.

How to analyze and improve the loading time of your website

Does it take too long to load your website?

If so, calm down.

There are many ways to lighten your website and get better loading times.

Your users will thank you, and Google will love it.

But first of all, I will teach you how to measure and analyze the loading speed of your website with the tools that are available. For our case we’re going to use an amazing tool from  Google known as the Google PageSpeed  Insights.

(https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/)

Although, there other great tools that help you do the same. Here are the best three of them.

Once we have detected those elements that slow down our website, we will proceed to eliminate those that do not serve and lighten all the others.

All of which, preserving the appearance and quality of the web page.

So go head to Google Page Insights and enter your site’s url.

Usually, this tool produce your site’s speed performance from a range of between 0 – 100 values. The more your site’s performance approach 100 the better.

Down  the results page, there are a number of recommendations that Google gives me in order to have my site load faster.

These are exactly what we’re going to fix 

Nevertheless, if your site score a good score of between 65 – 80 it doesn’t mean you should get obsessed trying to attain a perfect score of 100.  

1.Minification

Minification is a speed optimization technique whereby you reduce the size of your web file by getting rid of white spaces, line breaks and comments in a source code.

Usually these special characters are useless to a machine.

By minifying your JS, CSS and HTML codes you reduce the weight of your website. 

This takes less time for the web browser of the user to load your website thereby saving more time. 

To learn how minification works, here is a stylesheet before it was minified and after minification.

As you can see a web browser does not need to read the characters in that HTML file time to properly interpret it to it’s user. 

Minification is always the work of your web developer but if you are those technical marketer who does everything on your own, using a WordPress plugin can help you get it done in matters of seconds.

W3 Total Cache is a great option which can help you Minify your code.  However, minification can easily break your site. So I would therefore advise you to take a backup before running the process.

2. Remove the render blocking resources

The render blocking resources are static files that are essential to the processing and rendering of a web page.

There those that are critical and there are non critical render-blocking resources.

Usually the web browser treats everything found in the <head> section of  HTML as render blocking. This includes CSS stylesheets and JS files found at <head> section.

If the web browser come across a render blocking file it stops downloading the rest of the web files until these critical files are fully loaded where the rest of rendering is stopped causing a delay in loading a webpage fully.

Fixing the render- blocking resources will help you shorten the critical rendering path thereby reducing the web page loading times.

There are two best practices of solving the impact of render-blocking resources.

You can either defer their download by using the “async” attribute or else you can fix it by minimize the total number of those resources using techniques such as bundling.

Using plugin like W3 Total Cache you can easily fix the issue. If you want to learn more on how you can do it, this article from Bloggerkenya  has taken care of you.

3. Optimize your images

Usually, a web page will contain several photos.

We must imperatively ensure that every one of the pictures on our website is appropriately optimized to weigh as little as possible.

Optimizing a web image for better speed performance is vital. You wouldn’t believe that web images take up the largest portion of a website.

To appropriately optimize your images for high speed performance you need to compress them, scale them and enable the lazy image loading.

Compression helps you reduce the image size even upto 80% in which you can do it using two methods. The obvious one which is using a plugin or using the online compressing tools.

Here’s a list  of plugins that can take care of your images without even affect their quality.

Another way of optimizing web images is enabling the lazy image load. 

Although, the latest version of WordPress enables this by default. So you do have to worry about this.

4. Page Caching

Page caching refers to saving of the web files to be reused later when needed.

When you enable caching in your site it saves the time that the web browser would have used to send the http requests to the server in order to avail the website to the user.

What happens is that, when a user visits your site, a static copy of your site is automatically saved on their web browser.

When they want to visit your site again, the browser will load the cached version of your site that was stored in their web browser.

Which implies that the browser does not necessarily need to send the http requests to the server where your site is hosted in order to render your website to the user.

A powerful plugin known as WP Rocket ( although it’s a premium plugin) is a great plugin that deliver the best results. 

If you are just starting out and definitely are on a tight budget don’t worry. There are also a number of free caching plugins that will significantly pull up your site’s speed performance.

Personally, I recommend W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache.

5. Use a CDN

Serving your site’s assets from a Content delivery network (CDN)  is also a superb way to make your site wickedly fast.

What happens when you use a CDN is that it brings your site closer to the user.

This technology makes static copies of your website and distribute them all over the globe across a network of proxy servers. Such that if your site’s server is far from the user, a CDN server loads the nearest copy of the website instead.

Take for example my site is hosted by a company whose servers are located in the USA. Then here is the user from Australia . If my site isn’t using a CDN, obviously my site will delay some few seconds or milliseconds before it loads.

Reason being, the huge distance between the server  and the user worth the delay.

The solution, it’s using a CDN.

A CDN not only make your site faster but also improves your site’s security performance.

In case of traffic spikes which may cause a burden to your site’s server a CDN relieves the server the burden by loading both the dynamic and static files to avoid any chance of downtime. 

If by chance your site experience a DDoS attack a CDN is responsible for handling these mitigations on their edge servers. Cloudflare which is among the best CDN providers globally is reputable of owning powerful custom protocols to handle the mitigations. 

If you are in love with images and custom fonts and still want a great speed performance for your site using  a CDN wouldn’t be an option.

6. Upgrade to a better web hosting plan

The hosting where we host our website will be a determining factor to have an acceptable loading speed that allows us to have proper positioning and user experience.

We must avoid falling into a trap of accommodation with meager prices since over time we will have to change servers.

A quality hosting is necessary so that the performance of your website is adequate.

Preferably you must be in the same country to which the web is directed. 

As the size of your web traffic escalate you essentially need to upgrade to a hosting plan that can handle its traffic. If you were using a shared plan and there your site is having a noticeable traffic growth you would probably think of migrating your site to a VPS type of hosting.

And if it’s beyond VPS prepare to spending an extra dollar for advanced resources from either dedicated hosting packages or managed web type of hosting. 

As always I like to give you other options to not fall into favouritism.

I am lucky or unfortunate to have worked with a multitude of suppliers.

Others that provide excellent service and good value for money are Siteground and Webempresa.

Choose the one your website will be on a quality, secure, optimized, and robust server.

7. Compress your site into gzip format

Reducing the size of your web files is another way of making your site weigh lighter for better speed performance.

Gzip compression is indeed a fantastic way of achieving it. 

Gzip is a technological software that is used to compress and unzip your web folders for faster transfer between the browser and the server.

This is how the gzip compression helps reduce the loading speed of your website.

If your site uses the gzip compression, the time it will take for your web files to be transferred from the server to the browser is less since the compression version of your site is smaller in size than the uncompressed one.

Let me give you a real life example that will resemble GZIP compression.

Say for example you want to send a PDF copy to your friend of 570mb through email. 570 MB of a document is actually a big file to transfer, and you’ll have to spend a couple of minutes for the transfer to complete. 

What if you compress it into a zip folder? Definitely, the file size of your document will reduce significantly thereby reducing the time of transfer.

That’s exactly the same technique implemented by Gzip to ease transfer of your web files between the server and the browser.

To use gzip in your site there are two methods of going about it.

  1. The obvious one – using a plugin.
  2. Editing your . htaccess file. 

For the plugin Method, the caching plugins such as W3 Total Cache makes everything simple.

If you already have the plugin just move on to your site’s dashboard, hover on ‘performance’ then ‘browser cache’ . Go ahead and check the ‘enable http compression’ check box.

The second method is a bit technical and if you don’t have any web management skills I wouldn’t really recommend you to do it. Since this option is very risky and you can easily break your site. 

Instead, I would highly advice you to contact your web hosting company and ask them to fix it for you. Most web hosting companies are very supportive and they surely can’t dismiss your request.

8. Reduce the usage of third-party codes

A third-party code is a script of code that you add to your site but is hosted on a different domain.

For example, if you are running  Adsense ads in your site you will be needed to add script into your site to display ads.

The code is placed in your site but it will be loaded from a different DNS server.

Third party codes are also a hindrance to a better page speed performance and to solve it you need to identify the string of code that’s making your site not to load faster enough.

One simple way of doing it is by using the Google Speed Insights. Once you’ve ran your test you’ll see a recommendation from their reports about the third-party codes.

Now you are aware of which third party codes are blocking the whole thread. And the fact remains, you need to optimize them for better performance.

Nonetheless, boosting the performance of these codes which are logically hosted from someone’s else server isn’t a simple task. This is because you are not in a position to rewrite or edit the script.

But don’t give up yet, there are still some tricks to curb this challenge. 

You can either use the ‘defer’ or ‘asyc’ attributes to your JS files and still improve the performance of your website.

Let’s see what this’s all about,

By adding the ‘asyc’ attribute, it tells the browser not to block the parsing of the html document while it loads the JavaScript and only hold the parsing of html while executing the JavaScript file.

The ‘defer’ attribute usually appears to work more better than the latter. In this technique, it tells the browser to continue to loading the HTML scripts and only execute the JavaScript while the parsing of HTML is done.

I would further recommend you minimize the use of third party code. If at all the codes are not so vital to your site in terms of how it effects the conversion of your users its better you get rid of them.

9. Clean up all the irrelevant plugins and inactive themes

Do still have themes and plugins that you don’t need? 

It would worth it if you get rid of them. As a matter of fact the inactive plugins and themes will always add weight to your website, and the heavier your site is the chances of being slow are high.

This is because they will increase the number of http request made across the server by the web browser of the visitor’s device. 

Well then, if you don’t need a plugin or you recently switched your them, its better of delete the inactive theme or the plugin that you don’t need.

10. Accelerated Mobile Pages ( AMP)

AMP is an open source web framework that is designed to render blazingly fast web pages to mobile users.

It is a project that is highly endorsed by Google to give its users a better which is why a number of sites are already using AMP for an excellent speed performance. 

From search results this is how websites that use AMP look like. 

Since AMP uses a simple framework, it stripe down a number of codes that would probably be making your site slow. Apparently, AMP does not support JavaScript and only uses streamlined CSS. 

Which means you will be ready to give up some several features in your website such as subscription forms and some fancy features for your blog. 

But if speed is your priority for better seo rankings using AMP will definitely improve your site’s speed. 

And what you need is installing the AMP WordPress plugin which will take care of everything that you need to enable AMP in your webpages.

Wrapping up

Page speed optimization is essential if at all you need high traffic and better conversion. 

The above metrics helped me drastically boost my website’s speed performance from 10 seconds to 2.2 seconds. That’s a great improvement. 

So, the tips work. Just take each step by step and if they don’t work, my dev team and I are here to help you. It could probably be something else that needs a more technical outlook.

Now, my question is what is the loading speed of your WordPress site. I would like to hear from you and see how I can personally help you.

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