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How to Speed Up Your WordPress Website

Google has been using site speed as a ranking factor for desktop searches for several years. Google started rolling out a “Speed Update” algorithm change on 7/9/18. This means that site speed is now a ranking factor on mobile search. Over 50% of Google searches occur on mobile, so this is likely to be very impactful. Learn how to speed up your WordPress website in this presentation.

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How to Speed Up Your WordPress Website

  1. 1. How to Speed Up Your WordPress Website
  2. 2. Download slides at https://pamannmarketing.com/slides 2 Download Slides https://pamannmarketing.com/slides
  3. 3. Download slides at https://pamannmarketing.com/slides 3 Why Speed Up Your Website? • Google has been using site speed as a ranking factor for desktop searches for several years. • Google started rolling out a “Speed Update” algorithm change on 7/9/18. • This means that site speed is now a ranking factor on mobile search. • Over 50% of Google searches occur on mobile, so this is likely to be very impactful.
  4. 4. Download slides at https://pamannmarketing.com/slides 4 Why Speed Up Your Website? Even before this algorithm update, we noticed correlations between site speed and rankings
  5. 5. Download slides at https://pamannmarketing.com/slides 5 Why Speed Up Your Website? Having a fast-loading website also helps insure that users won’t bounce away from your website because it took too long to load.
  6. 6. Download slides at https://pamannmarketing.com/slides 6 Why Speed Up Your Website?
  7. 7. Download slides at https://pamannmarketing.com/slides 7 How Do I Test My Site’s Speed? Tool Tests for Benchmarks to aim for Settings to use Google PageSpeed Insights The presence of page speed optimization best practices Minimum: 80 Mobile / 80 Desktop n/a WebPageTest.org Total page load time Minimum: “First Interactive” less than 3 seconds Ideal: “Fully Loaded” less than 3 seconds Dulles, VA, USA (Desktop, Android, iOS) Cable (5/1 Mbps 28ms RTT) 3 Test Runs First View Only GTMetrix.com Total page load time Minimum: “Onload” less than 3 seconds Ideal: “Fully Loaded” less than 3 seconds Dallas, USA Chrome (Desktop) (Sign up for a free account to be able to specify settings and view onload timings) Lighthouse Mobile page speed (3G connection), presence of page speed optimization best practices Minimum Performance Score: 60 Ideal Performance Score: 75 Use this URL to run the test: https://www.webpagetest.org/lighthouse (Don’t run in dev tools in Chrome as that’s too dependent on your own computer’s hardware speed) Google Analytics Average page load time and server response time over time Ideal: Monthly average page load time of 3 seconds or less Ideal: Monthly average server response time of 200ms or less Set date range to Last 30 Days. Behavior -> Site Speed -> Overview (use dropdown at top to switch between Avg. Page Load Time and Server Response Time) (use a custom segments to view mobile and desktop traffic separately, as well as US traffic only if it’s a US client) Note: Watch for single-day spikes that skew the monthly average.
  8. 8. Download slides at https://pamannmarketing.com/slides 8 How Does Site Speed Work? There are two categories of things that can impact site speed: Hardware Factors Site Assets The speed of the physical server that the website is hosted on Code, imagery, scripts, database, etc. StickerMule.com < >
  9. 9. Download slides at https://pamannmarketing.com/slides 9 Hardware: Hosting Your hosting plan might be the culprit of a slow-loading site. Good Bad • FAST Managed WordPress Hosting, like LiquidWeb* or Flywheel* • VPS (Virtual Private Server) • Dedicated Server • Cheap Shared Hosting Plans *Affiliate links
  10. 10. Download slides at https://pamannmarketing.com/slides 10 Hardware: Server Response Time Ensure that your “server response time” a.k.a. “time to first byte” is around 200ms or less on desktop and 600ms or less on mobile. TTFB is typically dependent upon hosting resources, but it can be affected by on-site resources as well (plugins, scripts, database, number of http requests, etc.).
  11. 11. Download slides at https://pamannmarketing.com/slides 11 Site Assets: Themes & Page Builders The use of WordPress themes and page builders has an impact on speed as well. A poorly-coded theme or a page builder that generates bloated code can cause page load time. We recommend that whenever possible, sites are built with speed-conscious theme and page builder providers like Astra, GeneratePress, and lean page builders like Beaver Builder or Elementor. Good Bad • Astra Theme • GeneratePress Theme • Avada Theme / Fusion Builder • Beaver Builder Page Builder • Elementor Page Builder • Site Origin Page Builder • WPBakery (formerly known as Visual Composer) • Multi-purpose themes (themes with more features than you need) • Poorly-coded or bloated themes
  12. 12. Download slides at https://pamannmarketing.com/slides 12 Site Assets: Plugins Plugins, while useful and convenient, can slow site speed significantly by loading unnecessary files and scripts on every page of your site. Plugins that are activated but not in use should be deactivated and removed. Poorly coded, slow loading, or no-longer-supported plugins should be replaced with newer, better alternatives. Plugin Advice Deactivate all unnecessary plugins Ensure that there isn’t more than one plugin for a single function (e.g. two SEO plugins) Only use plugins that are actively supported (updated within the last year) Only use plugins that are verified to be compatible with the current/latest version of WordPress core
  13. 13. Download slides at https://pamannmarketing.com/slides 13 Site Assets: Caching Caching pre-processes the code needed to create website content and stores the already-processed version in memory to be served up to a user faster than if the server had to execute the code manually every time a request comes in. Image source: https://www.liquidweb.com/blog/caching-options-for-optimizing-your-vps/
  14. 14. Download slides at https://pamannmarketing.com/slides 14 Site Assets: Caching Caching Advice Properly implement and test a well-supported caching plugin (i.e. WP Rocket, W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache, or Swift) Utilize server-level caching if possible (e.g. Varnish Cache) if available through the hosting company
  15. 15. Download slides at https://pamannmarketing.com/slides 15 Site Assets: Compression & Minification Compression and minification decrease file sizes by removing unnecessary spaces, line breaks, and comments from JS and CSS files. Removing unnecessary data and compressing the result reduces the overall file size, thus allowing the data to load faster in the browser. Image source: https://www.keycdn.com/support/how-to-minify-css-js-and-html/
  16. 16. Download slides at https://pamannmarketing.com/slides 16 Site Assets: Compression & Minification Compression & Minification Advice  Properly implement and test a well-supported compression and minification plugin (e.g. Autoptimize), or use a caching plugin that supports this functionality (e.g. WP Rocket), resulting in no on-domain minification or compression errors displayed on Google PageSpeed Insights
  17. 17. Download slides at https://pamannmarketing.com/slides 17 Site Assets: Reduce HTTP Requests Every time a user visits your website, HTTP requests are made to the server. Reducing the number of HTTP requests made to your server allows the page to load faster. Image source: https://blog.cloudflare.com/http-2-for-web-developers/
  18. 18. Download slides at https://pamannmarketing.com/slides 18 Site Assets: Reduce HTTP Requests Reducing HTTP Requests Implement compression and minification plugins (or use those features in a caching plugin like WP Rocket), resulting in no on-domain minification or compression errors displayed on Google PageSpeed Insights Minimize the number of third party scripts on the site as much as possible (e.g. social sharing buttons.) These scripts call upon outside resources, adding to the number of http requests Serve as many third party tags, scripts, and pixels as possible through Google Tag Manager, instead of embedding them directly on the site. Only fire tags when they are absolutely needed. Serve static thumbnail previews for YouTube videos instead of the full embed. Some caching plugins like WP Rocket support this, and plugins like WP YouTube Lyte can also provide this functionality.
  19. 19. Download slides at https://pamannmarketing.com/slides 19 Site Assets: Image Optimization Utilizing appropriate image file dimensions can significantly reduce page load time, which contributes to overall site speed. Don’t upload a 4,000px wide image… …to fill a 40px spot
  20. 20. Download slides at https://pamannmarketing.com/slides 20 Site Assets: Image Optimization Compressing images removes unnecessary metadata (information on date taken, camera used, etc.) and makes the file size smaller, while the image looks the same to the user. Don’t upload a 4MB uncompressed image… …when you can upload a 40kb image that looks exactly the same.
  21. 21. Download slides at https://pamannmarketing.com/slides 21 Site Assets: Image Optimization Image Optimization Advice  Properly size image file dimensions for the size that they are actually displayed on the site, resulting in no “Serve Scaled Images” errors on GTMetrix. (For example, don’t upload a 4,000px wide image for an image element that will only be displayed as 400px.)  Reduce image file size by compressing the image before or upon upload, resulting in no “Optimize image” errors on PageSpeed Insights.  Have a plugin in place to automatically compress future images upon upload (e.g. EWWW Image Optimizer.)  Lazyload images so that below-the-fold images don’t load until they are needed. Some caching plugins support this, and separate plugins like BJ Lazy Load exist for this purpose as well.
  22. 22. Download slides at https://pamannmarketing.com/slides 22 Site Assets: Database Optimization A site that has been around for awhile will naturally have old post revisions, shortcodes, and other files that prevent the database from functioning quickly. Database Optimization Advice Periodically run (can be scheduled) database cleanups with a plugin such as WP-Optimize.
  23. 23. Download slides at https://pamannmarketing.com/slides 23 Site Assets: Defer Loading of Render-Blocking Code Websites often include CSS or JavaScript files that are required to load before the rest of the page loads. Scripts that are not necessary to load above-the-fold content should be deferred or asynchronously loaded. Render-Blocking Code Advice  Properly implement and test a well-supported CSS/JS optimization plugin (i.e. Autoptimize or Async JavaScript by Frank Goossens), or use a caching plugin that supports this functionality, resulting in no “Eliminate render- blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content” errors displayed on Google PageSpeed Insights. This may require configuring non-essential CSS to be deferred, while having critical path (above the fold) CSS load inline.  Load external fonts with Web Font Loader, or optimize the loading of Google fonts with a caching or minification plugin (e.g. Autoptimize.)
  24. 24. Download slides at https://pamannmarketing.com/slides 24 Site Assets: CDN A content delivery network (CDN) improves site speed by serving content to users from stored files on a server that is closest to them geographically.
  25. 25. Download slides at https://pamannmarketing.com/slides 25 Site Assets: CDN CDN Advice Implement a CDN solution (e.g. CloudFlare, which is free.) Allow the CDN provider to manage DNS, as opposed to using CNAME records for implementation.
  26. 26. Download slides at https://pamannmarketing.com/slides 26 Recap How to Speed Up Your WordPress Website Simple/Easy  Ensure fast hosting plan  Select Lean Themes & Page Builders  Minimize Use of Plugins & Choose Well- Supported Plugins  Install an Image Optimization Plugin  Don’t Upload Oversized Images Intermediate/Advanced  Install and Configure Caching & Minification Plugins  Defer Loading of Render-Blocking Code  Periodically Run Database Optimization  Implement a CDN Download Slides: https://pamannmarketing.com/slides

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