Are you getting the sales that you would like from your WordPress website? One of the ways you can improve your conversions is to speed up page loading times. People expect seamless performance from any website they interact with these days and are quick to click next on the search results if they become frustrated with your user experience.
Measure website page load time
You may not think about website page load time for your business, but think about when you browse the Internet, do you give up easily on websites that take time to load? If the answer is yes, make sure that your website loads as quickly as possible to keep people browsing and buying.
The first thing that you need to do is measure your page load time with tools like:
Gtmetrix gives you an indication of how well your website is functioning. It shows you both PageSpeed and YSlow (Yahoo’s speed test) scores and then breaks it down even further to show page size, load time and the number of requests used to load the page completely.
Use it regularly to track the performance of your site and if the changes you are making to speed up your load times are working.
Pingdom speed test is very visual like Gtmetrix and a great tool to help you boost the loading speed of your website. One of the major differences is that the rating given to your site is not independent, instead, it’s a comparison between you and the other sites that Pingdom has tested. Pingdom gives you actionable tips to improve speed. For example, you can see what percentage of content is making up load time. In most cases, images that are not compressed or sized for the web cause WordPress and other content management systems to slow down.
Google page speed insights work a bit differently. It will evaluate the content of a page and tell you how you can adjust areas to speed up the website load time. It considers both desktop and mobile and will allocate a score out of 100 for each. Remember Google places a lot of importance on mobile for page rankings so take note of this as well. Google has also developed a simpler mobile website speed tool for business owners.
What is optimal website page loading time?
Ideally, your WordPress website should load less than 5 seconds if its fast. This takes into account everything being fully loaded. The key is to keep the content on the page small in size and to remove elements that are cumbersome to load. By doing so you can maximise your WordPress speed to capture sales or greater interest in your business.
Why is your website slow?
It is usually a combination of things that cause your website page load time to lag, but some of the biggest culprits include:
1. Your websites theme: if you are using a theme that is “heavy” that has larger than normal files, or a lot of requests before loading, your page load time can be slower than desired. Interactive elements to a page or several sliders can look nice, but their purpose is taken away when they buffer too long or load slowly on your WordPress website.
2. Installed plugins: outdated, badly coded or incorrectly configured plugins could be slowing you down. Get rid of anything that you are not using and if you add any plugin, check your load speed after it has been installed. Some WordPress plugins are heavier than others, and some may conflict.
3. The speed of your server: the speed of your web host server can make a difference, but change this after you have optimised your site every other way. There are other things you need to consider with your host that are significant like the level of support they provide, site performance and downtime for instance, before making a change.
4. Image size: reduce or compress images before loading them to your site because large image files take time to load and are not necessary for your WordPress website.
5. Database bloat: unneeded data can hang around in your database after files are deleted such as plugins. Clean these out and you can speed up your page loading times.
How to speed up website page load time?
1. Web cache: A web cache allows your website to present popular content without the need for the request to go to the server and this reduces page load time. Content that is originally downloaded from the server gets stored in the cache according to rules that are decided by you. Remember to clear the cache if you are updating a page or your website.
2. CloudFlare CDN: If you add CloudFlare CDN (content delivery network) to your site you join the network that uses CloudFlare’s data centres around the world to route websites traffic. The advantages of this include:
- Content is cached: CloudFlare caches content to be delivered to the server closest geographically to the user. This improves your page load speed, lowers the use of bandwidth and reduces the load on your server, commonly referred to as CPU (central processing unit).
- Easily available: because there are numerous servers in the network, if one fails requests are simply routed to another close by.
- Better security: CloudFlare will identify and block threats before they reach your website. However, for a WordPress website, we do recommend you take extra security steps and don’t rely solely on CloudFlare.
3. Use a tool to compress images: If you are not a Photoshop wiz or have many images on your site that need to be compressed, use a tool like Tinypng or Tinyjpg to simplify the task. Some people also find uploading images to a social media site like Facebook will compress the files for you. So you can save them for the web here too if need be.
4. cPanel website page load settings:
Check your PHP version: PHP 7 will ensure that your site runs fast and secure but not all hosts support it – check with your host before upgrading. Also be mindful that some plugins and themes may not be compatible with a higher PHP version.
Use the compress file settings: You can compress files within cPanel to help fasten your network.
5. Great website speed plugins for WordPress
Before installing a new plugin for cache, remember to backup your website.
- Perfmatters: works well with caching solutions and helps you easily disable WordPress options that are unnecessary. It also allows you to stop plugins loading unnecessary code.
- WP Fastest Cache: easy to set up and configure your cache.
- WP Super Minify: combines HTML, CSS and JS files and compresses them. Be careful that there are no conflicts with your theme or plugins.
- WP Smush.it: removes unnecessary bytes from images while compressing them. However, it’s always best to avoid using a plugin to compress a large image size, as your site will still be slow. This is why saving images for the web or compressing them before loading them to your website is so important.
6. Simplifying sites to improve speed: Websites don’t need to be complex. The idea is to engage customers and convince them to interact with your brand in some way – by buying a product or booking a service for instance. To do this you need clear information that encourages actions.
If your site is too complicated you may be losing customers because of slow load times or confusing content. Google says most sites lose 50% of their visits when their website is too slow.
7. AMP (accelerated mobile pages): AMP is a Google/Twitter project. The purpose is to create pages that are very fast to load, this is done by reducing the HTML on a page so that the load time is greatly reduced. AMP pages are technical in nature, even with some WordPress plugins existing. Speak to our web development team for assistance.
Reduce your website page load time today
Begin the process of speeding up your page load times by testing your site so that you have a starting point. Use our suggested optimisations to help you and remember to test after each adjustment to keep track of your progress.
If you need help because all of this is a little beyond your comfort zone, talk to us at LYF Solutions about how we can help you capture more online sales.