Speed and Performance are crucial factors for SEO
According to W3Techs, today more than 1/3 of all websites in the world (34%), use WordPress. In this regard, I turned to Mario Peshev for tips on how to optimize the Speed and Performance of a WordPress website. Mario Peshev is the owner of a top WordPress Development agency -- DevriX and one of the most influential people in the world when it comes to WordPress.
In my opinion, WordPress is the best choice for a website development platform, this is why my website uses WordPress as well. However, with few exceptions, what Mario tells us is also applicable to websites developed with other platforms.
Why the need to focus on website Speed and Performance and what do these factors mean?
The Performance of the website is the way it behaves. Is it optimized and scaled well enough to work smoothly. On the other hand, Speed is the time it takes for a page to load. It is important both for the search engine listing and user experience. Generally, the latter directly affects the former. In other words, users will flee from your website if it loads slow, which will increase your bounce rate. As a result, Google will consider your website not that useful and would not prioritize it in its listings.
Basic Speed and Performance tips for a WordPress website
Before doing any optimizations, it is important to choose a reliable hosting provider for your website. See more about choosing a “Hosting and Domain from an SEO Viewpoint“. As Mario said, “there are a lot of optimizations that should be made on a server-level”. That is why good hosting is key to the success of our website. Using a CDN, such as Cloudflare, can help us optimize our website as well.
Paying enough attention and carefully choosing a WordPress theme for the website is strongly recommended. Various themes are designed to serve multiple purposes. In order to increase its sales a premium theme, often is developed to provide acceptable appearance for the website of a hotel, an online store, and a newspaper at the same time. Therefore, the theme includes a lot of features, most of which are actually redundant and are not used. However, they load on the website and affect its performance. In his blog, Mario has described more about the risks that premium themes hide.
How fast is a fast website and can we say that it should load under 2 seconds?
Sounds good under 2 seconds, great! However, in fact, it is quite relative. There are different phases when it comes to loading and speeding a website. Those phases happen from the first request that the browser receives, to the full loading of all scripts of the website. On many websites, some of the elements load for 1-2 seconds, and visitors can interact with the website and do certain actions, but at the same time video ads, marketing automation scripts, and other tracking systems could load further 10-15 seconds in the background. So Mario’s opinion on this is:
It is good to target up to 2 seconds by the moment visitors can interact with the website.
Mario Peshev, CEO of DevriX
There are external factors that also affect the loading speed of a website. It depends on the user’s Internet speed, the browser that is used, the speed of the mobile Internet, whether the connection is 2G, 3G, 4G, or 5G when browsing from a mobile device, etc. So it is relative to say that a website should load equally fast under different circumstances.
What tools could we use to analyze the website Speed and Performance?
One tool that is of great help in analyzing the speed and performance of a website is GTmetrix. GTmetrix report gives a detailed evaluation of the performance of the website and gives suggestions on what could be improved. Another popular speed test tool is Pingdom. The Google PageSpeed Insights, on the other hand, provides informative data on both speed and website efficiency. Better yet, this tool gives us data for both desktop and mobile versions of the website respectively.
Keep in mind that the recommendations that these tools provide can be ignored in some cases. For example, when you have CDN -- CloudFlare enabled, it adds a cookie to your requests, and accordingly your GTmetrix recommendation on “Use cookie-free domains” remains low, which affects the overall score of the “YSlow” metric. After all, what matters most is the speed of the website itself. So if your website loads, for example, for 1 second but you don’t have an “A” rating below the “YSlow” metric in GTmetrix, it isn’t a big deal and it isn’t necessary to make changes. 🙂
Here are some Speed and Performance tips from me:
Here are some basic, but effective tips I can give for the Speed and Performance of a website. Use caching, there are many caching plugins, hosting providers offer caching, CDNs offer caching, so there are many options in this regard. Optimize your images before uploading them to the website. There is no need for a thumbnail, background blurred image, or the 600px by 600px post image to be 4MB. 😀 Try keeping your images below 100KB, if it could be below 50KB even better! Additionally, insert your images scaled (resized) to the size required. For example, if a block or a box requires an image of 500px by 500px, then insert either 500px by 500px or 1000px by 1000 px rather than 1264x845px. So, your image won’t need to be resized by a script every time a user loads your website.
And a bonus for the finale!
I am sharing a few plugins that I think are quite useful and can help a lot in optimizing the speed and performance of a website:
And for the fans of the video content! 😉
To find out what Link Building is all about in 2019, what is Domain Authority, what is Link Juice, and why they are important, expect the next article and video!