Page speed is the time a particular page takes to load on the internet. Some people might think that page speed and site speed are the same. However, this is not true. Site speed is actually the page speed for a number of page views on a particular site. This implies that page speed needs to be increased in order to improve site speed directly.
Page speed is calculated in either ‘page load time’ or ‘time to first byte’. Page load time is the time (in seconds) taken to download and display the entire content of a specific web page in the browser window. On the other hand, ‘time to first byte’ is the time taken by the browser to receive the first byte of any information for a specific page from the server.
Google has established the fact that site speed is one of the parameters it uses to rank pages. In addition to this, search engines are able to crawl lesser number of pages for pages that are slow. This negatively affects your website’s index.
Apart from the technical aspects, page speed is extremely important for customer engagement and retention. It has been seen that slower pages lead to a huge downfall in the number of users and even conversions. In fact, research has indicated that 53% of people leave a page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
This cannot be afforded by any business in the world, especially if you are making a new beginning. Hence, we have compiled a list of ways that will help you speed up your website and leave the right impact on your prospective clients. Take a look.
Selecting the right domain and hosting service is the first step towards website development. Hence, choosing the perfect hosting plan with a professional configuration is a smart decision. Keep the following points in mind to improve your website’s speed from the server end.
Caching is the act of storing web pages to retrieve similar data locally rather than requesting from the server frequently. It exponentially helps you to speed up your website and improve the user experience. This, in turn, helps you to improve overall site performance, conversion rates, search engine rankings and save bandwidth.
If you’re looking to generate high volumes of traffic, then you must install a cache plugin on your WordPress site today. Some of the best cache plugins on WordPress are LiteSpeed Cache for WordPress, W3 Total Cache, WP Rocket, WP Super Cache and Cache Enabler.
Imagine how much time would it take for a page to load if, for every page element on your site, a new request is created. Hence, to speed this up, Keepalive was introduced. It speeds up your site considerably as it enables users to access multiple files on their browser from your server through a single request.
Keepalive actually keeps your site live. It does so by frequently checking the link between the two sides and preventing it from being broken reducing latency.
Keepalive is generally needed if the transfer rate is less than 60 Bytes per request. However, if you want to enable it, you can simply contact your hosting company and ask them to enable this feature.
Gzip is a file compression format that enables code compression on your site and improves page loading speed by 300 percent. What’s best is that now it is compatible with most browsers on the internet.
As you must have understood till now that WordPress does not handle compression. Instead, it is something that is managed on the server. However, WordPress being WordPress has few plugins like Check and Enable GZIP compression that can do this too. Also, some cache plugins also enable gzip conversion on WordPress.
Some pages like mobile pages redirect users to a different URL than entered. As an example, www.yourdomain.com is changed to m.yourdomain.com. This redirection takes time which can result in viewers leaving your site. Hence, enabling cacheable page redirects can help increase the loading speed of your site.
While it is considered best to avoid redirects, some redirects like mobile pages loaded on a different server are difficult to eliminate. These need redirecting from a different hostname. The only way to combat this is by ensuring cacheable page redirects for these links. You can do this manually or through simple plugins like Redirection plugin, Quick Page/Post Redirect Plugin and Simple 301 Redirects.
However, if the desktop and mobile versions of your WordPress site are served from the same server, we would recommend you to remove mobile redirects and operate from the same URL at both places.
Content Delivery Network or CDN is a network of web servers across multiple locations that help you deliver your content more effectively. It improves the scalability, reliability and performance of your site miraculously. In simple words, CDN stores your site data at different locations and retrieves them according to the user’s location. The closer data is, the faster is the retrieval.
CDN plays a major role in speeding up your site as the content is made accessible to a large number of people from different locations reducing server load. Some of the best WordPress CDN services are MaxCDN, Sucuri and Cloudflare.
Content elements on your site are one of the most important aspects to speed up your site as these are under your direct control. Unlike server issues, these can be handled and optimized by yourself to improve your website’s speed. Keep the following points in mind when it comes to the content elements of your WordPress site.
Google recommends websites to avoid redirect links and get rid of unwanted sneaky mobile redirects. Google takes this into consideration while ranking pages. This rule is violated whenever Google PageSpeed Insights detects that more than one redirect leads to the same landing page.
Not only this but multiple redirects also increase page loading time and hence lead to user dissatisfaction. This is because, for every redirect, a new HTTP request is made which leads to delay in page rendering. Hence, minimizing the use of redirects is the best step to improve your site performance and save your server from the extra work.
Query Strings are for dynamic resources and not for static resources. Hence, remove all query strings from the static resources on your site to make it load faster and smoother. Query Strings can be removed from WordPress by installing simple plugins like Remove Query Strings From Static Resources and Query Strings Remover.
Error 404 and 410 may be common, but these are extremely harmful if they appear on your site. They appear on your page if the link is broken or not functioning well. Not only do these errors make the users go away, they also make Google suspicious about your pages. Hence, keeping track of broken links and repairing them at the earliest is one of the best practices to avoid bad requests.
WordPress allows you to do this with the help of a simple plugin. Some of the best plugins to avoid bad requests are WordPress link checker and BBQ or Block Bad Queries.
Domain Name System or DNS maintains records pertaining to the mapping of domain names with IP addresses. Your browser is responsible for DNS lookups on the internet. It finds all resources that need a DNS lookup and waits for its completion before downloading anything. Faster the lookup faster will be the site loading speed.
We would recommend you to reduce DNS lookups by adopting steps like reducing the number of hostnames and hosting third-party resources locally. The simplest solution to speed up your site is using a fast DNS server like NS1 and Rackspace.
Whenever a page is rendered by a browser, the images are loaded first. Hence, specifying image dimensions helps browsers to load page images quicker in the required format. In case, no dimensions are specified, the browser opens images in random sizes and then reflows once they are downloaded. For image sizing, you just have to use height and width tags in the <img> element.
Sometimes, images also contain additional comments and useless colors. Hence, reducing image sizes is the best solution to avoid this for slow connections. Saving images in JPEG format really helps to reduce image size.
WordPress allows you to optimize all your images through simple plugins like Smush Image Compression and Optimization and EWWW Image Optimizer.
These are the most useful ways to speed up your website. We have covered every point in detail so that you do not have to refer many places to clear your doubts. Remember, site speed is not the only goal for a successful website. If you have a fast website with futile content, users will not stay for sure. Similarly, a powerful content oriented website that is too slow to load makes your customers go away. Hence, website development is an aspect that needs you to be alert and aware in every sphere to achieve the desired results.
Pro Tip: Always take a backup before making any changes to your WordPress site.