No one has time to wait for your website to load. If your website takes more than a few seconds, the visitor will press the back button and browse the second result. It will decrease your site rankings in search engines and make your site less visitor-friendly, resulting in decreased volume and minimum profit.
That’s why it is essential to keep your website running at peak performance. A faster website means more rankings, higher visitors, and better profit.
Factors That Influence Website Performance
Here is a list of factors that influence a website’s performance in the long term.
Page Speed is a Ranking Factor
According to Google, website performance now plays a significant role in its rankings. When a website gets more bounce rate, or when more visitors hit the ‘back’ button after coming to a website, this indicates that the content is of no value to the user. So, Google decreases the ranking of that website and, in some cases, removes it from the ranking altogether.
Performance is directly linked with revenue
Moreover, a site’s performance is directly linked with its bottom-line. When a site underperforms or is slow, the visitors will abandon the checkout process. It will lead to fewer orders and, therefore, less profit for the site owners.
Tools to Check Website Speed
Here are some tools that you can use to check the page load time of your website. These tools will help you make the necessary changes to make your website fast again.
First on the list is Pingdom. The tool lets you test your website speed from multiple different server locations. It shows you the site speed, page size, and location.
GTMetrix is one of the most comprehensive page speed tools available in the market. It is simple to use. Simply enter the location from where you want to test your servers and hit run. It will show you the page size, site performance, and will even provide a grade for your website.
Google PageSpeed Tool
Last but not least, the Google page speed tool is one of the best speed testing tools in the market. It is fast, simple, and highly recommended by experts. It lets you test your website speed on desktop and mobile devices.
16 Practical Tips to Improve Page Speed & Site Performance
Below you will find all there is to know about improving website page performance. Simply go through each one of these, and you will be able to adjust your site performance accordingly. Once you are done, make sure to test your website through any of the page performance testing tools we provided above.
1. Use Cache Plugins/Tools
You can also add Redis Cache for the improved performance of your website on your cloud server. Vultr has provided complete documentation about adding Redis cache to a cloud server
2. Get CDN Service
The best way to improve website performance is with a Content Delivery Network (CDN). You can get a CDN service for free from Cloudflare. However, if you need a paid CDN service, then the cheapest one available in the market are Cloudflare, Fastly, and KeyCDN.
3. Reduce HTTP Requests to Your Server
HTTP requests can put much load on your server. These HTTP requests occur when a web browser sends requests to your server for information about a page. Your server will take the request and returns the necessary files contained on that page to the user’s browser. The fewer requests the browser makes, the faster the site loads.
You can use the Pingdom website testing tool or GTMetrix to find out how many HTTP requests your server is getting.
Usually, websites that have the following receive more requests from the users.
- When a website has more images with a heavy image size
- When a website doesn’t have CSS or JS scripts minified
- When a website has ‘render-blocking’ enabled
The points mentioned below will help understand how to solve HTTP requests problems on a server.
4. Optimize Website Images
One of the best ways to increase the site speed is by decreasing its image size. On WordPress, you can use plugins like WPSmush to increase page speed. Moreover, a reduced image size ensures a decreased page size.
5. Enable Compression
GZip Compression on WordPress ensures that your website loads fast. It reduces the Time to First Byte (TTFB) to render website pages. To check if your website has compression enabled, use this Gzip site compression tool.
You can also check the Gzip compression from your web browser. Use the Inspect element tool. Go to Network, and search for ‘content-encoding’ to see if it is Gzip compressed.
To enable Gzip compression, add the following code to the .htaccess file on your server.
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/vnd.ms-fontobject
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-opentype
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-otf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-truetype
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-ttf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/opentype
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/otf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/ttf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE image/svg+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE image/x-icon
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml
# Remove browser bugs (only needed for old browsers)
BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4 gzip-only-text/HTML
BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4.0 no-gzip
BrowserMatch bMSIE !no-gzip !gzip-only-text/HTML
Header append Vary User-Agent
You can also use a plugin like Enable Gzip Compression on your WordPress website.
Most WordPress plugins minify the coding of your website automatically. Some reliable ones are WP Rocket, WP Total Cache, and Breeze.
7. Reduce Redirects
Redirects slow you down and irritate you while doing so. The best way to reduce redirects is to remove them altogether. But you can’t remove all redirects because some are necessary for your website.
So, first, check the number of redirects your website has with a redirect mapping tool. Once you have the number of redirects available, use a WordPress plugin like ‘Redirection’ to redirect them to the right pages permanently.
Now, if any redirects are not necessary for the health of your website, remove them.
8. Leverage Browser Caching
The easiest way to do this is by adding a small code snippet to your server’s .htaccess file.
The following code ensures that the user browser keeps your website data for at least a year.
## EXPIRES CACHING ##
ExpiresByType image/jpg “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/jpeg “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/gif “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/png “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType text/CSS “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType application/pdf “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType image/x-icon “access 1 year”
ExpiresDefault “access 2 days”
## EXPIRES CACHING ##
9. Improve Server Response Time
Server response time is something that you can’t increase on your own. If your server is far away from the location of the client, then the server response will be slow. However, it involves many more factors, such as 1. Image size, 2. Minification of HTML, CSS, and JS, 3. Lazy Loading, 4. The type of Web hosting you use.
You can reduce the image size and minify HTML, CSS, and JS with plugins. But, if the problem still persists, then you will have to change the web hosting solution you currently use.
10. Use Well-Coded & Managed WordPress Themes
The best way to improve your website performance is by using a lightweight and well-coded WordPress theme. Fast WordPress themes like WP Astra, Divi, OceanWP, and few more are tested for higher performance by many hosting blogs. You can use them to create a website that is lightning fast and offers the best visitor experience.
11. Clean WordPress Database Trash
WordPress comments, deleted posts, pingbacks, trackbacks, and old post revisions remain on the server, increasing server storage space. It is better if you delete all of them from your website. You can either delete these directly from the database (you will need to use PHPMyAdmin to do that) or you can install a plugin like Wp-Sweep or Wp-Optimize.
12. Deactivate or Uninstall Irrelevant Plugins
It is always better to avoid installing many plugins on your website that you can’t manage.
However, if you have plugins that you rarely use on your website or that serve no particular function, remove them from your website by clicking on ‘Deactivate’ and then ‘Uninstall.’
These plugins can seriously hoard your website performance.
13. Disable Pingbacks and Trackbacks
Keeping pingbacks and trackbacks enabled can also put much-unneeded stress on the server.
To disable the pingback and trackback functionality, go to WP-Admin > Settings > Discussion. Now, deselect “Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks).”
14. Split Long Posts into Pages
Longer posts take more time to load, and they also decrease the retention rate. You can split long posts into pages just as Diply, Bored Panda, and many other websites do.
WordPress offers a built-in functionality to create posts into pages. Add the tag to the line from where you want to split the article. You can repeat this step as many times as you want.
15. Limit Post Revisions
There is a mix of opinions about the impact of post revisions on website page speed. However, it is always a good practice to reduce the number of revisions you keep for your posts. Post revisions can take a lot of space in the WordPress database, leaving you with little room for other data. If you have a shared server, posts revisions can create a lot of mess.
To limit the number of revisions, WordPress keeps for your articles, add this line of code to your wp-config.php file.
define( ‘WP_POST_REVISIONS’, 4 );
The code defines a limit of ‘4’ revisions for each post. It will limit WordPress only to save your last 4 revisions and discard older ones automatically.
Technologies change. Steps that are useful today may not be useful tomorrow. To stay at the top of your game, make sure you know about the latest development trends, page speed rules, and website stacks. Here are some external resources that can be of great help to you.
1. Google Developers Documentation: Page Speed Rules
2. Optimizing Page Speed – Actionable Tips For SEOs and Web Developers
3. Google page speed insights for faster performance of your website
How to improve WordPress Website Load Time for Faster Performance
PS. Speed is a factor everybody knows they need to improve but at the same time, it’s also one of the most neglected elements. It’s like eating spinach. You know it’s good for you but it’s always something for later, not for now. You have more important stuff this very moment. Don’t be like that.