When looking to improve your website there are many factors that you can focus on. Run a free SEO audit on a website like The HOTH (https://www.thehoth.com/seo-audit-tool/) and you will likely get hundreds of so called “Actions” to take.
Yes it is important to have good amounts of content on your site, yes it is important to have good quality page titles for each page of your site and yes descriptions, alt tags, headings, sitemaps, social media links and mobile friendliness are all important. In my opinion however, in todays competitive online environment the page speed and load time of your Website is probably the most important thing to fix.
You may have experienced it yourself, possibly without thinking twice, you click on a link to a site, you wait two seconds, nothing happens so you click back again.
Does your site appear quickly enough?
How do you check your Page Speed?
The first tool to visit, and the one that Google unsurprisingly puts most faith in is Google Page Speed Insights tool (https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights). It is not uncommon even today for a brand new website, built by someone selling themselves as a web designer, to completely ignore page speed and to release a site with a page speed score of 0 (100 is the maximum, 30-50 is considered OK, 70+ is good).
Another, very popular, tool is GTMetrix (http://gtmetrix.com). This one uses a couple of different systems for analysing page speed and gives a percentage score in it’s results. More importantly though it does give some good solutions to the problems it flags up!
You may have noticed that I started this section off with a bit about what Google puts faith in – and yes that does mean that it is considered as a ranking factor for Google results. If your page is faster it is more likely to appear higher in the ranking list.
Well since Google’s key job is to provide good quality results for a searchers question it makes sense that they would think that a site that is owned by someone who cares enough to make it fast is likely to be a bit better than one just thrown up on the Internet with no regard for how long it takes to load.
This is particularly true for mobile search. If a site needs to download a huge volume of images then not only are you making it difficult for the searcher to see the answer to their query but you are also costing them money by using their data allowance!
Quick Web Design Page Speed wins
The very first thing to consider is the size of your home page. If you are using a lot of photos make sure that they are as optimised as possible (use a website like compressor.io – still free at time of writing). It is nearly always pictures that make up the bulk of your page size.
With pictures, if you don’t need transparency on your pictures always, always use the .jpg format rather than .png. It is a far more efficient file format designed for high compression and jpg’s are always smaller that the same file saved as a .png
A good size of home page is generally considered to be less than 2Mb. Again it is not uncommon for new websites built by lower standard web design companies to come it at 10mb or even 20mb! Fine if you have a business class fibre broadband connection but very slow to open on a mobile device and noticeably slower than most on a laptop. Not only will Google potentially mark you down but you will likely lose visitors who are increasingly impatient!
Is WordPress slow or fast?
That’s a difficult one to answer as there are so many factors that can influence it. Out of the box, with the default theme installed and no plugins WordPress is as fast as anything. Once you start developing a theme or you install a premium theme and then start adding plugins and content your site may slow down a bit. As mentioned above, add lots of un-optimised large images and your website will slow down – in other words it’s not necessarily WordPress that is slow but WordPress websites can be a victim of the almost infinite possibilities that the platform allows.
How do I make my WordPress website faster?
If you don’t have the technical knowhow or the time or inclination to work through the error list from GTMetrix or Page Speed insights then please do give us a call or contact us from our contact page
We can put together a bespoke one-off quote to speed up your site or alternatively make a plan to work with you for the long term, always on hand to sort your regular WordPress headaches.
Businesses in Hampshire, Portsmouth, Southampton, Havant, Gosport, Sussex, Surrey or Dorset – we’re happy to pop in and see you to talk through your issues face to face. Drop us a line!