Website speed 

Website speed is one of the main ranking factors when it comes to website SEO. Website speed it up there with backlinks and content.

Why is website speed important.

Web experience

Website site speed optimisation is important because google wants to serve users with the best web experience. Google wants people using it’s services, so to keep people coming back, it doesn’t want to serve people with slow loading websites, because this gives a bad web experience.

Google web crawler

Google has a web crawler bot that will look at your website. The Google web crawlers bot is there to read your content, look for keywords and 1000’s or other ranking factor signals. Google only has so much crawl budget per site. So its best to have a fast loading site.

Think about only giving someone so much time to read your site, you wouldn’t give someone something to read only for them to get through the first paragraph, and not read the whole article, and this is the same for the Google web crawler bot.

This is especially important when you have a big website that has lots of products, a big blog etc. You want to give Google the best chance possible to look at all your content, your images, you video, your rich content as possible, if it were to miss something on your site this could mean the difference between a page on your site getting indexed and it not getting indexed which means it doesn’t show up in Google search results at all.

Ways to check your site speed

Google page speed insights.

www.pagespeed.web.dev/

https://www.gstatic.com/pagespeed/insights/ui/img/graphic-home-hero.svg

As usual this is a free resource from Google. As much as many people don’t like Google because of what could be deemed unethical business practices they do offer a lot of free resources, for web designers, SEO managers, people looking to do office work etc. 

Getting a 100 score using WordPress is not trivial. It requires caching the output of the finished page by WordPress either using a plugin or in nginx. Even then the output of the page might load lots of images, javascript, css and font files that lower the score. So you need to minimise the amount of those, make as many of them load in a non-blocking way, minimise and compress the files as much as possible.

Cache plugin, minify images etc server will have impact on page load times too ao make sure your hosting is upto scratch

A small step by step guide might look like:

I use Ceris theme with about 30 plugins and get 99-100 and 91 on mobile

1 – Deactivate all plugins

2 – start activating one by one with every setting optimized on cache plugins (litespeed, tinypng, etc) 

3 – optimize non essential plugins 

It was only by reading step by step guides for ideal optimization I got it sorted. Took hours tho!

Gt metrix

It’s free so it doesn’t hurt to use it

​​One way optimise your sites speed, is to use caching plugins such as WP Rocket, another way is to manually optimize your website by noting the core web vitals metrics of google.

Getting the right hosting plan

Sometimes just changing the hosting provider is enough to gain some good speeds on your site, but this all depends on how complex your site is. A simple blog with 10 posts with mostly text might get some good Google page speed insights just changing host. For the most part just changing hosts won’t be enough to speed a site to get high 90 score in Google page speed insights you’ll need to do some more work 

Content delivery network (CDN)

A CDN is a way to host your website’s content somewhere else, and this somewhere else is almost always faster than your host. We use cloudflare for most of our clients websites, they’ve been around for years and are very good for free. You have to know your way around Cloudflare’s backend if you want to use their free plan, as there is no support on the free plan. Luckily we’ve been using Cloudflare for years so know all the settings needs to get your site running at its fastest.

WP Rocket 

Although there are a ton of wordpress plugins that will help speed up your site, for us WP rocket has almost always worked well first time, with very little tweaking.

Image compression

When you save an image as jpeg in Photoshop you’re presented with the following option, a small file with high compression or a large file with low compression. Out of the box saving a jpeg with a compression of 12 does give you a small file, but I find that setting the compression to 7 gives you the best images at the smallest size.

www.tinypng.com

Once I have saved all my images I use another online tool called Tiny PNG, this might be 2 levels of compression but to be honest I’ve not done enough testing to see if there is much difference with just compressing with Tiny PNG with a jpeg from Photoshop that was set to 12 compression when it was saved and doing it twice like I do it. I’ve been compressing images like this for years and find this is the best option for getting the best quality image at the lowest file size. There might have been a time I tested and from memory I think there was a 10% smaller file size compressing with photoshop and then tinypng.

Image and design 

For faster website load times, you can just design your site with this in mind right from the start. There are plenty of times when you can avoid using raster based files such as .gif .jpeg .bmp, you can use files such as .svg .json etc. I’m sure there are more files types but I’ve only used .svg and json files on a regular basis. An equivalence .svg of the same image as a jpeg often will be single digit %’s of the jpeg’s size.

Although we’ve only gone through some of the methods that can speed up a site there is a lot more that we consider when looking at your sites speed