Most site owners know that a faster site speed will help you rank higher in Google’s search rankings. But how do you get a faster site? If you’re like most owners with a small or medium size business, you don’t know what to do if your site is loading slow enough to dock you against Google’s search. But don’t fret, you’re in luck!
At ValiusWP, we make sure that our users sites are running optimally in speed and security. We have a thorough process that we implement with all of our users and felt like we shouldn’t keep all this knowledge to ourselves.
So, if you have a WordPress site and are feeling tech savvy, here are the 4 things that we recommend to improve your site load speed:
*Before you dive into making any improvements to your site, it’s a good idea to get a baseline by testing your current site speed. In doing this, you’ll have a good idea if the changes you made actually caused any improvements to your site. For page speed testing, we recommend a tool called Pingdom Website Speed Test. Alright…now here are our recommendations!
Your host is probably the most impactful player on your overall site speed. Especially if you’re using a WordPress site and you’re on a shared hosting environment (ones that are used by GoDaddy, etc.) you should, at least, be on a WordPress optimized hosting plan. The needs of WP sites are different than other sites and your hosting configuration should be setup in a way to optimize for this. By optimizing your hosting service specifically for your WordPress site, you can shave seconds off of your site load speed. We use and recommend a WP hosting service called WPEngine. It’s a fantastic service that is designed specifically for WP sites. They are a bit expensive but in hosting, you generally get what you pay for.
CDN stands for Content delivery network. Most hosting company’s only deliver your website from one location meaning that people requesting your site from across the world experience extreme delays in your site speed. A good CDN distributes your site to their server locations worldwide and when visitors come to view your site, the CDN delivers your site from the server that’s closest to the user’s location. This can dramatically help in page load times so make sure that your hosting service uses a CDN as part of their package.
Site cache happens locally and can dramatically increase your site load speed. Caching basically means that your site content is “pre-downloaded” for visitors to your site. This helps in site speed by making it so that a user does not have to download all of your site content (images, articles, etc.) every time they visit your site. A good WP site caching plugin like WP Rocket can easily cache your site content to increase your site speed. Their plugin also offers other speed optimizations such as minification that help to further increase your page load speeds.
Most people don’t know how to optimize their site images and just as many don’t even realize that they should be optimized in the first place. But if you’re forcing your site visitors to download full sized, non optimized images, then not only are they NOT going to hang around, these images are dramatically slowing down your site. The same company that puts out WP Rocket also puts out an image optimization plugin called Imagify. This is a great plugin that will retroactively and actively optimize all your images with virtually zero loss in quality. Even if your site doesn’t have hundreds of pictures, optimizing the pictures you do have can help dramatically.
There are many other ways to speed up your site but we’ve found these four to be the simplest and make the greatest impact, even for our most novice users. By implementing even one or two, you should see significant changes in your site load speed and ultimately improved search ranking. If you need help with these, feel free to reach out. We’re happy to help!