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Did you know that a one second delay in website speed decreases conversions by 7%?
But what does that actually mean?
According to Google, if I increased my website speed by 1 second…
…I would make an extra $28,464 per year!
But why does that happen?
- Most importantly… website speed is a confirmed Google ranking factor
- A one second delay results in 7% less conversions
- 40% of users will abandon a website that takes longer than two seconds to load
- 79% of people said they wouldn’t return to a site with poor performance
How much money are you unknowingly leaving on the table?
I suggest you run the numbers to find out.
Because with the few simple changes that I am going to share with you…
Anyone can increase their website speed, decrease their bounce rate and give a much better user experience.
What Will I Learn?
- 6x Free Steps To Increase Website Speed Easily
- The Ultimate Setup To Increase Your Website Speed
6x Free Steps To Increase Website Speed Easily
Increasing your website speed is easy and you can do it without spending any money!
And no matter how fast your site is right now it can definitely be made faster!
You can usually improve things without any help from a developer, you just need the right combination of-
Step #1: Test Your Current Website Speed
Before we do anything else, we need to get a benchmark of where we are right now in terms of our websites speed.
The results of this might be shocking but don’t worry, we are going to take of everything together in a moment.
First – capture data for you homepage and 2x other pages from-
Create a spreadsheet like this one (Template > File > Make a Copy)-
Once you’ve got a baseline of where you are right now.
It’s time to go to work!
Step #2: Install A Caching Plugin
If you don’t already have a caching plugin installed, install one now!
You can use the free W3 Total Cache plugin to enable caching for your blog. Just follow this guide to get it running.
It’s a quick, free and easy way to activate caching on your site and it’s really customizable.
Step #3: Optimise Your Images
Images are one of the major contributing factors to slow websites.
That’s because image files are often unnecessarily large and can be compressed to shave off huge amounts of page size.
I managed to shave 46% off my image sizes across the blog-
I use ShortPixel to reduce the size but you can also use the free WP Smush plugin as well which I used for many years.
It’s worth noting that all my images were already compressed with WP Smush before ShortPixel compressed them by an additional 46%.
But if you are on a budget, the WP Smush plugin will still do some serious compression for you and it only takes 1 click-
It might take a while, but once it’s done you will have shaved off significant page size for free!
Step #4: LazyLoad Your Images (and videos)
The next step is to lazy load all of your media.
Now if your the type of person that HATES the lazy load experience because it makes the page jump around – don’t worry.
I hate that as well!
The best free plugin for you to use here is Lazy Loader but make sure it is effective by setting it up like this-
Pay close attention to the “Include lazysizes aspectratio plugin” option that will prevent the page jumping around like crazy.
There is one problem with this solution.
If you do choose to deploy WebP images with ShortPixel, the only lazy load plugin I have found that actually works with the picture tag is WPRocket–
And that’s going to cost you a little, but that is what is powering the lazy load across this blog right now. You should checkout my full WP Rocket review to learn more.
Step #5: Set Up CloudFlare
CloudFlare is a free content delivery network that comes with a bunch of other performance enhancing features.
It’s free and integrates with W3 Total Cache, WPRocket & ShortPixel.
Configuring this tool is a little beyond the scope of this article…
So I’ll refer you to this excellent tutorial to get it setup.
I’ll just leave this here in case you are unfamiliar with content delivery networks…
Step #6: Test Your Site Again
Once you’ve made all of these changes…
It’s time to test your site again, so head back over to the tools-
These are the results I had before:
But after a lot of testing and tweaking with various combinations of different plugins…
…I was able to make some significant improvements-
Here are the headlines-
- Average page size reduced by 62% (2,262KB vs 843KB)
- Average number of requests reduced by 59% (166 vs 68)
- Average load time reduced by 41% (6.4 seconds vs 3.8)
- Average mobile Google page speed score increased by 78% (28 vs 50)
- Average desktop Google page speed score increased by 29% (72 vs 93)
All of these improvements were made with the ultimate setup that I am sharing below.
Please post screenshot of your results in the comments!
The Ultimate Setup To Increase Your Website Speed
If you follow the 6x steps above, you can increase your website speed without spending a penny and also give a better user experience and increase sales.
But if you are serious about increasing your website speed and improving your core web vitals…
…you need to invest a little bit of money.
I’ve spent lot’s of time testing different combinations of services and plugins on this blog.
This is the final combination I settled on and what is currently powering things behind the scenes on my sites to get a faster load speed-
It has a ton of features that you don’t get in W3 Total Cache like combining and optimising Google Font files.
All the way through to optimizing Google Analytics and your Facebook Pixel-
As you can see it’s easy to use and it’s jam packed with a bunch of features all focused on making your website load faster.
Take a look at my NitroPack review if you want a solid alternative.
This took images that had already being compressed with the free WPSmush plugin and then compressed them a futher 46%-
Not only that:
But you can shave an additional 25-36% off your images by clicking 2 boxes to deploy the WebP image format-
These are also compatible with WPRocket’s lazy loading feature! Double whammy!
Last Resort: Change Your Hosting
Your website’s speed starts with the foundation that your site is built on.
Tweaks and plugins can only get you so far.
So if you are serious about increasing your website’s speed, you might want to consider changing your hosting.
Especially if you’re paying less than $10/mo for your current host because your website is likely stuck on a server with thousands of other sites slowing you down.
I recently built 12 sites on 12 of the “fastest” hosts to find out who really offers the fastest Wordpress hosting.
And surprisingly, the most expensive hosting WAS NOT the fastest Wordpress hosting.
When I switched to WordPress focused hosting a few years back, I instantly shaved one second off my load time AND they did the migration for me:
There are two hosting services I’d advise you to use-
Recommendation #1: WPXHosting
They boast that they’re the fastest WordPress hosting in the world and my testing confirmed it.
They beat out much more expensive hosts in nearly every test category.
Their packages start from around $20/month and you can host 5 websites.
Plus they offer free migrations which really takes the headache out of moving host!
Not only are they the fastest Wordpress host, but they also have excellent support!
Plus who can argue with feedback like this from social media-
And WPXHosting includes a bunch of awesome features like one click backups, a staging site, free SSL AND an excellent CDN service!
Please see my dedicated WPX Hosting review for more information.
Recommendation #2: Kinsta
They are the current host of this blog.
(that may change in the future seeing as WPX Hosting won my test AND are cheaper)
It’s more expensive at $30 per month and you can host 1 website.
But most importantly they have their own server level caching solution that’s built on the Google cloud platform.
They also performed well in my Wordpress hosting test and offer things like free migrations, one click backups, a staging site, free SSL AND free CDN!
The support is top notch as well! I am constantly throwing them weird problems to solve and they go the extra mile to solve them.
They offer services like cloud storage to help reduce the amount of stored information.
Regardless of which one you choose…
You will see improvements in page load times across the board if you do.
Wrapping It Up
Your website speed is paramount to the success of your business.
Not only is it one of Google’s official ranking factors, but it’s one of your customers rankings factors as well but is a common problem in todays digital marketing–
Even a short delay could cost your businesses thousands of dollars.
On the other hand a small improvement could seriously increase your bottom line.
You’ve got 2 choices on how to do that-
- Use the 6x free steps above
- Or invest in the ultimate setup to increase website speed
If you follow either of those paths, you’ll see a drastic change in your website’s speed, your bounce rate should decrease and you’ll build a happy customer base who have no reason to leave.
And once you have taken care of that and ensured you can provide a great user experience on mobile devices and desktops…
You might want to take advantage of another confirmed Google ranking factor – HTTPS.
You have so much excellent information, and it has motivated me to pursue my long waited goal of starting a blog. However, I still feel a little unsure, so any additional tips on getting started and what to write (I know what I want to make my blog about, just unsure what to say to keep interested) would be appreciated!
I wrote a couple of posts about how to start a blog successfully you can find them below:
If you don’t know what to write about, I suggest you do some keyword & topic research.
i have shopify and need something similar to wp rocket to help.
what do you recommend to help with shopify? thanks!
Hey Bryan! Unfortunately, with Shopify, there aren’t many options available. You can add a booster plugin from Shopify, but that’s pretty much it.
Thank you so much for the valuable content! Love your page and your YouTube channel. Do you still use Serped.net for SEO tools? What about ScrapeBox? What are your thoughts on these programs?
Hey Chris! Thank you for reading my blog and following my Youtube Channel- I really appreciate it.
I don’t use them as much as I used to, but I still recommend them.
Regarding #4, The latest Wordpress has lazy load integrated into it.
Good to know – Thanks Erez!
I follow this site closely, thank you for your explanation
Thank you for reading!
Thank you for sharing all this information.
No worries, Mirza!
You are great Mathew
Really like your Content. I am gonna try this
Great news! Let us know how it goes!
My website was suffering from slow loading times and so was its online presence. But then, just when I needed it most, I found this blog!
Haha great news! How is your site speed now?
Hey. This is really good. Being a digital marketer I completely agree with everything you mentioned above. You explained everything really well. Keep the good work up :)
Anything else you would advise?
Thanks for sharing this. Wasn’t aware that speed was such a google ranking factor. Ended up using a module for my opencart website that did all in one go.
Yep – it’s a very important factor now
Great Tutorial, Thank you for sharing all this informations.
No problem Fatima – hope these tips help with your site speed.
Thank you for this article
You’re welcome :)
Thanks once again, Mathew, you have a value-laden post here full of actionable tips and advice on how to stop losing traffic and business due to poor SEO…
Each of the 6 steps can be implemented without that much of a hassle, and I am sure results will follow. I have shared this with my team and also on Facebook…
Let’s get the word out there, I for one want to maximize traffic, leads, and sales. I will use the switching of hosts as a last resort because it will not be painless, I have too many websites!
Is there some sort of package deal with a switch to WPX hosting for more websites? I would be switching 7 over in one crack…Great info and thanks again for all that you do!
Dave : )
Hey Dave, couldn’t have put it better myself :)
With regards to switching to WPX Hosting, that would be a question for their team. They are mega helpful so should be able to deal with your query quickly.
Fantastic write up. I’ve heard that you can now use Cloudflare even if you’re using Kinsta, whereas in the past they were on the list of banned services for Kinsta users.
Have you ever ran Cloudflare with Kinsta hosting? I’m curious how the Kinsta CDN compares to Cloudflare.
I appreciate ya!
I’m using Kinsta + KeyCDN + CloudFlare on this blog so… yes I have a little bit :)
Thanks for creating such amazing content. It was really very helpful. would love to read more content.
You’re welcome Sandy – there’s plenty more across my blog and in the meantime I hope this helped you reach your target load speed :)
An excellent post indeed and it still should work for most of your commenters here. As a freelance web developer of ten plus years experience I have learned a lot about site speed, coding and hosting.
I liked reading the comments left by R.Rogerson and I think he left some excellent and solid tips. However I like to go further and extol the virtues that less is most definitely more.
As a web developer I wanted to break into the blogging side of things and share what I have learned these past few years as a web developer and hopefully help out a few people in the process.
I secured myself a brilliant domain (Thought about entering it here but will leave this up to you Matt), installed WordPress on my 20i server and set about coding the theme.
At the time after launching back in march and with zero optimizations my results were as follows:
PageSpeed Score C (71%) | Yslow Score D (64%) | 8.4s Fully Loaded Time | 966KB and 60 Requests
Today though the results are as follows:
PageSpeed Score A (98%) | Yslow Score A (98%) | 1.3s Fully Loaded Time | 437KB and 26 Requests
I also ran the site for mobile on Lighthouse for Chrome and those results were even better: 100 Performance | 97 Accessibility | 86 Best Practices | 100 SEO with a 0.8s First Contentful Paint all on Mobile. Looking at it on mine its virtually instant.
As you can see quite a difference is made for just a few hours of work. I think I know a couple of things when it comes to site speed. The site has 4 plugins and a custom theme that’s only 379 KB and compare that to DIVI which is 3.12 MB.
On the blog I only have 4 plugins namely: dark mode (for eye strain), SyntaxHighlighter Evolved (to show off my code), Triberr & Yoast SEO for obvious reasons.
I have written a couple of posts on Sitespeed already but I want to give you and your readers a couple of quick overview tips.
1. WEBP – I use these on the site with a function I have coded and I use this format for my background image and favicon as WEBP is the new super small image file format developed by google themselves. For others like Logos I used to use PNG but now I use SVG’s instead (I can animate these as well as its just plain code).
2. Plugins – I use a little as possible, as a web developer I prefer to code in the functionality a plugin provides right into the theme which renders the plugin needed redundant, also as R.Rogerson has said these plugins often have load’s of JS and CSS files bloating them out.
3. – Minimize and Compress, quite obvious really why do we needs loads of CSS and JS files. I usually have just three JS files: Jquery.mini.js jquery-migrate.mini.js and what I like to call master.mini.js that handles all my other functions and I load everything into my functions.php file, the same goes with the css files like normalize, WordPress, media, style and so on. Less is more.
4. StackPath – Hands down the best CDN out there which renders all caching plugins obsolete and redundant as I have my whole site Caching on the CDN using their Full site Delivery. Ben Gabler the COO of StackPath emailed me after I tweeted about them and how impressed I was.
He explained that I could get even more speed by pointing the whole site to them and have it Caching on the EDGE and at only $10 a month its well worth it. I wrote a step by step post on how to set this up that anyone with a little knowledge can achieve in a few hours.
5. Hire a Web Developer – Yes OK, I know I am one but if you like the look of DIVI or some of those over over bloated themes out there then a good freelance developer that specializes in bespoke themes can achieve the same results that is usually a tenth of the size of the so called PRO themes and is faster than a Cheetah on white powder.
Well I hope that I have given some food for thought here Matt and if anyone needs some tips or serious advice I am prepared to help the first 3 on here that ask’s for it but please introduce me via my email.
Thanks Phillip – definitely food for thought! Will need to put aside some time to process it all. Thanks for taking the time to write all this info :)
No problem at all Matthew. I know its a lot to take in and hopefully some of your readers will find it useful. Do let me know if you implement any of these fella.
loving the blog btw.
I certainly will, thanks Phillip
Your explanation is so detailed and easy to understand, thank you, for sharing, I’m waiting for further information
No worries Agoes I hope this page was effective and helped you reduce problems with load speed without needing to change your hosting :)
If could get an extra £28k from a few plugins I would be a very happy boy.
But great info for moving forward.
Thanks for more great info
It was a magical time and a fantastic source of income for not a lot of work other than having a play around with an application or two :)
Thank you for the always excellent post.
I found Cloudflare work best with the free version of WP Fastest Cache. I am sure with premium version even better. I also use smush (free).
The website experience traffic increase once the speed increase from 3.x to 2.x seconds.
Well if you are using smush, you can reduce image file size by another 50-70% with shortpixel
Thanks for the “speed” reminder, need to recheck our sites.
Schedule an annual checkup in Gcal!
Truly, speed is the king when you’re among the top 5 on the SERP. I have faced a lot of problems because of it but still, need help with optimizing mobile speed
Yes Rahul it makes so much difference having speed on your side and you are right to focus on mobile users. A slow load will loose sooooo many shoppers on mobile devices.
Great Post. Wonderful information about site speed priority.
Thanks very much, every one needs to target their site speed metrics to be successful, whether they have an ecommerce store an seo agency or a cooking blog. :)
Hi Matthew, do you have a promotional code for ANNUAL wpxhosting? My website is non commercial, just informative and 21 USD/month is a lot to me.
Or what is the 2nd best Wordpress hosting that you recommend ? Thanks a lot
Take a look at this – https://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/blogging/fastest-wordpress-hosting/
I like this website so much, saved to favorites.
Thanks for the save I hope you can use these practices to enable a faster site speed :)
I was also reading a subject like this one from another internet site
Highlights even more then, how important it is for marketers to analyze their site speed!
wow that is cool, very nice information
Cheers! I hope you found the mentioned practices gave your sites a better user experience and lowered your bounce rate.
Nice Information for upcoming seo batch so that they can utilize in near future
Thanks Ram! Hopefully they can learn from my mistakes and reduce the fully loaded speed time!
You have so much wonderful information and has really motivated me to pursue my long waited goal of starting a blog. I feel a little unsure still, so any additional tips on getting started and what to write (I know what I want to make my blog about, just unsure what to say to keep interest really) would be really appreciated!
Follow this guide – https://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/blogging/how-to-start-a-blog/
As a local business, l found image size was a massive influence on our page speed – we had some really large image sizes in our Case Studies & compressing all these & making them jpeg (some were png) helped a lot
Hey Alison, really pleased you were able to speed your local business site up I hope this helps when serving existing and future customers! Thanks for commenting :)
im not able to get website traffic even single user on my website pls help me how i use your information properly, i tried but im not able to do that as per your recommendation.
Which part specifically are you struggling with?
Awesome piece Mat! on my favorite bookmarks. Please let us know when you update the article again in 2018.
Thanks for the bookmark Louis!
amazing content and it was very helpful and very well explained.
i am really impressed by the quality you have delivered through this blog.
great work! keep writing.It was of great help!
also click for more info on the same topic and related.
Hey, thanks very much! Thanks for the link, I’ll check it out
my website very slow . find many website . your website is best . i follow all website speed tips .
Thanks for sharing.
Hey Nitin, yes improving your speed will have a massive impact on your site!! Best of luck
This is an extremely useful and helpful article. Recommended to my friends also. Thanks for this.
Thanks very much and also for the recommendations. Come back soon
Thank you sir, you are really great. Thank a lot.
No problem I hope you found it valuable and didn’t need to change your hosting management
Nice share. Thank Matthew.
I love to using WP Rocket Plugin for optimizing site speed.
Do you have try it ?
It didnt work very well for me
A very complete post. The thing about how to optimize site speed. $ 50 per month for hosting is big enough for me, but it’s not impossible to do.
Thanks for the excellent free plugin
Well just use a CDN and caching plugin for now
Wow, super great and very detailed post about optimizing site speed. Awesome.
I don’t think that i can afford $50 per month for hosting yet, but when i do, i think i’ll also migrate (hostgator can be really slow sometimes).
And i found several awesome free plugin from this tutorial, thanks a lot!
No problem Yugni, a paid hosting management will give you many benefits with security as well as speed!
Your article is really very helpful to improve the site speed. Keep it up :)
No problem Robert! Remember to give you website a speed check scan often to help reduce the size of images and video
This is great! I’m actually in the process of working on some of this now. I’m switching hosting companies and will be using CloudFront. Max CDN was alright, but I didn’t want to pay the expensive charges.
Have you looked into possibly using Amazon S3 to host all your images? I was talking to someone recently who uses a CDN + has her images hosted on Amazon S3. Apparently has like killer load times.
Actually it is something I am considering this week :)
I’d be interested in seeing if you had to do anything special with CloudFlare. I’m about to add it to my domain but I am also interested in the Amazon S3 feature. Just not sure if there is a problem, SEO wise, with images indexing like was the problem with Max CDN.
I am not using Amazon S3, but I am using KeyCDN along with CloudFlare
Thanks for sharing information,i will check my site speed and incorporate your tips and tools into my website.
No problem Om! I hope you can have a play around with these tools/plugins and produce some effective results
….and..for experiment i installed USE GOOGLE LIBRARIES and the Pingdom showed me 1,94 seconds )))
If there are any range which is considered GOOD site speed?
My website has 15 seconds.
After i did:
Removed and deactivated the plugins i dont use
Optimized the mages..
And now my score shows different time in different system:
By Google Page Speed: 88/100 (was around 44/100)
By Pingdom: 3,36 (strange coz before it showed 2 seconds)
By other system is: Pagespeed score 95%, 3,6 seconds
By Page performance test: everything AAAAA,shows 4 seconds.
I still cannot understand if that good or i should to optimize more…all the systems shows very good score,but the loading time 3,5 seconds.
Any thoughts? Or do u think i can leave it like that ?
I’ve seen a lot worse in my time and you are probably at the point where the only other optimization you could do is to move hosting.
Looks like I need to remove Statcounter and some of the features of Sumome as they seem to take the longest to load.
All my images are run through Photoshop and saved at the correct size and ‘Saved for Web’, which strips out a load of superfluous data from JPEG images and dramatically reduces their size without affecting quality.
When I first started my website I just let the software sort out image sizes and it wasn’t til I knew a bit more about what I was doing so was able to check the sizes on the server that I realised I had uploaded images far larger than I needed, and they were resized when they were being downloaded to the visitor’s computer.
Great, informative article, thank you.
No problem Chris, glad to be of service. I hope once you remove those elements you’ll see a difference in speed metrics :)
thank for share this article Mr.mathew
I will try to implement it :)
No problem Andre. I hope these settings will give you a faster speed :)
Wow…it is really a great article on the given topics… I appreciate your writing and the way you convey to reduce the page…yeah it’s really helpful for extra money… but how they measure up the result…
No problem :)
I’m studying how to fast one of my website, and this article from you is perfect! (I read it when you posted it, but only now I needed to make these changes).
On this post the links to WPEngine are not working, I was thinking you are losing money for that, but later I read the other post about AVOID WPEngine, so probably you just deleted that affiliation.
Anyway another great article with fantastic tips, thanks a lot!
Actually, I think they deleted me haha
I’m wondering if you have found any plugins better than the ones you mention in the article that worry me due to review counts.
I haven’t had any problems with these elements myself
it is very good quality content, I really like this .. thanks
No problem, hope they helped you reduce the amount of time it takes your store to be fully loaded. :)
I want to be your student, I want study more about it.
I don’t have any students sorry but you can find lots of popular marketing articles and you can hit the subscribe button to be added to my database of followers and receive my newsletter, the odd video and future articles. =\
got rid of facebook comments and whoa! that was really slowing my site down – thanks for taking the time to put together this and all your other articles Matt
No problem Reg :)
Nice Tutorial Mathew. But Regarding the plugins.
I made a nice list in my blog. Check it out. It might be helpful.
I made the list from my experience with nearly 40 client’s websites.
So … where to start?
1) Reduce requests >> Merge files!
Most of your CSS files can be put into a single CSS file.
Same goes for JS.
You have to be careful of the order – keep files loading in the same order as they appeared in the header/body
Images can be trickier – you may opt for spritemaps, or for data-images in css files (or spritemaps in css-data-images).
2) Compression >> Gzip/Deflate
Make sure that what you send is as small as possible.
If at all possible, save compressed versions and send those. Failing that, set the server to compress them when sent.
Images can be saved with better filters.
There are sites like smush.it, or software like pngcrush you can use.
3) Optimise the resource references >> HTML it right.
Make sure images are defined with a size. Make sure you load as much JS at the bottom of body as you can.
4) Load smarter >> Use 3rd party libraries.
Both Google and Yahoo supply URLs for things like JQuery and others.
You can load them from their servers.
That means less resources from your server, plus increased chances of users already having the files cached.
Be smart, use a load mechanism that looks for good responses or that time out after a second or two – and then load a local version from your server (saves hanging and slowing your site down).
5) Ditch the bad requests >> No 404’s/301’s
Do Not reference resources that are at the wrong address. 404’s sow things down. 301’s slow things down.
This is especially true of 3rd party content, like advertisers etc. Be aware that if you are loading content from a 3rd party, they may load multiple files … so that little frame that loads from their site may load a couple of images, a CSS file or 6…
6) Asynch/Defer >> Load smarter
In many cases, you can load JS and external resources asynchronously, or in a deferred state. This means no bottlenecks waiting for them to finish loading before the next set get fetched.
Becareful – if you have dependant code that relies on other files, or values from other scripts/functions … load order may mess with your results.
7) Cache, Cache Cache >> re-use it
In most cases, content and resources won’t have changed. Making people reload all those files is silly.
Make sure things like CSS/JS/Images that haven’t changed send correct cache headers so people don’t have to re-download.
For every step you take – test, test and test again.
Refresh the page, clear out the browser cache, clear out any website cache, use proxies to test.
Try using things like gtmetrix.com, pingdom.com webpagespeedtest.org etc.
None of this is rocket science.
None of this is new.
But you could, in most cases, get your site to load in 2.2 or less seconds.
Anything over that may need more looking at.
Solid extra tips =D
Of course they are solid tips – I made them :D
A cheat option is to get the host to deploy the Page Speed Mod.
Personally, I much prefer to get hands on and make tweaks in the code, the DB and the files … but for time and quick solutions, using a server mod that handles compression, caching, conjoining files etc., it’s worth looking at.
Load Times have been semi-important for a long time.
But, like most other things – it’s not until a Search Engine mentions it that it becomes recognised.
Years ago both Google and Yahoo start talking about page load speeds.
The upshot was a bunch of half-baked SEOs bleating about PageSpeed as a ranking factor … missing that it was Slow sites that got the ranking adjustment, downwards. Fast sites did not get a boost.
Then motivators from the UX world picked up the torch, and those from the Mobile world … and it fell mostly on deaf ears … because it doesn’t increasing rankings!
There’s tons you can do to speed up your sites.
Most of the blame will lie with crummy templates bought from supposedly reputable theme sites.
The truth of the matter is that most of those designers couldn’t code their way out of a paper bag. They are photoshop jockeys that convert pretty images into html markup.
They are more than happy to leave the template with 12 CSS files, loading 2 different JS libraries (locally, no looking for 3rd parties like Googles JQ api), and then loading 15 different plugins … most of them not even used on most pages!
The next culprit is then the server setup and the CMS code.
You’d be amazed at the number of hosts that still don’t setup basic cache directives correctly.
Then you have the joy of dynamic sites with poorly considered header responses.
Things like cache control headers etc. are alien (hell, lets face it, it was about a handful of years ago that the main CMS out there acknowledged their lack of proper http responses).
Even with tools that tell you what is wrong and how to fix it (yahoo and google both made tools!), the “professionals” still don’t bother!
Great, Matt excellent post. I was reading one of your post and this post brought me to this other and I feel very happy and motivated. I’ll put your advice into practice immediately.
Good luck Walder :)
Thank you again for an excellent tutorial on a subject we all struggle with.
A quick question, does customizing the robot.txt files to exclude indexing of duplicate content like categories, archives etc… also have an impact on overall speed of the site?
Not on speed but on overall indexing!
I agree regarding your WPEngine recommendation on this page. Quite confusing since this post has an updated posting date, and I had previously read your WPEngine review.
I’d be interested to know how your site currently performs since you moved away from WPEngine.
I’m guessing you missed the bit that says – Update: Please read my WPEngine update. ?
If you read that update https://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/seo/reviews/wp-engine/ you can see how TPH perform in comparison.
Great article as always.
I think you should put an update on this page at the WPEngine section stating you dont recommend them with a link to https://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/seo/reviews/wp-engine/
Nice spot :) I updated the original review but missed that – updated thanks :)
Hey Matt are you still using wp engine? I heard a while back that they were bought buy another company and service is not as good any more.
Not really – https://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/seo/reviews/wp-engine/
Great thank you!
Fantastic post Mathew, going to take advantage of your recommendations. I ran the test for my site and it pretty much came out same as your before making the changes.
I have the smush it plugin but didn’t know about deactivating it.
Plan on implementing your suggestions except for changing hosts.
I like Blue host and have been using them for 4 years now.
Great to hear you’ve managed to speed things up :)
I could not imagine paying $30 each month for my network sites. Would go broke really fast.
I wouldnt use this for my network sites either
I decided to follow-up on an email I had received from you. OMG! You have exposed me to another world. I am very thankful and excited.
Your instructional style is perfect for me and I am sure others. Keep up the wonderful work and I will continue to share your knowledge with others.
Thanks very much :)
It has been nearly a year. Do you feel increasing the speed of your site has added more money to your pocket?
How are you quantifying this? Granted your reports every month have shown increases, but is there really anyway to track this?
Yes for sure, I get huge amounts of feedback about how fast the site is so its definitely keeping people engaged and converting!
Ok thanks Matt.
I do enjoy your post(s) tremendously, but it would be cool to find a way to quantify the increase in site speed.
Though I think that would be extremely hard to do.
There are a number of studies around about this by people that have isolated that metric to measure its impact.
The thing I would love to isolate and measure with it though is how site speed affects rankings.
Thank you, this is the information I need and I will apply to my website :D
No worrys :)
You’ve done it again Matt! Great tutorial! I’m gonna go speed up my site now!
For people who are using VPS or Dedicated Server, you can try with Varnish cache layer before your web server software like: apache, nginx,…You will be very surprised because of its performance. I believe your site will response in milliseconds (not second right now). I’ve used Varnish in some of my websites written on my own CMS and Yii framework, not Wordpress but I’ve also search on Google and found out that there are some tutorials guide you how to implement it. Hope this helps.
Yes implementing varnish and also making the switch to nginx will help with site speed – but most people aren’t on a VPS or dedi and won’t have access to do that.
Its also hugely technical to setup =\
Great tutorial! There’s definitely a lot more I could be doing to speed up my sites, this post has inspired me to take some action!
Hustle hustle ^^
Great article Matt, you posted it at a perfect time for my business as we just updated our site and was looking to reduce the load time and increase speed. Thanks and keep up the good work.
Let me know if you get stuck or need any help!
Hey, I guess I am just unlucky then!
This is what happened:
“Around Noon CST today the server that hosts your site encountered a catastrophic hardware failure. Our Datacenter partner Linode immediately initiated emergency procedures to bring the server back online. Over the last 4 hours, we have been attempting to bring the server online and now believe it is beyond repair.”
They go on to say they will move my site to a completely new server, etc.
Ahhh well to have to replace an entire server sounds pretty hardcore to be honest, just luck of the draw with that and I was on a different server.
Push for some compensation though :)
Yes, it’s pretty unfortunate. They kept their promise though, and fixed everything sooner than expected. I did ask for kind of compensation and they promised they will take care of it. Thanks for the replies Matt!
No worrys – glad to hear its sorted sorry about the problems!
just to follow up on this – they gave me 3 months worth of hosting for free because of all the trouble. Thanks again!
That’s great to hear!
Hey Matt, how’s your downtime with WPengine?
I have pretty bad experience with them so far (downtime, they don’t have their own DNS, nor email servers), since I signed up with them 5 months ago.
Today there was a “catastrophic failure” of the server and my site will be down for at least 24 hours and reversed to 2 days before, in best case scenario.
I had a couple of problems on HostGator, but never this often and especially not of this magnitude.
According to my pingdom account zero in the last 6 months.
What happened exactly?
Love your posts. The best thing about this or any other article of yours is the way you write “title of the post”. That’s why inspite of having extremely busy schedule you consumed my 20 minutes. By the way it’s all worthwhile.
Thanks – I’ve actually had complaints about the titles before lol
Thanks for this post. My adsense account told me my site was on the slow side so this has come just at the right time.
Let me know how you get on!
quick question, why is your page rank so low?
Nice article Matt,
Never thought that the load time can affect the conversions rate.
But I see that you use WPEngine hosting, is it better than other hosts like HostGator or Bluehost.
I am on HG and am not facing issues with it.
What are your views on it ?
Do a speed test and see how it performs for you – there is a huge difference between budget shared hosting and professional hosting.
As far as I can see this site is still hosted on stablehost. It uses stablehost DNS.
Actually it looks more like linode. Anyway let me know what exact hosting.plan you use. I noticed load time of your site is pretty good, even you have a lot of object on pages. For example loading my site takes longer time there are 5x less http requests that there.
Its the WPEngine personal plan with the CDN addon
The nameservers are with stablehost but WPEngine doesn’t use nameservers for its hosting configuration, its just an A record on the DNS.
What was the other host with $0.99 per month?
That was https://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/get/stablehost/
Hi Matt, great article. I just used some of your steps to optimise a voucher code site that I haven’t done anything with in a while.
1st TEST: pingdom was showing load time of 4.25s and page size of 675.1KB performance grade of 83/100
– removed a plugin which was not in use. Ran the test again
2nd TEST: pingdom now showing 2.91s and page size of 650.3KB performance grade 85/100
– linked to google to load jquery.js instead of loading locally
3rd TEST: pingdom now showing 1.44s :)
Still got the images to reduce but I remember using smush.it before to do most of them
Great results! Amazing to see how an inactive plugin was holding you back that much!
Thats money right there!
Hey Matthew, thanks for the post. Love it, almost tempted to switch, but then I saw the price.
What about just switching over to Cloud Fare for the poor guys?
Yes they are a premium host and you should integrate the other suggestions first (although the host change had the biggest impact) – you can certainly give cloudflare a bash but make sure you measure the before/after effect!
IMHO you could get the same results by using w3total cache or any other caching plugin together with a cdn like maxcdn. This will have been cheaper than using wpengine. However though wpengine has some unique features. But is it worth it price? I don’t know
Yes you can use that combination and I do so on my other sites (that exact setup actually) – but WPEngine do so much more than that :)
What more does it do? Besides speed what do you get more?
The support is awesome, they take care of the updates – its all fully managed!
Great post! All I ever do is use WP Super Cache and a CDN while on shared hosting (hostgator). But after reading your post, I’m excited to try out some code and image optimization!
No worrys – I’m going to hire someone to do the entire blog properly once I’ve stopped tweaking it lol
With the exception of the hosting (which really depends on the client’s preference), I think most of tips here are great.
Although if the current host is affecting the clients conversion, it should not be their ‘preference’
Matthew you a rock star. I’ve been using wpengine for a while now with my sites and clients sites. Love it. Only down fall is they don’t handle email…. not a huge biggie, but be nice to have the option.
You also added a few more todo’s for my team to get site speed even tighter. Love the way you positioned this post.
Yeah I’ve got to say out of all the hosts I’ve used the past 10 years I have been more impressed with WPEngine than any other. Even my dealings with RackSpace left a lot to be desired.
I’m all about conversion rate optimization and extracting value and site speed is often overlooked as a crucial factor in that.
P.s. the email problem is easily solved with http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/outlook-handles-email-domain-hosting/
Linode is showing up as your host on a sneeky whois search.
You have a UK website are you hosting it in the states or in the UK and are you still with Wpengine ?
How have they been ?
Like your blog keep it up!
Yes I’m still with WPEngine and intend to stick with them for the performance gain it offers. The site is now hosted in the USA though but my audience is 25% USA, 20% UK and 5% India which is why I tested from all 3 locations :)
The support is superb!
Very cool post. Almost convinced me to sign-up to WP Engine. Good job hah :)
Your site is already pretty speedy =D
I learned more from this post than 95% of all other articles ever read! I new a bit about this, but I didn’t think there was this much to it. I’m turning up the heat and maximizing my site for better results from my existing traffic!
Thanks very much :) Your site definitely needs the speed treatment!
Great tutorial. What about W3 total Cache? Do you also use it to speed up your site?
No WPEngine have their own custom written hardware based caching system so there is no need for separate caching plugins like W3 Total Cache.
Traffic influences the revenue, instead of the loading time of a website.
Of course, loading speed of each website must me fast for all visitors, don’t use any heavy scripts which cause a site get slower. If a site get loads of traffic, consider VPS hosting or dedicated servers as main web hosting, not “shared” servers. e.g: 50,000+ unique visitors per month.
Both are more expensive but good investment for huge traffic.
Yes traffic does influence revenue but design/speed/conversion influences it much more. You can be sure I earn more money from 100 visitors than most people earn from 1000.
Great write up Matt!
Look’s like I’ll be upgrading to a new host, soon. Your blog is coming along pretty well. This year should be a good one, and I’m sure I’ll be around to watch it grow even bigger.
Thanks very much – it’s getting there slowly now :)
Small sites cant afford the luxury of hosting. I have also heard of thesis framework or something which will speed up and rank website fast.
Are you using wpengine or linode servers ?
Well regardless of the size of your site, the fact of the matter is for every second longer it takes to load – you lose 7% of your profits. Perhaps poor hosting is why they cant afford good hosting ^^
Thesis is a lightweight framework/theme for Wordpress – I have investigated getting the site converted to it but the cost vs reward was borderline.
Yikes I thought I knew a lot about this and you’ve given me a lot more to do – removing Smush it is a real surprise!
Thanks for all the detail and references Matt.
No worrys hope it helps you out!
Wow, super great and very detailed post about optimizing site speed. Awesome.
I don’t think that i can afford $50 per month for hosting yet, but when i do, i think i’ll also migrate (hostgator can be really slow sometimes).
And i found several awesome free plugin from this tutorial, thanks a lot!
Well when your blog reaches that stage you can pat yourself on the back :) I had noticed that with the increase visitor load the site and especially tutorial pages were performing poorly so it had outgrown the host =D
I would say over and above that it is worth spending time minimising http requests for good results.
is it true that his influence for it?
Thanks for that Matthew, as always a very detailed and well written article. I’m not sure I’ll change my hosting just yet, but I’ll certainly look at implementing some of your other suggestions.
It’ll be interesting to see how much difference to your revenue the speed increase will make, if indeed it’s possible for you to quantify it.
No worrys let me know how it goes!
Thank you Mat, am a fan of your great blog but I don’t think changing host will be suitable for my pocket now as a student. Right now am using namecheap I don’t know how you see there service
And there might not be a reason to either! Just follow the free steps and see where you stand