WordPress Speed Optimization

by Drew Conroy

Posted on August 30, 2018

A rocket traveling through space

The speed of a website is paramount. Due to changes implemented by Google, WordPress Speed Optimization is now more important than ever. According to Google, they have used page speed as an SEO (search engine optimization) factor for desktop searches for a while now. Google has made it apparent that they will be using page speed as a page ranking factor. This will be for mobile searches, and the launch is set for mid-summer 2018. This update is slated to be called Speed Update.

Your website may have good content but loads slow, it still may rank well. But that does not mean your users will stick around? If your page is chugging along trying to load, after a couple of chugs your visitors will most likely be looking to move on.

When it’s all said done, be it 200 or 2000 ranking signals Google implements, it all comes down to the “User Experience”. It’s no big surprise that site speed will entice and keep visitors on your website longer. But it can also increase your SEO juice. On the other hand, it can also be a detriment to your website. Slow page loads will deter those visitors, resulting in lost revenue, and your SEO taking a dive. These are some of the applications that we use for WordPress Speed Optimization.

When a web page is cached, a copy is made of that with its contents, and stored temporarily. This would hold true for any page you visit. The second time you visit those pages, the cached copies are served up instead retrieving the original pages again. Caching will improve your visitors experience by increasing the speed of your page loads.

Minification removes things like whitespace, comments, and semicolons that are not required.

It removes all characters that are not needed from your code. This will result in size reduction. This can significantly improve your page load times. Minification will additionally bundle your files, creating one file. This will trim down the number of requests to your web server.

Surprisingly, the code in the file stays perfectly valid but you would have a difficult time trying to read it. Minification is usually only done for JS and CSS.

Image compression will make your images and page load faster. Compression will not cut down the image size. It takes the data that makes up the image, then compresses it to a smaller size. Compressing your images will strip any bulky information, reducing file size, without losing the image quality.

A CDN is a “Content Delivery Network”. The CDN is a network of servers located across the world. By using a CDN, it will reduce the area between your website visitors and your server. The CDN will save a cached copy of its content in multiple locations around the world. Each location contains a varied amount of caching servers. These servers are responsible for the content delivered to your website visitors within its range. These servers all work together to provide faster delivery of Internet content.

WordPress websites consist of a theme and plugins. Those files will usually contain some JavaScript and CSS. What happens is those scripts end up being heavy weights to your front end.

This can dramatically slow page load times. At the same time, block rendering on the page. Browsers will load any JavaScript and CSS before the HTML on the page. Slow internet connects will take longer for you to see the page. This process is known as render-blocking.

We can fix this by combining CSS & JavaScript in the head area.

This will decrease the amount of JavaScript and CSS files on a page. Reducing the amount of HTTP requests needed to render the page. When you combine your JavaScript files making one file, it will lower the load times for your pages. Ultimately resulting in faster page load speeds.

Lazy Loading Even after compressing your images they still can weigh heavy on your pages. The heavier your page is the longer the load time. This will undoubtedly affect your visitors. If your page does not load within seconds, your visitors will off to the next site. Let’s hope the “next site” it not your competition. Believe it or not this does happen more than you think.

A rocket traveling through space

To lazy load images, the images will load asynchronously. But that’s not until after your above-the-fold content is loaded first, and that’s only when they when they are seen in the browser’s viewport. If you only scroll a quarter of way down on a page. The images located at the bottom page will not be loaded.

By enabling GZIP compression it can significantly shrink your webpage size. The process takes chunks of data the makes it smaller. The great thing about GZIP is your data can easily be restored to its original size by un-zipping it. This is like ZIP when it comes to compressing files. This is a “lossless” process meaning it will shrink the file size/webpage without hurting the original quality when its restored. Most browsers do support GZIP compression for all HTTP requests.

To get the speed you need, check out our WebStop.net Speed Optimization Services. We will show the before and after test so you can see the difference.  We looking forward to working with you and speeding up your website.

Check out our WordPress Beginner Tutorials Series on our YouTube Channel.

Thanks for Reading - Have a Great Day!

Drew & the WebStop.net Crew