I’m sure at some point you’ve clicked on a link and waited for the page to load, and waited, and waited, and finally gave up and hit the back button. Am I right?
While there is a lot that factors into how fast a page loads from the readers internet connection to the site’s web hosting there are some simple things you can do to improve your site speed.
In this post, I’ll break down what page speed is, why it’s important, and 5 quick and easy things you can do to improve yours.
What is Page Speed?
Page speed is the amount of time it takes to display content. Basically how long until there is something on the page.
As technology has advanced, our patience has grown thin. While you may have waited several minutes during the dial up era for a page to load, now most people are only willing to wait a few seconds.
So ideally, you want your page to load as fast as possible, usually within 1-3 seconds.
It’s important to remember that, page speed and site speed are different. “Page speed is often confused with “site speed,” which is actually the page speed for a sample of page views on a site.” (moz.com)
Why Page Speed is Important
Besides making readers happy so they stick around, page speed can be a tie breaker when it comes to Google rankings.
Say the spot is between you and another blog, all other things being equal, Google will put the faster page in the spot.
How to Check Your Page Speed
Fortunately, is very easy to check your page speed. Though again keep in mind this is how to check a particular page, not your general site speed.
1. Go to Page Speed Insights
2. Enter a URL, since most readers will be coming to your site for content, I’d suggest a blog post URL
3. Hit the button that says “Analyze”
4. Wait for the results
You’ll get a score for Desktop and Mobile. As more and more people use smartphones it’s important to optimize as best you can for mobile.
As you scroll down, you’ll see opportunities – these are suggestions of what to fix to improve your score.
Now, some of the things listed are going to be a bit on the complicated side, if you get down the road and want to hire and expert to take care of them, great. In the meantime, focus on the easy things you can do to improve your page speed.
Doing the following five things will help you improve your page speed. Setting you up for site speed success!
1. Compress Images
Images can slow down your site if they are large files. If you don’t compress images before you put them on your site, you can still do it via a plugin.
Compressing images makes the files smaller so that they will load quicker. But don’t worry, compressing them doesn’t mean distorting the image.
Shortpixel is what I use to automatically compress images on my site. They let you compress 100/month for free, but you can one time buy credits if you need to do a bulk compression/optimization. 10,000 images costs just $10. Check out the video below to see how it works:
2. Lazy Load Media
Another to speed up page load time is to lazy load media. What this means is that media such as a video or image won’t load until the user actually scrolls to it.
There are several different ways you can implement lazy loading, from inserting code to using plugins.
I’m able to select “lazy load” through my WP Rocket settings. But what works best for you will depend on your tech skills, budget, and time.
3. Keep Embeds to a Few
While you can lazy load media, having tons of media embedded on your site (for example a Spotify Podcast Player), can still slow down your page. Especially if it’s at the top of a post, because the user would “see” it right away.
Another place to make sure you’re keeping embeds to a few if any is in your footer and side bar as those embeds will need to load on every page.
4. Check to See if Doubled Up on Plugin Functionality
The number of plugins you have installed on your WordPress site, DOES NOT directly relate to page speed. It really depends on how well coded the plugin is and if you’re using it.
But many plugins will have overlapping features. Such as adding in Google Analytics tracking or ad pixels. If you see you have overlapping functionality, figure out which one you are using most and deactivate the other.
If you’re not sure, try deactivating one then looking at your site from the front end and see if anything was impacted.
5. Don’t Use Page Builders for Blog Posts
There is not a lot of control over the code when using a page builder. A page builder gives you control over the design of the website, but not the coding that goes into it. And if the code is clunky it can slow down your page speed.
Blog posts in WordPress using your theme are about as clean as they can get code wise, unless you customize something. So stick to Gutenberg to build out your blog posts rather than using a page builder.
Page speed can be a very detailed topic, this post has barely scratched the surface. If you want to dive deeper, focus on learning about the “opportunities” Google’s Page Speed Insights provides you.
Questions about the 5 tips I gave for improving page speed? Let me know in the comments!