If you’re running a website you’ll no doubt know that load time can play a major part in the success or failure of your site. Slower page load times result in people clicking back and returning to their search results – which can lead to a knock-on effect of sending Google the signal that your page wasn’t the right choice for that user, and potentially decreasing your ranking. So today I’m going to show you a few simple ways to increase website speed.
So how can I test my speed anyway?
Check the Load Time of Your Site
The first thing you’ll want to do before you can begin to actually increase your website speed is check the load time you already have.
Head over to Google’s Pagespeed Insights, enter your URL and click “Analyze”.
You’ll get an overall score out of 100 and a list of suggestions to speed up your site. You can even download optimized versions of files from your page.
Next, we’re going to go to Google Analytics and check the loading times of individual pages.
In your main Analytics window, click: Behaviour > Site Speed > Page Timings. You’ll get a list of your pages, ordered by number of page views.
The data on the right-hand side is what we want. This tells you how fast each page loads compared to the average. As you can see from the above screenshot, my 9th and 10th most visited pages have some serious load time issues that I’ll need to fix asap!
Now head over to Seo Site Checkup, which is a freemium tool that allows you to run a basic SEO audit on your site, and add the URL of the pages that are loading slowly.
It will take a couple of minutes to do the test and gives you a list of just under 50 test results. Each result will have a little tick or a cross nest to it, depending on whether your page is optimized for that particular check. Failed checks have a “How to Fix” button, that brings up actionable information on how to fix the problem.
Since we’re focusing on site speed, scroll down to the Speed section and find any failed checks, click “How to Fix” and follow the instructions (you may need to get help from a developer to fix some of these).
Best Plugins to Increase Loading Speed
If you’re using WordPress, you can use plugins to greatly improve your loading speed. Below are some awesome plugins for keeping your load time down, and your visitors happy.
First, we have a plugin called WP Super Cache that generates static HTML files from your WordPress pages and serves those files instead of slower WordPress PHP files.
- Install and activate the plugin
- You need to go to the plugin admin page to actually activate it.
- By default, caching is off, so turn it on and click update status.
- Click advanced then Cache hits to the website for quick access and use mod_rewrites to serve cache file.
- Scroll down and click update.
Loading speed should already be faster after just this one plugin.
Images are generally the biggest thing that slows down sites, so we’re going to install WP Smush to greatly reduce the size of our images without degrading quality.
- Install and activate
- Go to Media in your WordPress Dashboard
- Click Bulk Smush it
- Click “run all images through WP smush it right now”
Now install WP-Optimize, this cleans up your WordPress database. Basically it deletes some of the useless bulk on your WP site such as post revisions, spam comments etc.
- Install and activate
- Go to WP-Optimize settings
- Click any unnecessary items such as post revisions, spam comments etc.
- Click “Process”
WP-Optimize will delete all the things you checked. Any potentially dangerous items to delete will have a red note next to them, so don’t check those if you’re not 100% sure you want to delete them.
More ways to Increase Website Speed
Last, but by no means least, I’m going to quickly point out a few simple ways to make sure your site is super fast.
Minimise HTTP Requests
Keep your design simple, think about how many images you’re using – are they helping or hindering?
Combine all your scripts into one, and put all your CSS into a single stylesheet.
Use a CDN
By using a Content Delivery Network, you can serve your site to your visitors from a location close to where they’re actually located. CDNs can be expensive, but if your site has lots of traffic from around the world, it’s definitely worth investing.
Enjoy Your New and Improved Site Speed!
And that’s it, by following the above instructions you should be able to shave seconds off your website loading time and serve super fast pages to your visitors.
Any questions or comments? Drop them in the area below.