How To Optimize Your Website For Speed

How To Optimize Your Website For Speed

And Why You Might Not Want To

There are many factors that contribute to a slow website. Some are technical, like hosting, the theme you use, the number of plugins you use. Some of these are choices, such as Image Size, Streaming Video, Ads and Social Feeds. Big images, Video, Ads and Social Feeds slow down a website but increase conversion.

Faster is always better, but before you make a decision, there is a balance to be had, and OFTEN companies choose conversion (selling products) over load speed.

Pull Reports

First pull reports from Google Page Speed, GT Metrix and Pingdom to establish a baseline for your site speed. Then after each stage pull another report to see where you are at. You will need to run tests on the homepage, one of your key pages (possibly a main nav bar tab), blog page (if any) , category (archive) page and one of the posts. This takes 20 minutes EACH time you pull a set of reports and you should save them as pdfs for reference.

Server/Hositng configuration

Make sure you are on a speedy host and that your plugins are configured to get as much benefit as possible out of their infrastructure. This takes 10 minutes to 2+ hours depending on the size of the site and if we need to switch hosts.

Image optimization

Make sure the files are compressed to the best quality-to-file size ratio and activate lazy loading. This takes 1-2 hours. Depending on the size of the media library a premium plugin may be needed.

Page, Browser and Server Caching + Minify HTML, CSS, JS and defer JS

This will boost your YSlow score, and it will generally lead to faster asset loading. Also make sure Gzip is enabled and there are several aspects of caching that need to be configured and optimized for best performance. This takes 1 hour if a premium plugin such as WP Rocket is used.

CDN integration

This is the final part of the “inexpensive recipe”. Many hosts even have partnerships with Cloudflare that is free, so start there, and upgrade to the paid services later if you need more performance. This step can range from 1-3 hours.

Potentially VERY expensive and ONLY if needed

Cleanup Plugins & Reduce Plugin usage

We are from the school that you choose plugins because you need them. So if you have a lot of plugins, increase your server resources firs as in step one. That said, often plugins have overlapping functionality, If you are still experiencing problems remove redundant plugins and install one or two alternatives. This is complex and needs to be implemented by a developer.

Theme modifications

Your theme may be loading unnecessary assets, increasing the number of ‘requests’ made when loading a page. Manually eliminate render-blocking CSS and JS, and remove external scripts or libraries which are used to do simple tasks and write efficient alternatives. Also enable Text Compression, Optimize Google font delivery and make sure to Ensure text remains visible during Webfont load. This is complex and needs to be implemented by a developer.