Speed is the foundation of several customer conversion metrics. The number of dropped customers in your sales funnel is highly influenced by your site speed. It’s estimated that any load time over 4 seconds creates a considerable drop-off in customer engagement numbers. Your site can load quickly for you, but what about the reader that’s located across the globe? You can ensure global speed with a CDN. The first step is identifying your performance issues.
Testing Site Speed
You have several options for testing site speed, but the main one used by most site auditors is Google PageSpeed Insights. It’s the preferred method for most SEOs and site owners since Google incorporates site speed into its algorithm. If PageSpeed Insights gives your site the OK on speed, then it’s widely accepted that you send positive quality signals to the speed part of the ranking algorithm.
Using Google PageSpeed Insights, you’ll see a report similar to the image.
This site didn’t do too well. It failed mobile but passed (barely) for desktop. The nice advantage to Google is the suggestions as well. You can get a few suggestions that help you figure out how to speed up your site. This site loaded in 1.5 seconds, which is good but not great.
What should I do if my site is too slow?
Since we’re discussing WordPress, many of the suggestions can be satisfied using plugins. With the PageSpeed report in hand, you can go through the list of suggestions and improve your site speed. Here is the list of suggestions that most people will see from the report.
Most websites are viewed thousands of times every day. Every day the same elements are retrieved and rendered. Think of what parts of your sites never change — the sidebar, footer, and header. With caching, common elements that rarely change are cached and delivered without asking the server to calculate rendering elements. This reduces server load and server time, which makes the transfer between your server and the reader much faster.
You can cache several elements of your site that never change and still keep your dynamic content. Elements such as the sidebar, header and footer rarely change, but the content on your home page changes often. Caching keeps those unchanged elements but still renders new content when you make changes.
Here are some caching plugins to check out for your WordPress site:
Images are usually the largest items on your site. Think of image compression as a way to reduce the data that transfers from your web server to the user’s browser. Image compression keeps the images small when stored on your server. The small files are transferred when readers request your pages, and then the images are expanded when they reach your reader’s browser. If your site is image-heavy, consider adding a plugin to compress them.
Some plugins you can use include:
Switch to a CDN
There is one advantage that can’t be done with a simple plugin and that’s hosting your site on a CDN. A content delivery network replicates your site across multiple data centers. The advantage is that your site is delivered from the nearest geographical location of your reader.
We mentioned that you can’t efficiently test your site from your own computer. Chances are that you host your site in the same country as you reside. What happens when you have a CDN and someone across the globe opens your site? With a CDN, your site is processed and data transferred from the closest geographic location, which would be a data center outside of your country in this scenario.
CDNs also cache content, so you might not even need that caching plugin. You can find out by doing a before and after test on PageSpeed. Caching plugins can be accidentally improperly configured, which can cause problems when bots crawl your site. Some users accidentally block search engines or damage their content. With a CDN, you can avoid this hassle.
Even if you decide to use plugins, your speed is guaranteed to increase if you choose a CDN over traditional hosting. Instead of serving content from one location and one server, you have the power of data centers across the globe. Check out CDN.net’s WordPress CDN pricing. It’s affordable for both small and large business.
Is your WordPress site still slow? It may be the plugins you’re using. We’ve outlined 5 WordPress plugins to help analyze your site performance issues here.