What would a 2 second improvement in your website page load speed mean for your conversions?
Think about that for a second before you answer.
Your probably thinking “not much” but you couldn’t be more wrong!
In fact many reports now show that a 2 second improvement in your site’s page load speed will not only help improve your search engine rankings but will also improve your site’s conversions as well.
Hard to say but you should expect to see between a 10-100% improvement depending on what you are selling and the amount of traffic you are generating.
You don’t have to be a math wiz to calculate what just a 10% increase would mean for your business.
For some people it could mean finally breaking through and making a profit, for others it could be just what they need to finally fire their boss and work for themselves.
Ok, maybe I am making too big of a deal about page load speed but it is pretty dang important to today’s online consumer and it should be to you as well.
So important in fact that in a recent article I read on KissMetrics, most online consumers said they would abandon a page that took longer than 6-10 seconds to load.
Really makes you think what this is doing for your site’s bounce rate and conversions doesn’t it?
I know it did for me which is why I immediately went out and tested my page load speed, and my results were shocking!
7.27 seconds, wtf happened!
Really pissed me off at first but then it gave me the motivation I needed to make a few minor tweaks to my site to really speed things up.
In this post I will show you the same quick and easy adjustments I made on my site to dropped over 5 seconds off my page load speed and how you can easily do the same.
My goal is to get this puppy under 1 second, almost there!
Website Page Load Speed
So as you can see I have already made some pretty significant improvements to my site’s page load speed, now it time to get your site running like a high performance sports car.
To start, you need to find out how fast your site is loading now and what improvements you need to make.
There are hundreds of sites offering free load testing tools out there to check your page load speed but the best website speed test sites I have found are:
Ok cool, so you have checked your site’s page load speed, hopefully you are starting off a lot faster than I was.
Now that you know, let’s start making small improvements that are going to add up to some pretty significant saving is your load time.
But, before we get to far, make sure you back up your site if you are not already doing so on a regular basis.
I personally use the plugin BackWPUp, and back up my site every 2 weeks.
Remember, any plugins you install will ultimately make your site heavier and load slower so be very conservative on the number of active plugins you are running.
Since I only need to back up my site every 2 weeks, I deactivate this plugin when not in use.
Optimize Your Database Files
The plugin WPOptimize will eliminate all old drafts and spam comments on your site as well as optimize your database files.
Using this plugin on a regular basis will keep your WordPress site running at maximum efficiency.
I also run this every 2 weeks and deactivate it when not in use.
Give MaxCDN a try
MaxCDN is one of the largest and most trusted content delivery networks out there.
Their service stores your site’s files on their worldwide servers so that when a visitor from anywhere in the world visits your site, your site will be served to them from the closest server which reduces page load speed and improves overall site performance.
There are many other benefits to using a CDN besides just website page load speed, a CDN will also:
- Reduce site crashing – if your site experiences large amounts of traffic and your site is only being served from one server, your site is much more likely to crash. A CDN allows you to distribute that load to multiple servers thus making it less likely to crash.
- Improved SEO – Google uses page load speed as one of their main ranking factors, the faster your site is, the better benefit you will see in your search engine rankings.
- Improvements in your user’s experience while visiting your site – when your site load faster, your visitors are less likely to bounce off to the next site. Keep your visitors around with your new fast loading pages and you will see improvements in your bounce rate and total page views.
MaxCDN offers a free trial and is super easy to setup on your site, check them out here.
Move Your Server To Cloudflare
Cloudflare is also a CDN – content delivery network that will help speed up your site by store your site’s static files on hundreds of their worldwide servers.
What this means for you is, no matter where in the world your visitor is, your content will be delivered to them from the closest Cloudflare server, significantly reducing page load times.
This also includes free SSL (https for your site which is much more secure and will help keep the bad guys away from your site).
You will still keep your hosting but will need to point your domain to the Cloudflare name servers in order for this to work.
Install A Chache Plugin
WordPress has several cache plugin options but the most popular two are W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache.
Both are great in my opinion but you only need one so you’ll have to choose.
I personally use the W3 Total Cache because it integrates very easily with Cloudflare and MaxCDN.
There are varying opinions on how to properly setup the W3 Total Cache to get the most page load speed improvements on your site and trust me I am no expert on this one.
I actually found an awesome resource that shows you step by step how to set this plugin up from start to finish. (there are tutorials for WP Super Cache as well)
This site shows you how to setup the W3 Total Cache plugin as well as Cloudflare and MaxCDN, check it out here.
Minify Your Code
WordPress is an awesome content management system and one of the features that everyone loves so much is the WYSIWYG editor.
WYSIWYG – what you see is what you get
This makes writing and editing your content super easy but there is a downside to this type of editor, it adds a bunch of code to your pages that makes everything messy and can really slow down your site.
If you decided to use Cloudflare or the cache plugins I mentioned above then you already have everything your need to make this happen.
Simply enable the minify settings and you are set.
Resize and Compress Your Images
Images are typically the main speed killer for a website but they don’t have to be anymore.
Most people go out and find and image they like, download it to their computer then upload it to their website.
This is exactly how I do it too but I add two more steps before I upload any image to my site.
Resize and compress all images before uploading to your site.
There are literally thousands of sites you can resize an image with for free.
I personally love using Fotor.com, it is my go to size for resizing and editing images.
Resize your image to the size you want it to be on your blog and save to your computer.
Now its time to compress the file size of your image.
There are two sites that I use for this:
- If your image is a PNG – compress it with http://compresspng.com
- If your image is a JPEG – compress it with http://compressjpeg.com
They are the same site and you can click on either one, there is a tab for compressing PNG, JPEG, and PDF files.
Once you have your image the size you need and you have compressed it, it’s good to upload to your site.
Note: check out my post on finding free high quality images that you can use on your blog.
Compress Your Images Some More
While resizing and compressing your images prior to uploading them to your site is a great way to ensure that your images are not slowing down your site but most of the time there is still a little more compression that can be done to your images.
I actually do everything I can to compress my images as small as they can go.
To do this I use two plugins, which I only activate about once every two weeks, compress all my images with both plugins then deactivate the plugins until next time.
The two WordPress plugins I use for compressing all my images are WPSmush (formerly called Smush It), and EWWW Image Optimizer plugin.
Give these two a try, and see how much they can save you in the file size of your images.
Re-Test Your Site
Ok now that you have made all the changes I recommended, it’s time to go back and recheck your page load speed.
Use the same 4 website speed test sites I mentioned above and I am confident that you are going to like what you see.
Page Load Speed – Conclusion
That wasn’t so bad was it?
I am confident that the time you spent reading this post and implementing the page load speed improvements to your site will pay off huge for your in the long run.
The tips I shared with you today are just some of the ways you can improve your website page load speed, there are many more, more advanced methods that will be shared in a later post coming soon.