6x Free Ways To Increase Website Speed (and search traffic!)

Did you know that a one second delay in website speed decreases conversions by 7%?

But what does that actually mean?

According to Google, if I increased my website speed by 1 second…

…I would make an extra $28,464 per year!

estimated revenue loss

But why does that happen?

It’s because-


page speed statistics

How much money are you unknowingly leaving on the table?

I suggest you run the numbers to find out.

Because with the few simple changes that I am going to share with you…

Anyone can increase their website speed, decrease their bounce rate and give a much better user experience.

6x Free Steps To Increase Website Speed Easily

Increasing your website speed is easy and you can do it without spending any money!

And no matter how fast your site is right now it can definitely be made faster!

You can usually improve things without any help from a developer, you just need the right combination of-

  • Tools
  • Plugins
  • Services

So follow the steps below and your site will be faster in no time at all!

Step #1: Test Your Current Website Speed

Before we do anythng else, we need to get a benchmark of where we are right now in terms of our websites speed.

The results of this might be shocking but don’t worry, we are going to take of everything together in a moment.

First – capture data for you homepage and 2x other pages from-

Create a spreadsheet like this one (Template > File > Make a Copy)-

website speed before optimisation

Once you’ve got a baseline of where you are right now.

It’s time to go to work!

Step #2: Install A Caching Plugin

If you don’t already have a caching plugin installed, install one now!

You can use the free W3 Total Cache plugin to enable caching for your blog. Just follow this guide to get it running.

It’s a quick, free and easy way to activate caching on your site and it’s really customizable.

Note: Be careful with minifying or optimising your Javascript files, it will probably break things.

What Is Caching & How Does It Work?

When you visit a web page, the server has to spend time generating the page and then sending you all of the data/images on that page in order to display them.

It does this for every single page you visit on the website which means the server is constantly thinking and you’re often downloading the same images like logos multiple times.

Enabling caching means that-

  1. The server doesn’t have to spend time thinking about generating every page (because it’s “cached”)
  2. Your browser doesn’t have to download things it’s already downloaded before like logos

And that will result in significantly faster load times for your visitors.

Ps. I am using WPRocket and Kinsta to power this blogs caching.

Step #3: Optimise Your Images

Images are one of the major contributing factors to slow websites.

That’s because image files are often unnecessarily large and can be compressed to shave off huge amounts of page size.

I managed to shave 46% off my image sizes across the blog-

image compression stats

I use ShortPixel to reduce the size but you can also use the free WP Smush plugin as well which I used for many years.

In fact:

It’s worth noting that all my images were already compressed with WP Smush before ShortPixel compressed them by an additional 46%.

But if you are on a budget, the WP Smush plugin will still do some serious compression for you and it only takes 1 click-

wp smush run time

It might take a while, but once it’s done you will have shaved off significant page size for free!

Step #4: LazyLoad Your Images (and videos)

The next step is to lazy load all of your media.

Now if your the type of person that HATES the lazy load experience because it makes the page jump around – don’t worry.

I hate that as well!

The best free plugin for you to use here is Lazy Loader but make sure it is effective by setting it up like this-

lazy loader setup

Pay close attention to the “Include lazysizes aspectratio plugin” option that will prevent the page jumping around like crazy.

BUT:

There is one problem with this solution.

If you do choose to deploy WebP images with ShortPixel, the only lazy load plugin I have found that actually works with the picture tag is WPRocket

wp rocket lazy load options

And that’s going to cost you a little, but that is what is powering the lazy load across this blog right now.

Step #5: Set Up CloudFlare

CloudFlare is a free content delivery network that comes with a bunch of other performance enhancing features.

It’s free and integrates with W3 Total Cache, WPRocket & ShortPixel.

cloudflare set up

Configuring this tool is a little beyond the scope of this article…

So I’ll refer you to this excellent tutorial to get it setup.

I’ll just leave this here in case you are unfamiliar with content delivery networks…

content delivery network

Step #6: Test Your Site Again

Once you’ve made all of these changes…

It’s time to test your site again, so head back over to the tools-

And run each of your URL’s through them again to see if you have improved (I guarantee you have).

These are the results I had before:

website speed before optimisation

But after a lot of testing and tweaking with various combinations of different plugins…

…I was able to make some significant improvements-

after website speed optimisation

Here are the headlines-

  • Average page size reduced by 62% (2,262KB vs 843KB)
  • Average number of requests reduced by 59% (166 vs 68)
  • Average load time reduced by 41% (6.4 seconds vs 3.8)
  • Average mobile Google page speed score increased by 78% (28 vs 50)
  • Average desktop Google page speed score increased by 29% (72 vs 93)

All of these improvements were made with the ultimate setup that I am sharing below.

Please post screenshot of your results in the comments!

The Ultimate Setup To Increase Your Website Speed

If you follow the 6x steps above, you can increase your website speed without spending a penny and also give a better user experience and increase sales.

But if you are serious about increasing your website speed…

…you need to invest a little bit of money.

I’ve spent lot’s of time testing different combinations of services and plugins on this blog.

This is the final combination I settled on and what is currently powering things behind the scenes on my sites to get a faster load speed-

WPRocket

It has a ton of features that you don’t get in W3 Total Cache like combining and optimising Google Font files.

All the way through to optimizing Google Analytics and your Facebook Pixel-

google analytics facebook optimisation

As you can see it’s easy to use and it’s jam packed with a bunch of features all focused on making your website load faster.

ShortPixel

This took images that had already being compressed with the free WPSmush plugin and then compressed them a futher 46%-

image compression stats

Not only that:

But you can shave an additional 25-36% off your images by clicking 2 boxes to deploy the WebP image format-

how to enable webp images

These are also compatible with WPRocket’s lazy loading feature! Double whammy!

Last Resort: Change Your Hosting

Your website’s speed starts with the foundation that your site is built on.

Tweaks and plugins can only get you so far.

So if you are serious about increasing your website’s speed, you might want to consider changing your hosting.

Especially if you’re paying less than $10/mo for your current host because your website is likely stuck on a server with thousands of other sites slowing you down.

I recently built 18 sites on 7 hosts to find out who is the best WordPress host.

And surprisingly, the most expensive hosting WAS NOT the fastest WordPress hosting.

When I switched to WordPress focused hosting a few years back, I instantly shaved one second off my load time AND they did the migration for me:

page speed improvement

There are two hosting services I’d advise you to use-

Recommendation #1: WPXHosting

They boast that they’re the fastest WordPress hosting in the world and my testing confirmed it.

They beat out much more expensive hosts in nearly every test category.

Wordpress hosting speed test results

Their packages start from around $20/month and you can host 5 websites.

Plus they offer free migrations which really takes the headache out of moving host!

Not only are they the fastest WordPress host, but they also have excellent support!

Plus who can argue with feedback like this from social media-

wpx hosting feedback from other people

And WPXHosting includes a bunch of awesome features like one click backups, a staging site, free SSL AND an excellent CDN service!

Recommendation #2: Kinsta

They are the current host of this blog.
(that may change in the future seeing as WPX Hosting won my test AND are cheaper)

It’s more expensive at $30 per month and you can host 1 website.

But most importantly they have their own server level caching solution that’s built on the Google cloud platform.

They also performed well in my WordPress hosting test and offer things like free migrations, one click backups, a staging site, free SSL AND free CDN!

The support is top notch as well! I am constantly throwing them weird problems to solve and they go the extra mile to solve them.

They offer services like cloud storage to help reduce the amount of stored information.

Regardless of which one you choose…

 You should definitely consider investing in better hosting for your site.

You will see improvements in page load times across the board if you do.

Wrapping It Up

 Your website speed is paramount to the success of your business.
 
Not only is it one of Google’s official ranking factors, but it’s one of your customers rankings factors as well but is a common problem in todays digital marketing-

Page speed load time

Even a short delay could cost your businesses thousands of dollars.

On the other hand a small improvement could seriously increase your bottom line.

You’ve got 2 choices on how to do that-

  1. Use the 6x free steps above
  2. Or invest in the ultimate setup to increase website speed

If you follow either of those paths, you’ll see a drastic change in your website’s speed, your bounce rate should decrease and you’ll build a happy customer base who have no reason to leave.

And once you have taken care of that and ensured you can provide a great user experience on mobile devices and desktops…

You might want to take advantage of another confirmed Google ranking factor – HTTPS.

182 Responses

  1. Fatima
    9.19.2019

    Great Tutorial, Thank you for sharing all this informations.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 21st, 2019 at 4:24 am

      No problem Fatima – hope these tips help with your site speed.

  2. Coolwap
    9.19.2019

    Thank you for this article

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 21st, 2019 at 4:25 am

      You’re welcome :)

  3. David Sweney
    9.19.2019

    Thanks once again, Mathew, you have a value-laden post here full of actionable tips and advice on how to stop losing traffic and business due to poor SEO…

    Each of the 6 steps can be implemented without that much of a hassle, and I am sure results will follow. I have shared this with my team and also on Facebook…

    Let’s get the word out there, I for one want to maximize traffic, leads, and sales. I will use the switching of hosts as a last resort because it will not be painless, I have too many websites!

    Is there some sort of package deal with a switch to WPX hosting for more websites? I would be switching 7 over in one crack…Great info and thanks again for all that you do!

    Cheers,
    Dave : )

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 19th, 2019 at 4:05 am

      Hey Dave, couldn’t have put it better myself :)

      With regards to switching to WPX Hosting, that would be a question for their team. They are mega helpful so should be able to deal with your query quickly.

  4. Matt B
    9.13.2019

    Hey Matt,

    Fantastic write up. I’ve heard that you can now use Cloudflare even if you’re using Kinsta, whereas in the past they were on the list of banned services for Kinsta users.

    Have you ever ran Cloudflare with Kinsta hosting? I’m curious how the Kinsta CDN compares to Cloudflare.

    I appreciate ya!

    -Matt

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 14th, 2019 at 10:15 am

      I’m using Kinsta + KeyCDN + CloudFlare on this blog so… yes I have a little bit :)

  5. sandy
    9.9.2019

    Thanks for creating such amazing content. It was really very helpful. would love to read more content.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 10th, 2019 at 1:41 am

      You’re welcome Sandy – there’s plenty more across my blog and in the meantime I hope this helped you reach your target load speed :)

  6. Phillip Dews
    8.29.2019

    Matt,

    An excellent post indeed and it still should work for most of your commenters here. As a freelance web developer of ten plus years experience I have learned a lot about site speed, coding and hosting.

    I liked reading the comments left by R.Rogerson and I think he left some excellent and solid tips. However I like to go further and extol the virtues that less is most definitely more.

    As a web developer I wanted to break into the blogging side of things and share what I have learned these past few years as a web developer and hopefully help out a few people in the process.

    I secured myself a brilliant domain (Thought about entering it here but will leave this up to you Matt), installed WordPress on my 20i server and set about coding the theme.

    At the time after launching back in march and with zero optimizations my results were as follows:
    PageSpeed Score C (71%) | Yslow Score D (64%) | 8.4s Fully Loaded Time | 966KB and 60 Requests

    Today though the results are as follows:
    PageSpeed Score A (98%) | Yslow Score A (98%) | 1.3s Fully Loaded Time | 437KB and 26 Requests

    I also ran the site for mobile on Lighthouse for Chrome and those results were even better: 100 Performance | 97 Accessibility | 86 Best Practices | 100 SEO with a 0.8s First Contentful Paint all on Mobile. Looking at it on mine its virtually instant.

    As you can see quite a difference is made for just a few hours of work. I think I know a couple of things when it comes to site speed. The site has 4 plugins and a custom theme that’s only 379 KB and compare that to DIVI which is 3.12 MB.

    On the blog I only have 4 plugins namely: dark mode (for eye strain), SyntaxHighlighter Evolved (to show off my code), Triberr & Yoast SEO for obvious reasons.

    I have written a couple of posts on Sitespeed already but I want to give you and your readers a couple of quick overview tips.

    1. WEBP – I use these on the site with a function I have coded and I use this format for my background image and favicon as WEBP is the new super small image file format developed by google themselves. For others like Logos I used to use PNG but now I use SVG’s instead (I can animate these as well as its just plain code).

    2. Plugins – I use a little as possible, as a web developer I prefer to code in the functionality a plugin provides right into the theme which renders the plugin needed redundant, also as R.Rogerson has said these plugins often have load’s of JS and CSS files bloating them out.

    3. – Minimize and Compress, quite obvious really why do we needs loads of CSS and JS files. I usually have just three JS files: Jquery.mini.js jquery-migrate.mini.js and what I like to call master.mini.js that handles all my other functions and I load everything into my functions.php file, the same goes with the css files like normalize, WordPress, media, style and so on. Less is more.

    4. StackPath – Hands down the best CDN out there which renders all caching plugins obsolete and redundant as I have my whole site Caching on the CDN using their Full site Delivery. Ben Gabler the COO of StackPath emailed me after I tweeted about them and how impressed I was.

    He explained that I could get even more speed by pointing the whole site to them and have it Caching on the EDGE and at only $10 a month its well worth it. I wrote a step by step post on how to set this up that anyone with a little knowledge can achieve in a few hours.

    5. Hire a Web Developer – Yes OK, I know I am one but if you like the look of DIVI or some of those over over bloated themes out there then a good freelance developer that specializes in bespoke themes can achieve the same results that is usually a tenth of the size of the so called PRO themes and is faster than a Cheetah on white powder.

    Well I hope that I have given some food for thought here Matt and if anyone needs some tips or serious advice I am prepared to help the first 3 on here that ask’s for it but please introduce me via my email.

    Best,

    Phillip

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 31st, 2019 at 2:28 am

      Thanks Phillip – definitely food for thought! Will need to put aside some time to process it all. Thanks for taking the time to write all this info :)

      • Phillip Dews
        August 31st, 2019 at 5:56 am

        No problem at all Matthew. I know its a lot to take in and hopefully some of your readers will find it useful. Do let me know if you implement any of these fella.

        loving the blog btw.
        Phillip

        • Matthew Woodward
          September 3rd, 2019 at 2:44 am

          I certainly will, thanks Phillip

  7. Agoes
    8.29.2019

    Your explanation is so detailed and easy to understand, thank you, for sharing, I’m waiting for further information

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 31st, 2019 at 2:28 am

      No worries Agoes I hope this page was effective and helped you reduce problems with load speed without needing to change your hosting :)

  8. Michael Dale
    8.28.2019

    If could get an extra £28k from a few plugins I would be a very happy boy.
    But great info for moving forward.
    Thanks for more great info

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 29th, 2019 at 3:10 am

      It was a magical time and a fantastic source of income for not a lot of work other than having a play around with an application or two :)

  9. Yunar Winardi
    8.27.2019

    Hi Matthew,
    Thank you for the always excellent post.
    I found Cloudflare work best with the free version of WP Fastest Cache. I am sure with premium version even better. I also use smush (free).
    The website experience traffic increase once the speed increase from 3.x to 2.x seconds.

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 27th, 2019 at 1:00 pm

      Well if you are using smush, you can reduce image file size by another 50-70% with shortpixel

  10. Shabu
    8.27.2019

    Thanks for the “speed” reminder, need to recheck our sites.

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 27th, 2019 at 1:01 pm

      Schedule an annual checkup in Gcal!

  11. Rahul Gupta
    7.23.2019

    Truly, speed is the king when you’re among the top 5 on the SERP. I have faced a lot of problems because of it but still, need help with optimizing mobile speed

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 23rd, 2019 at 8:08 am

      Yes Rahul it makes so much difference having speed on your side and you are right to focus on mobile users. A slow load will loose sooooo many shoppers on mobile devices.

  12. Prateektechnosoft
    6.27.2019

    Great Post. Wonderful information about site speed priority.

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 28th, 2019 at 7:35 am

      Thanks very much, every one needs to target their site speed metrics to be successful, whether they have an ecommerce store an seo agency or a cooking blog. :)

  13. Michael Taiwan
    6.4.2019

    Hi Matthew, do you have a promotional code for ANNUAL wpxhosting? My website is non commercial, just informative and 21 USD/month is a lot to me.
    Or what is the 2nd best WordPress hosting that you recommend ? Thanks a lot

  14. Live Active Keto Shark Tank
    5.17.2019

    I like this website so much, saved to favorites.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 17th, 2019 at 9:08 am

      Thanks for the save I hope you can use these practices to enable a faster site speed :)

  15. Khach san cua lo
    4.24.2019

    I was also reading a subject like this one from another internet site

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 24th, 2019 at 10:56 am

      Highlights even more then, how important it is for marketers to analyze their site speed!

  16. petrified wood indonesia
    4.14.2019

    wow that is cool, very nice information

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 15th, 2019 at 11:25 am

      Cheers! I hope you found the mentioned practices gave your sites a better user experience and lowered your bounce rate.

  17. Ram Singh
    4.13.2019

    Nice Information for upcoming seo batch so that they can utilize in near future

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 15th, 2019 at 11:26 am

      Thanks Ram! Hopefully they can learn from my mistakes and reduce the fully loaded speed time!

  18. Naman Modi
    11.19.2018

    You have so much wonderful information and has really motivated me to pursue my long waited goal of starting a blog. I feel a little unsure still, so any additional tips on getting started and what to write (I know what I want to make my blog about, just unsure what to say to keep interest really) would be really appreciated!

  19. Alison
    10.10.2018

    As a local business, l found image size was a massive influence on our page speed – we had some really large image sizes in our Case Studies & compressing all these & making them jpeg (some were png) helped a lot

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 12th, 2018 at 12:51 pm

      Hey Alison, really pleased you were able to speed your local business site up I hope this helps when serving existing and future customers! Thanks for commenting :)

  20. sanjeev kumar
    8.25.2018

    im not able to get website traffic even single user on my website pls help me how i use your information properly, i tried but im not able to do that as per your recommendation.

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 27th, 2018 at 11:46 am

      Which part specifically are you struggling with?

  21. Louis
    8.2.2018

    Awesome piece Mat! on my favorite bookmarks. Please let us know when you update the article again in 2018.

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 3rd, 2018 at 10:25 am

      Thanks for the bookmark Louis!

  22. mokshika
    7.5.2018

    hey
    amazing content and it was very helpful and very well explained.
    i am really impressed by the quality you have delivered through this blog.
    great work! keep writing.It was of great help!
    also click for more info on the same topic and related.

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 5th, 2018 at 5:59 pm

      Hey, thanks very much! Thanks for the link, I’ll check it out

  23. Nitin kumar
    6.24.2018

    my website very slow . find many website . your website is best . i follow all website speed tips .
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 25th, 2018 at 12:17 pm

      Hey Nitin, yes improving your speed will have a massive impact on your site!! Best of luck

  24. Miracle
    5.16.2018

    This is an extremely useful and helpful article. Recommended to my friends also. Thanks for this.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 16th, 2018 at 11:24 am

      Thanks very much and also for the recommendations. Come back soon

  25. Md Firoz Ahmad
    2.20.2018

    Thank you sir, you are really great. Thank a lot.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 2nd, 2018 at 4:36 pm

      No problem I hope you found it valuable and didn’t need to change your hosting management

  26. Firman
    7.7.2017

    Nice share. Thank Matthew.

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 11th, 2017 at 11:29 am

      Thanks Firman!

  27. Airpaz
    5.10.2017

    I love to using WP Rocket Plugin for optimizing site speed.
    Do you have try it ?

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 10th, 2017 at 8:29 am

      It didnt work very well for me

  28. umroh murah
    4.26.2017

    A very complete post. The thing about how to optimize site speed. $ 50 per month for hosting is big enough for me, but it’s not impossible to do.
    Thanks for the excellent free plugin

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 4th, 2017 at 2:10 pm

      Well just use a CDN and caching plugin for now

  29. Yugni Maulana aziz
    3.30.2017

    Wow, super great and very detailed post about optimizing site speed. Awesome.

    I don’t think that i can afford $50 per month for hosting yet, but when i do, i think i’ll also migrate (hostgator can be really slow sometimes).

    And i found several awesome free plugin from this tutorial, thanks a lot!

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 4th, 2017 at 12:53 pm

      No problem Yugni, a paid hosting management will give you many benefits with security as well as speed!

  30. Robert
    11.29.2016

    Your article is really very helpful to improve the site speed. Keep it up :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 29th, 2016 at 6:51 pm

      No problem Robert! Remember to give you website a speed check scan often to help reduce the size of images and video

  31. Lisa
    10.18.2016

    This is great! I’m actually in the process of working on some of this now. I’m switching hosting companies and will be using CloudFront. Max CDN was alright, but I didn’t want to pay the expensive charges.

    Have you looked into possibly using Amazon S3 to host all your images? I was talking to someone recently who uses a CDN + has her images hosted on Amazon S3. Apparently has like killer load times.

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 18th, 2016 at 9:32 am

      Actually it is something I am considering this week :)

      • Lisa
        October 18th, 2016 at 10:21 am

        I’d be interested in seeing if you had to do anything special with CloudFlare. I’m about to add it to my domain but I am also interested in the Amazon S3 feature. Just not sure if there is a problem, SEO wise, with images indexing like was the problem with Max CDN.

        • Matthew Woodward
          January 5th, 2017 at 9:25 am

          I am not using Amazon S3, but I am using KeyCDN along with CloudFlare

  32. om priyadarshi
    9.26.2016

    Thanks for sharing information,i will check my site speed and incorporate your tips and tools into my website.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 26th, 2016 at 10:33 am

      No problem Om! I hope you can have a play around with these tools/plugins and produce some effective results

  33. Natalie
    3.10.2016

    ….and..for experiment i installed USE GOOGLE LIBRARIES and the Pingdom showed me 1,94 seconds )))

  34. Natalie
    3.10.2016

    If there are any range which is considered GOOD site speed?
    My website has 15 seconds.
    After i did:
    WP Optimize
    Total Cash
    Removed and deactivated the plugins i dont use
    Optimized the mages..

    And now my score shows different time in different system:
    By Google Page Speed: 88/100 (was around 44/100)
    By Pingdom: 3,36 (strange coz before it showed 2 seconds)
    By other system is: Pagespeed score 95%, 3,6 seconds
    By Page performance test: everything AAAAA,shows 4 seconds.

    I still cannot understand if that good or i should to optimize more…all the systems shows very good score,but the loading time 3,5 seconds.

    Any thoughts? Or do u think i can leave it like that ?

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 11th, 2016 at 12:04 pm

      I’ve seen a lot worse in my time and you are probably at the point where the only other optimization you could do is to move hosting.

  35. Chris Mimmack
    3.2.2016

    Looks like I need to remove Statcounter and some of the features of Sumome as they seem to take the longest to load.

    All my images are run through Photoshop and saved at the correct size and ‘Saved for Web’, which strips out a load of superfluous data from JPEG images and dramatically reduces their size without affecting quality.

    When I first started my website I just let the software sort out image sizes and it wasn’t til I knew a bit more about what I was doing so was able to check the sizes on the server that I realised I had uploaded images far larger than I needed, and they were resized when they were being downloaded to the visitor’s computer.

    Great, informative article, thank you.

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 2nd, 2016 at 9:56 am

      No problem Chris, glad to be of service. I hope once you remove those elements you’ll see a difference in speed metrics :)

  36. Andre joe
    12.29.2015

    thank for share this article Mr.mathew
    I will try to implement it :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 6th, 2016 at 10:26 am

      No problem Andre. I hope these settings will give you a faster speed :)

  37. varyhelp
    11.26.2015

    Wow…it is really a great article on the given topics… I appreciate your writing and the way you convey to reduce the page…yeah it’s really helpful for extra money… but how they measure up the result…

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 2nd, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      No problem :)

  38. Pietro
    11.23.2015

    Hi Matt,
    I’m studying how to fast one of my website, and this article from you is perfect! (I read it when you posted it, but only now I needed to make these changes).
    On this post the links to WPEngine are not working, I was thinking you are losing money for that, but later I read the other post about AVOID WPEngine, so probably you just deleted that affiliation.
    Right?
    Anyway another great article with fantastic tips, thanks a lot!

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 2nd, 2015 at 4:38 pm

      Actually, I think they deleted me haha

  39. Adam
    11.12.2015

    Do you know anything about https://www.jch-optimize.net for optimizing javascript and asynchronous loading?

    I’m wondering if you have found any plugins better than the ones you mention in the article that worry me due to review counts.

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 13th, 2015 at 9:42 am

      I haven’t had any problems with these elements myself

  40. Grosir Tas Batam
    8.26.2015

    it is very good quality content, I really like this .. thanks

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 26th, 2015 at 10:59 am

      No problem, hope they helped you reduce the amount of time it takes your store to be fully loaded. :)

  41. Lintas3D Studio
    7.29.2015

    I want to be your student, I want study more about it.

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 29th, 2015 at 1:35 pm

      I don’t have any students sorry but you can find lots of popular marketing articles and you can hit the subscribe button to be added to my database of followers and receive my newsletter, the odd video and future articles. =\

  42. reg
    6.17.2015

    got rid of facebook comments and whoa! that was really slowing my site down – thanks for taking the time to put together this and all your other articles Matt

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 23rd, 2015 at 8:25 am

      No problem Reg :)

  43. Felix B
    5.14.2015

    Nice Tutorial Mathew. But Regarding the plugins.

    I made a nice list in my blog. Check it out. It might be helpful.

    http://www.99blogger.com/top-10-wordpress-plugins-to-speed-up-your-website/

    I made the list from my experience with nearly 40 client’s websites.

  44. R.Rogerson
    5.13.2015

    So … where to start?

    1) Reduce requests >> Merge files!
    Most of your CSS files can be put into a single CSS file.
    Same goes for JS.
    You have to be careful of the order – keep files loading in the same order as they appeared in the header/body
    Images can be trickier – you may opt for spritemaps, or for data-images in css files (or spritemaps in css-data-images).

    2) Compression >> Gzip/Deflate
    Make sure that what you send is as small as possible.
    If at all possible, save compressed versions and send those. Failing that, set the server to compress them when sent.
    Images can be saved with better filters.
    There are sites like smush.it, or software like pngcrush you can use.

    3) Optimise the resource references >> HTML it right.
    Make sure images are defined with a size. Make sure you load as much JS at the bottom of body as you can.

    4) Load smarter >> Use 3rd party libraries.
    Both Google and Yahoo supply URLs for things like JQuery and others.
    You can load them from their servers.
    That means less resources from your server, plus increased chances of users already having the files cached.
    Be smart, use a load mechanism that looks for good responses or that time out after a second or two – and then load a local version from your server (saves hanging and slowing your site down).

    5) Ditch the bad requests >> No 404’s/301’s
    Do Not reference resources that are at the wrong address. 404’s sow things down. 301’s slow things down.
    This is especially true of 3rd party content, like advertisers etc. Be aware that if you are loading content from a 3rd party, they may load multiple files … so that little frame that loads from their site may load a couple of images, a CSS file or 6…

    6) Asynch/Defer >> Load smarter
    In many cases, you can load JS and external resources asynchronously, or in a deferred state. This means no bottlenecks waiting for them to finish loading before the next set get fetched.
    Becareful – if you have dependant code that relies on other files, or values from other scripts/functions … load order may mess with your results.

    7) Cache, Cache Cache >> re-use it
    In most cases, content and resources won’t have changed. Making people reload all those files is silly.
    Make sure things like CSS/JS/Images that haven’t changed send correct cache headers so people don’t have to re-download.

    For every step you take – test, test and test again.
    Refresh the page, clear out the browser cache, clear out any website cache, use proxies to test.
    Try using things like gtmetrix.com, pingdom.com webpagespeedtest.org etc.

    None of this is rocket science.
    None of this is new.
    But you could, in most cases, get your site to load in 2.2 or less seconds.
    Anything over that may need more looking at.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 14th, 2015 at 2:27 am

      Solid extra tips =D

      • R.Rogerson
        May 14th, 2015 at 2:56 pm

        Of course they are solid tips – I made them :D

        A cheat option is to get the host to deploy the Page Speed Mod.
        Personally, I much prefer to get hands on and make tweaks in the code, the DB and the files … but for time and quick solutions, using a server mod that handles compression, caching, conjoining files etc., it’s worth looking at.

  45. R.Rogerson
    5.13.2015

    Load Times have been semi-important for a long time.
    But, like most other things – it’s not until a Search Engine mentions it that it becomes recognised.

    Years ago both Google and Yahoo start talking about page load speeds.
    The upshot was a bunch of half-baked SEOs bleating about PageSpeed as a ranking factor … missing that it was Slow sites that got the ranking adjustment, downwards. Fast sites did not get a boost.
    Then motivators from the UX world picked up the torch, and those from the Mobile world … and it fell mostly on deaf ears … because it doesn’t increasing rankings!

    There’s tons you can do to speed up your sites.
    Most of the blame will lie with crummy templates bought from supposedly reputable theme sites.
    The truth of the matter is that most of those designers couldn’t code their way out of a paper bag. They are photoshop jockeys that convert pretty images into html markup.
    They are more than happy to leave the template with 12 CSS files, loading 2 different JS libraries (locally, no looking for 3rd parties like Googles JQ api), and then loading 15 different plugins … most of them not even used on most pages!

    The next culprit is then the server setup and the CMS code.
    You’d be amazed at the number of hosts that still don’t setup basic cache directives correctly.
    Then you have the joy of dynamic sites with poorly considered header responses.
    Things like cache control headers etc. are alien (hell, lets face it, it was about a handful of years ago that the main CMS out there acknowledged their lack of proper http responses).

    Even with tools that tell you what is wrong and how to fix it (yahoo and google both made tools!), the “professionals” still don’t bother!

  46. Walder
    5.13.2015

    Great, Matt excellent post. I was reading one of your post and this post brought me to this other and I feel very happy and motivated. I’ll put your advice into practice immediately.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 14th, 2015 at 2:30 am

      Good luck Walder :)

  47. Munir Nathoo
    11.15.2014

    Hi Matt,

    Thank you again for an excellent tutorial on a subject we all struggle with.

    A quick question, does customizing the robot.txt files to exclude indexing of duplicate content like categories, archives etc… also have an impact on overall speed of the site?

    Cheers :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 19th, 2014 at 5:20 pm

      Not on speed but on overall indexing!

  48. Josh
    7.26.2014

    I agree regarding your WPEngine recommendation on this page. Quite confusing since this post has an updated posting date, and I had previously read your WPEngine review.

    I’d be interested to know how your site currently performs since you moved away from WPEngine.

  49. vietnamrum
    7.23.2014

    Great article as always.

    I think you should put an update on this page at the WPEngine section stating you dont recommend them with a link to https://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/seo/reviews/wp-engine/

    Cheers.

    Vietnamrum

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 23rd, 2014 at 4:13 pm

      Nice spot :) I updated the original review but missed that – updated thanks :)

  50. Josh
    7.16.2014

    Hey Matt are you still using wp engine? I heard a while back that they were bought buy another company and service is not as good any more.

    Thanks Josh

  51. William
    5.5.2014

    Fantastic post Mathew, going to take advantage of your recommendations. I ran the test for my site and it pretty much came out same as your before making the changes.

    I have the smush it plugin but didn’t know about deactivating it.

    Plan on implementing your suggestions except for changing hosts.
    I like Blue host and have been using them for 4 years now.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 5th, 2014 at 3:07 pm

      Great to hear you’ve managed to speed things up :)

  52. Emmett Moore
    12.8.2013

    I could not imagine paying $30 each month for my network sites. Would go broke really fast.

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 11th, 2013 at 9:11 am

      I wouldnt use this for my network sites either

  53. NJ
    12.4.2013

    I decided to follow-up on an email I had received from you. OMG! You have exposed me to another world. I am very thankful and excited.

    Your instructional style is perfect for me and I am sure others. Keep up the wonderful work and I will continue to share your knowledge with others.

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 5th, 2013 at 8:47 am

      Thanks very much :)

  54. Ryan
    12.2.2013

    It has been nearly a year. Do you feel increasing the speed of your site has added more money to your pocket?

    How are you quantifying this? Granted your reports every month have shown increases, but is there really anyway to track this?

    Thanks!

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 4th, 2013 at 10:54 am

      Yes for sure, I get huge amounts of feedback about how fast the site is so its definitely keeping people engaged and converting!

      • Ryan
        December 4th, 2013 at 4:23 pm

        Ok thanks Matt.

        I do enjoy your post(s) tremendously, but it would be cool to find a way to quantify the increase in site speed.

        Though I think that would be extremely hard to do.

        Thanks,

        Ryan

        • Matthew Woodward
          December 5th, 2013 at 8:49 am

          Hi Ryan,

          There are a number of studies around about this by people that have isolated that metric to measure its impact.

          The thing I would love to isolate and measure with it though is how site speed affects rankings.

  55. Tri Wahyudi
    11.27.2013

    Thank you, this is the information I need and I will apply to my website :D

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 1st, 2013 at 10:29 pm

      No worrys :)

  56. Jeff Gilden
    11.19.2013

    You’ve done it again Matt! Great tutorial! I’m gonna go speed up my site now!

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 19th, 2013 at 7:27 pm

      Thanks Jeff!

  57. Tuan Nguyen
    10.16.2013

    For people who are using VPS or Dedicated Server, you can try with Varnish cache layer before your web server software like: apache, nginx,…You will be very surprised because of its performance. I believe your site will response in milliseconds (not second right now). I’ve used Varnish in some of my websites written on my own CMS and Yii framework, not WordPress but I’ve also search on Google and found out that there are some tutorials guide you how to implement it. Hope this helps.

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 18th, 2013 at 11:20 am

      Yes implementing varnish and also making the switch to nginx will help with site speed – but most people aren’t on a VPS or dedi and won’t have access to do that.

      Its also hugely technical to setup =\

  58. Takeshi Young
    9.25.2013

    Great tutorial! There’s definitely a lot more I could be doing to speed up my sites, this post has inspired me to take some action!

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 26th, 2013 at 9:53 am

      Hustle hustle ^^

  59. Tino
    9.25.2013

    Great article Matt, you posted it at a perfect time for my business as we just updated our site and was looking to reduce the load time and increase speed. Thanks and keep up the good work.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 25th, 2013 at 9:16 am

      Let me know if you get stuck or need any help!

  60. Miroslav
    9.11.2013

    Hey, I guess I am just unlucky then!

    This is what happened:

    “Around Noon CST today the server that hosts your site encountered a catastrophic hardware failure. Our Datacenter partner Linode immediately initiated emergency procedures to bring the server back online. Over the last 4 hours, we have been attempting to bring the server online and now believe it is beyond repair.”

    They go on to say they will move my site to a completely new server, etc.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 14th, 2013 at 4:06 pm

      Ahhh well to have to replace an entire server sounds pretty hardcore to be honest, just luck of the draw with that and I was on a different server.

      Push for some compensation though :)

      • Miroslav
        September 14th, 2013 at 5:19 pm

        Yes, it’s pretty unfortunate. They kept their promise though, and fixed everything sooner than expected. I did ask for kind of compensation and they promised they will take care of it. Thanks for the replies Matt!

        • Matthew Woodward
          September 16th, 2013 at 9:59 am

          No worrys – glad to hear its sorted sorry about the problems!

          • Miroslav
            September 26th, 2013 at 7:54 pm

            Hey Matt,

            just to follow up on this – they gave me 3 months worth of hosting for free because of all the trouble. Thanks again!

          • Matthew Woodward
            September 30th, 2013 at 11:39 am

            That’s great to hear!

  61. Miroslav
    9.11.2013

    Hey Matt, how’s your downtime with WPengine?

    I have pretty bad experience with them so far (downtime, they don’t have their own DNS, nor email servers), since I signed up with them 5 months ago.

    Today there was a “catastrophic failure” of the server and my site will be down for at least 24 hours and reversed to 2 days before, in best case scenario.

    I had a couple of problems on HostGator, but never this often and especially not of this magnitude.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 11th, 2013 at 10:45 pm

      According to my pingdom account zero in the last 6 months.

      What happened exactly?

  62. Himanshu
    8.14.2013

    Love your posts. The best thing about this or any other article of yours is the way you write “title of the post”. That’s why inspite of having extremely busy schedule you consumed my 20 minutes. By the way it’s all worthwhile.

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 15th, 2013 at 7:09 am

      Thanks – I’ve actually had complaints about the titles before lol

  63. Jordan
    7.31.2013

    Hey Matt

    Thanks for this post. My adsense account told me my site was on the slow side so this has come just at the right time.

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 13th, 2013 at 4:07 pm

      Let me know how you get on!

  64. Nigel damon
    6.19.2013

    Hi Matt,

    quick question, why is your page rank so low?

  65. Arbaz Khan
    6.13.2013

    Nice article Matt,
    Never thought that the load time can affect the conversions rate.
    But I see that you use WPEngine hosting, is it better than other hosts like HostGator or Bluehost.
    I am on HG and am not facing issues with it.
    What are your views on it ?

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 13th, 2013 at 8:48 am

      Hi,

      Do a speed test and see how it performs for you – there is a huge difference between budget shared hosting and professional hosting.

      • zox
        June 20th, 2013 at 12:46 am

        As far as I can see this site is still hosted on stablehost. It uses stablehost DNS.

        • zox
          June 20th, 2013 at 1:38 am

          Actually it looks more like linode. Anyway let me know what exact hosting.plan you use. I noticed load time of your site is pretty good, even you have a lot of object on pages. For example loading my site takes longer time there are 5x less http requests that there.

          • Matthew Woodward
            June 20th, 2013 at 8:24 am

            Its the WPEngine personal plan with the CDN addon

        • Matthew Woodward
          June 20th, 2013 at 8:24 am

          The nameservers are with stablehost but WPEngine doesn’t use nameservers for its hosting configuration, its just an A record on the DNS.

  66. extremeluck
    5.1.2013

    Hi Matt,

    What was the other host with $0.99 per month?

  67. Gary
    4.16.2013

    Hi Matt, great article. I just used some of your steps to optimise a voucher code site that I haven’t done anything with in a while.

    1st TEST: pingdom was showing load time of 4.25s and page size of 675.1KB performance grade of 83/100

    – removed a plugin which was not in use. Ran the test again

    2nd TEST: pingdom now showing 2.91s and page size of 650.3KB performance grade 85/100

    – linked to google to load jquery.js instead of loading locally

    3rd TEST: pingdom now showing 1.44s :)

    Still got the images to reduce but I remember using smush.it before to do most of them

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 22nd, 2013 at 11:55 am

      Hi Gary,

      Great results! Amazing to see how an inactive plugin was holding you back that much!

      Thats money right there!

  68. hydride
    3.19.2013

    Hey Matthew, thanks for the post. Love it, almost tempted to switch, but then I saw the price.

    What about just switching over to Cloud Fare for the poor guys?

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 19th, 2013 at 9:25 am

      Hi,

      Yes they are a premium host and you should integrate the other suggestions first (although the host change had the biggest impact) – you can certainly give cloudflare a bash but make sure you measure the before/after effect!

  69. fesada
    2.13.2013

    IMHO you could get the same results by using w3total cache or any other caching plugin together with a cdn like maxcdn. This will have been cheaper than using wpengine. However though wpengine has some unique features. But is it worth it price? I don’t know

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 18th, 2013 at 10:53 am

      Hi,

      Yes you can use that combination and I do so on my other sites (that exact setup actually) – but WPEngine do so much more than that :)

      • fesada
        February 20th, 2013 at 6:37 am

        What more does it do? Besides speed what do you get more?

        • Matthew Woodward
          February 21st, 2013 at 1:40 pm

          The support is awesome, they take care of the updates – its all fully managed!

  70. Nate
    2.11.2013

    Hi Matt,

    Great post! All I ever do is use WP Super Cache and a CDN while on shared hosting (hostgator). But after reading your post, I’m excited to try out some code and image optimization!

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 11th, 2013 at 5:05 pm

      No worrys – I’m going to hire someone to do the entire blog properly once I’ve stopped tweaking it lol

  71. Cesar Noel
    2.3.2013

    With the exception of the hosting (which really depends on the client’s preference), I think most of tips here are great.

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 4th, 2013 at 11:46 am

      Thanks :)

      Although if the current host is affecting the clients conversion, it should not be their ‘preference’

  72. Matthew Hunt
    2.1.2013

    Matthew you a rock star. I’ve been using wpengine for a while now with my sites and clients sites. Love it. Only down fall is they don’t handle email…. not a huge biggie, but be nice to have the option.

    You also added a few more todo’s for my team to get site speed even tighter. Love the way you positioned this post.

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 5th, 2013 at 9:54 am

      Yeah I’ve got to say out of all the hosts I’ve used the past 10 years I have been more impressed with WPEngine than any other. Even my dealings with RackSpace left a lot to be desired.

      I’m all about conversion rate optimization and extracting value and site speed is often overlooked as a crucial factor in that.

      P.s. the email problem is easily solved with http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/outlook-handles-email-domain-hosting/

  73. Ian Wilcox
    1.31.2013

    Hi Matt,

    Linode is showing up as your host on a sneeky whois search.

    You have a UK website are you hosting it in the states or in the UK and are you still with Wpengine ?

    How have they been ?

    Like your blog keep it up!

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 31st, 2013 at 1:24 pm

      Hi,

      Yes I’m still with WPEngine and intend to stick with them for the performance gain it offers. The site is now hosted in the USA though but my audience is 25% USA, 20% UK and 5% India which is why I tested from all 3 locations :)

      The support is superb!

  74. Andy
    1.20.2013

    Very cool post. Almost convinced me to sign-up to WP Engine. Good job hah :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 21st, 2013 at 12:23 pm

      Your site is already pretty speedy =D

  75. Vince Collaso
    1.19.2013

    I learned more from this post than 95% of all other articles ever read! I new a bit about this, but I didn’t think there was this much to it. I’m turning up the heat and maximizing my site for better results from my existing traffic!

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 21st, 2013 at 12:22 pm

      Thanks very much :) Your site definitely needs the speed treatment!

  76. Mike Buyco
    1.19.2013

    Hi Matthew,

    Great tutorial. What about W3 total Cache? Do you also use it to speed up your site?

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 19th, 2013 at 10:28 am

      Hi,

      No WPEngine have their own custom written hardware based caching system so there is no need for separate caching plugins like W3 Total Cache.

  77. Iman
    1.15.2013

    Traffic influences the revenue, instead of the loading time of a website.

    Of course, loading speed of each website must me fast for all visitors, don’t use any heavy scripts which cause a site get slower. If a site get loads of traffic, consider VPS hosting or dedicated servers as main web hosting, not “shared” servers. e.g: 50,000+ unique visitors per month.

    Both are more expensive but good investment for huge traffic.

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 15th, 2013 at 9:53 am

      Hi,

      Yes traffic does influence revenue but design/speed/conversion influences it much more. You can be sure I earn more money from 100 visitors than most people earn from 1000.

  78. Casey Dennison
    1.15.2013

    Great write up Matt!

    Look’s like I’ll be upgrading to a new host, soon. Your blog is coming along pretty well. This year should be a good one, and I’m sure I’ll be around to watch it grow even bigger.

    Take care,

    Casey

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 15th, 2013 at 9:51 am

      Hi Casey,

      Thanks very much – it’s getting there slowly now :)

  79. Rijo
    1.15.2013

    Small sites cant afford the luxury of hosting. I have also heard of thesis framework or something which will speed up and rank website fast.

    Are you using wpengine or linode servers ?

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 15th, 2013 at 9:50 am

      Hi,

      Well regardless of the size of your site, the fact of the matter is for every second longer it takes to load – you lose 7% of your profits. Perhaps poor hosting is why they cant afford good hosting ^^

      Thesis is a lightweight framework/theme for WordPress – I have investigated getting the site converted to it but the cost vs reward was borderline.

  80. Alex @ Simple Affiliate
    1.14.2013

    Yikes I thought I knew a lot about this and you’ve given me a lot more to do – removing Smush it is a real surprise!

    Thanks for all the detail and references Matt.

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 14th, 2013 at 5:49 pm

      No worrys hope it helps you out!

  81. Syamsul Alam
    1.14.2013

    Wow, super great and very detailed post about optimizing site speed. Awesome.

    I don’t think that i can afford $50 per month for hosting yet, but when i do, i think i’ll also migrate (hostgator can be really slow sometimes).

    And i found several awesome free plugin from this tutorial, thanks a lot!

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 14th, 2013 at 10:01 pm

      Hi,

      Well when your blog reaches that stage you can pat yourself on the back :) I had noticed that with the increase visitor load the site and especially tutorial pages were performing poorly so it had outgrown the host =D

      I would say over and above that it is worth spending time minimising http requests for good results.

    • Umroh
      March 23rd, 2017 at 3:29 pm

      is it true that his influence for it?

  82. Richard Farrar
    1.14.2013

    Thanks for that Matthew, as always a very detailed and well written article. I’m not sure I’ll change my hosting just yet, but I’ll certainly look at implementing some of your other suggestions.

    It’ll be interesting to see how much difference to your revenue the speed increase will make, if indeed it’s possible for you to quantify it.

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 14th, 2013 at 5:49 pm

      No worrys let me know how it goes!

      • Tricksvile Concept
        August 1st, 2019 at 5:03 am

        Thank you Mat, am a fan of your great blog but I don’t think changing host will be suitable for my pocket now as a student. Right now am using namecheap I don’t know how you see there service

        • Matthew Woodward
          August 27th, 2019 at 1:01 pm

          And there might not be a reason to either! Just follow the free steps and see where you stand

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