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!
But why does that happen?
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.
What Will I Learn?
- 6x Free Steps To Improving Your Website Speed
- The Ultimate Setup For Website Speed
6x Free Steps To Improving Your Website Speed
Improving 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-
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)-
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!
It’s a quick, free and easy way to activate caching on your site and it’s really customizable.
Step #3: Optimise Your Images
Images are one of the major contributing factors to slow websites.
That’s because they 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-
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-
It might take a while, but once it’s done you will have shaved off significant page size for free!
How To Enable WebP Images
If you are serious about increasing website speed, you need to enable WebP images.
WebP is a new image format like JPG or PNG except it can reduce image sizes by a further 25-36%.
I am serving WebP images on this blog with the help of ShortPixel–
All you do is tick those boxes and voila!
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 you set it up like this-
Pay close attention to the “Include lazysizes aspectratio plugin” option that will stop the page jumping around like crazy.
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–
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.
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…
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-
These are the results I had before:
But after a lot of testing and tweaking with various combinations of different plugins…
…I was able to make some significant improvements-
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 For Website Speed
If you follow the 6x steps above, you can increase your website speed without spending a penny.
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-
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-
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.
This took images that had already being compressed with the free WPSmush plugin and then compressed them a futher 46%-
Not only that:
But you can shave an additional 25-36% off your images by clicking 2 boxes to deploy the WebP image format-
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:
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.
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-
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 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-
Even a short delay could cost you thousands of dollars.
On the other hand a small improvement could increase your bottom line.
You’ve got 2 choices on how to do that-
If you follow either of those paths, you’ll see a drastic change in your website’s speed.
And once you have taken care of that, you might want to take advantage of another confirmed Google ranking factor – HTTPS.