Utilize Milliseconds to Create a Great First Impression With Your WordPress Website Speed. Here’s How!

wordpress website speed-header

Having a fast loading website is vital nowadays, and it’s worth spending time and money to make that happen. Recent studies show that the average waiting time expected from power users of the internet is 2 seconds for a website, so it’s clear that users are not big on patience. The funny thing is that the average loading time of websites is around 7 seconds now which is far from the 2 second goal.

Can you imagine the effect a slow running site can have on the user’s experience? If your site loads as though it’s powered through dial up then you’re in for a whole world of problems. Slow website speed has a knock on effect on how users see your brand. Your online presence has to represent you so it’s important to create the best impression immediately. It can be a deciding factor on whether a user or potential client stays around to wait on your site loading or if they move on to the next site.

Amazon researched the effect of site loading speeds on their sales and found they had 1% more sales on every 100 milliseconds faster load of their website (Source: Amazon). Now this is Amazon, which is a massive shopping portal with millions of potential transactions on a daily basis.

They have the resources to track their performance and make improvements as required. You may be wondering how that can help you but in this article we’ll take you through some steps you can take to ensure you can compete with the big guns in terms of delivering the best first impression.

It’s not just the industry giants who have the ability to improve website speed. The good news is that you can also improve your website speed by concentrating on HTTP requests, server response times and various other methods to boost your loading times.

So whether you have an online store or you use your website as an online portfolio of your niche, we can all agree that the first impression a user has of your site is one of the most important things to create. Here are some methods to help you speed up your site and ensure you grab each user’s attention for the right reasons.

HTTP Requests

wordpress website speed-http requests

In general about 80% of the site load time is spent on loading different media or sections from external sources, such as fonts, images, video, css and so on. For each of these objects, your site will trigger an HTTP request and that is a time consuming process. So you need to reduce those connections as much as you can. One of the best methods to do so is combining your stylesheets and Javascript files and also embedding background images inside css code itself.

Server Response Time

wordpress website speed-server response

This is one of the most essential parts of having a quick website. Although we can do our best to minimize the HTTP requests, we can’t avoid triggering some to have our website loaded. Here comes the role of a good hosting service provider, which will give a quick server response time and complete each HTTP request in a less time consuming way. Choosing a good company is more important than the plan you choose, as you can change the plan whenever you want, but changing from one company to another can be a cumbersome task.

Compression

wordpress website speed-compression

You can always achieve the same result with a smaller source code file size. For example if you strip out the space characters of a css file you can minimize its size up to 15%. So it’s very important that you traverse all of your Javascript, CSS and other source files and try to compress them as much as possible. Also there are some compression techniques that can be done server side, such as gzip. Those kind of compression techniques are supported by some hosting service providers. If not, then you need to do it yourself to ensure maximum compression rate on your server side code.

Caching

wordpress website speed-caching

Caching is another method which will improve the user experience. One of the common ways of caching is to do the compiling process of PHP files in server and generate HTML result files. By doing this each request of the file will not lead to the CPU process of the server and will be a simple HTTP request. There are different methods to cache a website, and there are a few good plugins which can be used to increase the WordPress website speed, such as WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache. There are many detailed settings that need to be taken care of using those plugins, to make sure you will reach the trade off point, where caching is done properly, and also ensure users will not miss updates due to overuse of this functionality.

Media Compression

wordpress website speed-media compression

Another point which will make your website so much lighter, is to know where to use which media format and compress that media. For example, a PNG file results in a lighter file for chart images, but JPEG format will work better for pictures. Also there are some compression methods you can perform using your image editing software. Finally, there are softwares and online services to compress things to the maximum level at the last stage, such as WP Smush.

Placing External Source Calls

wordpress website speed-external file

Browsers interpret HTML files, which means the browser will read the HTML file from top to bottom and do whatever instructed there. So if you add a big Javascript file fetch instruction at the very top of the file, the browser will halt rendering the page until that file loads completely. That’s why it’s wise to move big external file fetch instructions at the bottom of the file, and let important visual aspects of the page load beforehand. Also there are some Javascript techniques called Lazy Loading to help with this.

Content Delivery Network

wordpress website speed-content delivery network

A content delivery network (CDN) is a system of distributed servers (network) that deliver webpages and other Web content to a user, based on the geographic locations of the user, the origin of the webpage and a content delivery server. This is a great method to avoid latency on delivering different media or resources of a page due to single server restrictions, such as slow connection, traffic of data and so on. There are well known CDN services in the market that you can take advantage of to boost your WordPress website speed.

Avoid Redirection

wordpress website speed-redirection

More redirection to another page or domain equals more HTTP requests and that is a bad pattern. A good example of such methods is to redirect users to a mobile specific version of the website while accessing the page by mobile devices. It is recommended that the website should be coded with responsive methods in mind from scratch to avoid such redirections, and handling design changes for touch devices automatically using CSS3 media queries.

Less Plugins

wordpress website speed-plugins

WordPress is known for its cool plugins and ways to achieve specific goals without the need of coding things from scratch. Although that is a good point, it can also be a bad thing. There are many nonstandard plugins in the market, both free or paid variations, which are coded badly and expose security holes and slow down your website. So it is important to choose the best plugin and keep the count as low as possible. Avoid having unnecessary plugins installed on your website.

Light Above the Fold

wordpress website speed-light fold

All the techniques we mentioned will do a great job speeding up the website, ensuring you captivate the attention of even the most impatient user. However, at the end of the day what the visitor sees once the website actually loads is the most important thing as it will create the first impression. So it’s very important to keep the above the fold (top half) section of the website as light as possible, and keep the load intensive section below it. This way the user feels that the website is loaded quickly, which is not actually under the hood.

Artbees Care

Artbees Care landing page

So to recap, it’s very important that you pay attention to the upload speed of your site to ensure it works as efficiently as possible and keeps the users engaged on your content and not your competitor’s. Increasing the WordPress website speed can be a time consuming and sometimes tricky technical process, and it’s not something everyone is technically equipped to do. It’s too important a process to be left to chance.

Sometimes the best way is to let the professionals handle it and this is where the Artbees Care service comes in to play. Artbees technical staff can help you increate your WordPress website speed incorporating the items above and more. That way you’ll get the optimum loading speed you need without having to worry about the technical aspects.

You can concentrate on your content and our dedicated team of experts will review your site carefully, diagnose the issues surrounding speed and then optimize your site for maximum performance. We will work with you to create the best impression first time around. For more detailed information about this service click here.

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