Since I started my WordPress support and maintenance services, one of the biggest problems I frequently encounter is slow websites.
A website that moves like molasses becomes a liability for two critical reasons:
- Users are impatient today. A slow website is a bad user experience, which drives away potential fans and customers.
- Google penalizes slow websites. You hurt your Google search rankings when your website loads slowly.
One benefit of running a food blog is appreciating how blazing fast my website must be because the food blogging industry is extremely competitive. The first website to offer you a decent recipe is usually the website you’ll end up going with. Soon, you see “the rich get richer” phenomenon where the fastest food blogs get the most traffic.
How do you speed up your website?
This post will outline strategies you can follow with step-by-step guidance on how to implement them.
Unlike other blogging tutorials that teach you how to speed up your website, I take a different approach. As a believer in the 80/20 rule, this post divides the strategies into 2 sections:
- 20% effort for 80% of the benefits
- A greater effort for the last 20% of the benefits (if you’re optimizing to 100%)
I also order the strategies from the highest value to the lowest value and from the least to the
What’s the goal?
Our goal is to provide an excellent user experience and to get into Google’s good graces. Our goal is not punishing technical website changes. Therefore, choose 1 strategy and optimize it to the fullest. Don’t try all the strategies at the same time or else risk
Diagnose the problem
Do you have a speed and performance problem?
Check your website performance using the following resources:
If you have a text-based blog post with 1 hero image and no comments, it’s going to be much faster for users to load compared to a food blog post with 6+ full-sized images, custom image buttons, a Pinterest widget, GIFs, and Sumo running background analytics.
Therefore, get free recommendations from the tests above to determine the quick wins to tackle. Focus especially on Google’s PageSpeed Insights because it is not only reputable but also indicates your website’s performance in Google’s indexing.
Low-hanging fruit strategies to speed up your website
What are the “20% effort for 80% of the benefits” actions you can take to speed up your website (from the least to the most work)?
- Eliminate unnecessary plugins
- Make sure there is not a loop of bad redirects
- Enable caching using a plugin
- Optimize your images
- Lazy loading images
High-effort strategies to speed up your website
Once you’ve plucked the low-hanging fruit, consider these higher-effort strategies. They are worthwhile but they require more time and energy, and YMMV (your mileage may vary). Some strategies may take you more than a day to set up (from the most to the least beneficial).
- Syndicate your website on a content delivery network (CDN)
- Turn on Google PageSpeed Module
- Change to a different theme that is better optimized for mobile
- Use tables instead of images when there’s an image of a table
Of course, back up your website before you try any of these strategies.
Finally, one mistake I made when I began blogging was focusing too much on speeding up my website and SEO. Instead, I should have focused on delivering the highest-quality content I could muster.
Delivering a state-of-the-art user experience is a nice problem to have once you start driving traffic and readers are lingering. Until then, bookmark this post and only come back to optimizing your website speed when you’ve got something worth sharing!