Speed Is Critical! - How To Improve You Site Speed
Last Update: Oct 4, 2020
Hey there, guys and gals. I hope you're doing great!
I just wanted to share a recent experience I had related to the speed of my website and show you why your website speed is critical and how you can improve it to get better results in search engines.
First of all, Wealthy Affiliate's technology is unparallel and is almost sufficient enough to get you perfect score on Site Speed Insights test or any other speed test out there.
However, there's always room for a human error, which can cause negative results and set you back for months, like it was the case with my site.
As you know, Google has released an update in May 2020. Some website noticed a spike in traffic while some others lost a lot. I was in the latter group. Just as I was starting to snowball my traffic (250 - 300 unique users per day and growing), Google came in with an update and slapped me back at the bottom.
I lost almost all my traffic in a day!
I was shocked and was wondering, of course, why did this happen and how can I fix it.
One of the things that I noticed on all major blogs in the SEO niche is that Google is considering the site speed as one of the key ranking factors in 2020 and beyond. It's not the top ranking factor, but it is considered now to be one of the five top taking factors.
You see, users and information is Google's business. In other words, they, as a company, want to give their users the best possible experience and the top quality information.
Needless to say, if you want the top results, you must have the top-quality information on your site, and you must improve your user experience! Speed is one of the leading factors in this category.
Think about it. We live in a world where we want faster and faster results all the time. If a user doesn't get what he wants in a few seconds, he or she is going to bounce away from your site, and you will lose business.
Moreover, if this is the case, Google is going to lose business too. That's why they don't want to give rankings to slow loading website. It isn't good for their business also!
So you must agree that site speed is critical these days.
Now, when it comes to providing the top-quality information, you'll find everything you need to know about writing helpful blog posts right here at Wealthy Affiliate. On top of that, WA's hosting and website technology are also unparalleled.
But as I said, there's always room for a human error and a chance to improve this.
For example, I discovered that according to Google's Site Speed Insights test, my site took, check this out, 34 seconds (!!!!) to load on all devices in April (a month before Google's last major update).
If you don't know, Google will tolerate up to 3 seconds! And I was getting ten times worse results on speed test!
So I went on a mission to fix this and hopefully get back my traffic and rankings.
After a few months of banging my head against the wall, I managed to fix this issue, and my traffic is now back where it was five months ago. Yes, I lost five months of progress...but I didn't give up!
Now, I'm back on track, and I'm optimistic that I have fixed my quarrel with Google.
My users now don't have to wait for ages for my site to load, which means that their experience is good when they land on my site and I'm doing my best to serve them the top-quality information too!
This, in turn, brought me back where I was five months ago, and I'm hoping for even better results in the next few months and years.
So without any further ado, here are some tips and trick you can use to improve the speed of your site and provide a much better experience to your users.
1. Install a Fast Loading and Mobile Friendly Theme
I know that all of you (including myself) want to have the most beautiful site of them all. And we're prepared to do everything to have it that way. That's why people chose to use professional themes that have a lot of cool features which allow you to customize your site.
However, these cool looking themes that have tons of customization features will slow down your website dramatically!
Moreover, even some straightforward themes that may look simple could be poorly designed and coded and thus, slow down your site speed as well.
My advice is to find yourself a theme like GeneratePress or any other that is designed to load fast and is mobile friendly. You can Google keywords "fast loading WP themes", and you'll get tons of great suggestions.
When I first heard of this, I thought to myself; I'm f***ed! LOL
I took advice from an expert to install the Autoptimize plugin.
This plugin is automatically going to minify and optimize all your codes so that Google crawl bots can read them with ease and thus, load your site with blazing speed.
Autopitimize is a straightforward plugin to use. You can find tons of tutorials on YouTube on how to set it up properly. If you don't have it yet, make sure to use it!
Also, a word of caution, don't instal more than one plugin to minify your code. They could mess with one another and break your site!
Make sure to install only one minify plugin! Autoptimize is the easiest one to use (all of them are equally effective).
3. Compress and Optimize Your Images
We all like to add tons of cool images to make our posts look fantastic. While images are most certainly a good idea, it's also critical to understand that you must optimize them and compress, so they don't cause any loading issues.
You can use Autopitimze plugin to enable a feature called Lazy Load. It causes your images to load when the user reaches them instead of loading all images at once. This little trick shaves off a few seconds from your site loading time.
Also, make sure you use one size for all images. I use Canva to serve my images size of 650px X 400px. This is not critical, but it improves user experience.
Lastly, make sure to compress your images before uploading them. I'm using the TinyPNG website to compress all my photos before I upload them to my posts. This is going to make sure you site loads much faster!
4. Leverage WA's Site Speed Feature
I'm aware that Wealthy Affiliate has a caching system built-in with your hoasting, which is fantastic. You can enable caching within your Website manager.
Go to Websites section and click on Site Manager. Then, click on Details of the site you wish to improve. It will open a new page where you can enable a feature called Site Speed. Make sure to allow Extreme quality as well.
5. Don't Overload Your Site With Plugins
This is something that has been mentioned in training, as well. However, it is tough to execute this one. Plugins are handy, and as you move forward, you're naturally going to use more and more of them.
Just make sure not to overload your site with tons of plugins. If you don't need it, ditch it!
6. Always Find Room To Improve
As a last piece of advice, you should always keep your site up to date with the latest trends. Web technology is improving at a fast pace, and if you want to stay on top, you must follow the latest trends.
That's it, guys and gals!
I've used these suggestions, and my site speed improved dramatically. As a result, Google is slowly but safely giving me back what was taken away from me a few months ago.
The next update is officially going to roll out in January 2021, and for the first time, Google has given an official notice regarding what the update is going to be about.
Can you guess what the main focus of the update is?
User experience! Google wants to clear the top ten results from sites that are bad for their business. They will, without any mercy, remove sites that are slow, poorly designed, and do not provide the information related to users queries.
So make sure to focus your attention more on your users and less on some other things, such as your income, traffic, etc.
Make sure your site is loading fast enough. You don't have to obsess over getting top scores. Just make sure your site is loading under 3-4 seconds on both mobile and desktop, and you're golden. Use those tips from above, and you'll get there, no doubt.
Also, keep writing great content consistently and enjoy the ride!
Thanks for reading, and I hope my experience is going to help you.
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