Speed Is Critical! - How To Improve You Site Speed

Last Update: Oct 4, 2020

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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.

2. Minify CSS, Javascript & HTML

When I first heard of this, I thought to myself; I'm f***ed! LOL

But lucky for us, we don't have to know what CSS, Javascript & HTML are. All you need to know is that these things if optimized could improve your site speed for a few seconds!

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.

Conclusion

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.

Your friend,

Ivan :)

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Recent Comments

120

Hi Ivan, sorry to bother you again.
So I had a week's work to do and optimized all my pictures by hand, made sure they are all under 80kb or maximum.

The desktop speed is usually 'in the green' now or only just below 90, so thats good.
But mobile speed is around 70 only, sometimes a bit higher. Is your mobile speed fine as well or is it normal that it is lower than desktop? (cellphone is pretty important for my site, it has the upper hand from viewers)

All the other hints you gave in this blog post I have been working on or are changed.

When I look at the details on speedinsights, the pictures seem ok now (pfoeee luckily lol) , but I still get this message to 'reduce server response time' . And get referred to this page for more information : https://web.dev/time-to-first-byte/

Is this still a problem at my end? When reading and trying to understand it , I don't think it is due to my fault or is it?

thanks again!

If you're getting around 90 on desktop and around 70 on mobile, that's great! Don't overanalyze it. You simply can't get a perfect score. My TTFB is also in red as well as some other stuff but my site is performing very well in search engines. Do you know why? Because I focus more on creating a great piece of content.

You're doing great. Just keep your focus on creating content consistently. That's the most important ranking factor!

Search fo rmember named Calvinator3 and he has a training titled:

"Screen Shots and Editing the Easy Way" It is about resizing your images. It might help you. Good luck!

Well, that is a relief, thanks again! ( it was actually both at more than 90 yesterday at a certain point, yessss! ). Happy me and happy Easter!

Thanks Sophie as well, have a nice weekend!

I have a lot of work left to do to minimize all the pictures on my site, but I have something to add to this blog post that might be helpful to others.
It is a great tip to use as few as possible plugins, but I already had just about 8 plugins, all of them needed. So I read by coincidence on Facebook (a group that supports Generate press theme), that the plugin Elementor slows down a lot of your site.
My site speed was at 65 first, I deactivated Elementor, and what do you know? It is up to 80 now! And it doesn't look like it has affected my site in any other way.
So I'm going to back up my site first, you never know, and then all together delete Elementor completely, because it sure seems to make a huge difference!
But a warning for people not using Generate press: deleting Elementor could have an effect on your site, if I understand well?
Maybe this could be the last push for your site speed, if anyone else is having issues still,like me?
Best of luck everyone!

Thank you for your notes, I believe if speeds are 70 plus it is great.

Thanks for sharing this. I too was using Elementor with GeneratePress and it messed up my entire theme at one point, so I deleted it. In fact, all those plugins such as Elementor and Thrive Builder tend to slow down websites dramatically.

Hi Ivan,
Thanks for these useful tips. I really need to improve the speed of my site which is what brought me to your training. I'm wondering what I should do with the thousands of images I already have on my site. I know you say use canva to resize and TinyPNG to compress, but does this mean I should go through all my old images and take them off and start afresh? Obviously this would be a big job, but I would do it if it meant helping my website. What's your honest opinion on whether I should take the time to do this?
I already use image optimising plugins. Are these not enough?
Thanks :-)

Ivan, this was gold buddy!
I just created a clone site of my main site, to move across to the GeneratePress theme (to improve my site performance and align all my sites on GP as I have the Premium edition), but when I tested the sitespeed, there was no huge improvement and it still was in the orange, which got me a little worried I'd wasted my time!

But I read this post, made a few tweaks, particularly the Autoptimise plugin (which GP recommend and have instructions on their site on how to integrate and setup) and WOW - 99/100 for desktop sitespeed! Mobile still not as good, but far better than it was before.

Appreciate this very much - hopefully this will give my page rankings an added boost!

Cheers,
Gareth

Cheers! I'm happy this post was helpful. Best of luck

Hey Ivan,

Did you go into SiteManager, and make sure you have your site speed set to "Extreme" here on the WA platform?

After reading this article, I set it to Extreme, and it improved my speed a bit. I had it set one notch below for some reason(I didn't even know WA offered this great feature. Duh!)

Hey Gareth,

you can also use AssetCleanup along with Autoptimize, and that may improve your mobile speed.

There's a video tutorial in AssetCleanup that helps you reduce the size of files that might be slowing you down.

You have to be patient with it, but it's worth it in the end.

I have 14 plugins running on my site, and the speed is really good. You can achieve the same results if you're willing to tweak a little more.

Best of luck!


Steven

Hey Steven,

Thanks for this - sorry for the delayed reply!

Will give it a look, thanks :) It definitely pays dividends to get this sort of stuff dealt with and planned for at the beginning stages so that there's less issue later. Hopefully having a really good sitespeed will give my SEO and ranking an extra boost in my growth phase of my website.

I have also got quite a few plugins - I really cannot see how you can run a website like we are taught to/how we need to, with 5 or less (or is it 3 or less we're told to have?)! So to be able to have your cake and eat it too, is the way it's supposed to be :)

Cheers,
G.

Hey Gareth,

Very true. And I think you can have more plugins on your site, as long as they're fairly lightweight, and you manage your site speed along the way.

One lady on the platform here said she had 34 plugins on her site, if memory serves.

That's a bit extreme, but you can certainly have more than 5.

Best of luck to you, my friend!


Steven

And to you bud, take care :)

Cheers,
G.

Hey Ivan,

Thanks so much for writing this post.

I would like to share as well that for image optimization, I've found Optimole very good.

It's easy to set up.

I also wanted to let everyone know that if they have some really critical issues with their site, they can look at using Asset Cleanup.

They need to turn off the site speed feature before installing, I believe, because it also caches information.

But Asset Cleanup has some video tutorials in the setup area that can speed up your site significantly.

Again, it's kind of an ace in the hole if your site has some serious issues, but I found it helpful.

Cheers man. I'll see you around the platform.


Michael

Hey Michael, you're welcome and thanks for sharing your experience as well. I'm sure others will find it useful.

Ivan :)

Yes, I hope so...

Having issues with your site sucks...

Well, it's tough to be a solopreneur. Thanks for contributing!

True...

You really need to wear a lot of different hats.

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