We all know that a fast website is essential.
Not only does it convert better, but Google has stated time after time that site speed is a critical factor in its ranking algorithm.
Does this sound familiar?
Every time you test your website's speed on GTmetrix or Google's developer speed test, the best score you achieve is a low D? And then you stare at the recommendations thinking "what the heck?"
Well, don't worry, in this article we're going to walk you through six simple steps towards fixing your WordPress site so that you're seeing results like the following:
Yes, this is possible.
The above is a real world, full e-commerce store that you can view for yourself here. It's powered by Thrive Theme Builder and we got it to a 99% performance score by following the six simple steps included in this article.
1 - Make sure you have a good hosting provider
In 2021 if you still haven't found a good hosting provider that probably means that you've been living under a rock.
There are many great affordable solutions for solopreneurs and small businesses such as WPengine and WPX. We've used both of these in the past and we can definitely vouch for them.
If you'd like a more premium hosting service you can also host with us on one of our dedicated servers. Reach out to us in the chat box below and we'll get you up and running in no time!
2 - Optimize images
Most of the new clients that we onboard typically come to us with pages weighing in at 8MB or more!
This is an insane amount of content to be asking people to download onto their browsers upon arriving to your site.
Pages should ideally be under 1MB all-around. This means that you should not have over 500KB worth of image assets on your home page.
Optimizing images for web is actually not that difficult. The first thing you should do is make sure you're scaling them in photoshop or Pixelmator to a decent size. 1920x1080 does it well for hero images.
Once you've done that, get shortpixel or imagify and let them take care of the rest!
3 - Implement a good caching plugin
There are several plugins out there that can do many of the great things that we'll talk about in a second.
Here at Green Light Digital we can vouch for WP Rocket. It's affordable and gets the job done beautifully!
A good caching system will make sure that your web host is not having to work frantically every time someone lands on one of your pages. WordPress is an awesome tool for creating dynamic, user maintainable websites, but it also consumes significant server resources.
Tools like WP Rocket help solve this problem.
Once you have installed WProcket on your site, head over to its caching settings and make sure you're combining, minifying and deferring CSS and JS. There is also an option to defer JS. These three steps are crucial in obtaining a good website speed score.
Note: WProcket can rarely cause alterations on your site's design depending on what theme you're on. We haven't had any issues with Thrive Theme Builder. However, if this is the case for you, go back and revert these changes. Activate them one by one again and figure out which one is causing you troubles.
5 - Get Cloudflare
This is not required but we do recommend getting Cloudflare if you're heavy on content or have a significant amount of traffic. For larger websites it's definitely worth it and will make the user experience much smoother.
However, you can still get a 99% performance score without Cloudflare.
6 - Use a well optimized WordPress Theme
We can't recommend Thrive Theme Builder enough.
We have been using Thrive Themes since 2014 and 2020 was a major turning point for them with the release of Thrive Theme Builder.
Today, Green Light Digital builds all of its' clients sites using a custom made theme powered by Thrive Theme Builder.
It's lightning fast. It works great for all sorts of sites including e-comm. And, most importantly, it gives you complete control over your sites' design and functionality.
And that's it!
If you follow these steps you can definitely get your site to that A performance score without a doubt, and if all of this sounds a bit too technical for your tastes, just shoot us a message and we'll gladly help you resolve your site speed issues.