No one is unaware that the loading speed of a website is still one of the crucial aspects of good positioning. However, few people know how to optimize this part of the On-Page. Today, I will give you some tips to improve the loading speed of your website.
Why is it important to improve the loading speed of your website?
Before we get into the tricks to improve the loading speed of your website, it might be a good idea to talk about why it is so important to make your website go faster. Surely you already know what we are going to comment on, but it is worth remembering:
Google rewards you
The first reason is that Google rewards websites that a page load time fast. Loading speed is a ranking factor, and as a result, the higher the loading speed, the better the ranking (assuming everything else stays the same, of course).
Two main reasons :
- User experience: First of all, we have the obvious reason: a good loading speed improves the user experience. It is logical. The user prefers websites that load quickly, and Google rewards those websites that satisfy the user. Not much else to scratch here.
- Cheaper for Google: Secondly, a website performance that loads quickly is a site speed that reduces the cost of running Google. This is perhaps less known, but it is also key. Google works by downloading versions of all the pages you visit, which involves a huge consumption of resources. If all the pages in the world become 10% lighter and 10% faster, Google will reduce the cost of crawling the web by 10%.
So a fast website page speed is good for the user and Google. Logically, Google is interested in encouraging fast websites, and a very simple way to do it is by improving the positioning of website speed that load quickly.
The user rewards
Secondly, the user rewards websites that load quickly. This is positive in itself, even if you received 0 visits from Google and all your traffic came from, for example, social networks.
It is more than studying: The user does not wait. If your website takes time to load, it leaves and looks for an alternative. Each additional second in the loading speed of your website makes you lose a percentage (variable, but not small) of users.
This is very important because losing users means losing money. So you are interested in optimizing the loading speed even without considering how good it is to improve rankings.
Two keys before entering flour
Before going to the tricks, let’s discuss a couple of keys that we must understand to get the most out of the optimization tips and, in general, our time, money, and resources available for SEO :
However, it should note that the improvement in ranking derived from the improvement in loading speed does not scale well.
If your website takes 4 seconds to load and you reduce that loading speed to 2 seconds, you will notice a great improvement. Going down from 2 seconds to 1 will also give you edit, but not as big. Going down from 1 to 0.5 seconds will hardly be noticeable.
So once we’ve gotten below 2 seconds of loading time, there’s no need to work on it anymore.
If you have any additional fixes that don’t require time or effort, go for it. But if you need a lot of time or effort to improve a little more, forget it. You will better spend that time and effort on content creation, CRO, or link building.
WPO is not uploaded speed, and upload speed is not WPO
Another little thing that we have to understand before talking about the tricks to improve the loading speed of a website is that loading speed is not the same as WPO, and WPO is not the same as loading speed.
When we talk about WPO, we talk about Web Performance Optimization. That is the optimization of web performance. The difference is subtle, but it is relevant.
Load speed refers to how long it takes to load an entire page, from the first to the last of the resources.
Instead, performance refers to how the different elements of the page load and its optimization aim to satisfy the user, not make everything go fast.
In this sense, a website that takes 3 seconds to load completely, but has what is necessary for the user in 0.5 seconds, is a website with better optimization in terms of WPO and loading speeds than a website that has everything ready. In 2 seconds, but it doesn’t show anything until those two seconds have elapsed.
To finish explaining this, we must address two concepts proposed by Google itself in its Core Web Vitals (actually, Google offers four, but these two are the most important):
First Contentful Paint (FCP)
First of all, we have the First Contentful Paint or FCP, which refers to the time it takes for the first element of a website to appear.
Our server’s weight, redirects, and other technical aspects are very high in how much FCP we have.
Of course, we are interested in having the smallest FCP possible.
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
Second, we have the Largest Contentful Paint or LCP, which refers to the time it takes for the largest element on the web page to appear.
The LCP is usually a bit less important, although we should also work on making the speed as fast as possible. In addition, the weight of hosting and other technical aspects is not so pronounced.
As you can guess, the LCP is directly related to the FCP. The higher the FCP, the higher the LCP will necessarily be.
Focused on the WPO
Be that as it may, we are interested in optimizing the two aspects that we have just seen and achieving a good loading rate, good performance, and a good WPO.
And that’s what we’re going to talk about in the following sections.
Tricks to improve the WPO and the loading speed of your website
Next, I mention the tricks that you must follow to improve the WPO of your website (they are ordered from most important to least important, so start at the beginning):
1. Measuring your upload speed and WPO
The first thing you have to do when optimizing the WPO of a website is to know what situation it is in. For this, we will have to make precise measurements.
This is quite simple. All you need is to use some tools. These, specifically:
- Google PageSpeed Insights
You have to take some important pages of your website (for example, the front page and the two or three most visited pages) and run them through those tools.
Once you have done it, you have to write down the results in Excel to have everything controlled.
Later, when you’ve done all the optimizations, you’ll need to run those same pages through the tools again and note down the results to see the improvement you’ve made.
Once we have this, we can apply the specific tricks to improve the loading speed and the WPO of the web.
2. Use a good hosting
The very first trick is to use good hosting. You don’t need spectacular hosting. There are hostings specially designed for your website to FLY, but it is not necessary that you go for them (among other things, because they are quite expensive). But you have to have good hosting.
If you are on a shared plan of low-quality hosting to save a few euros, I recommend changing the chip. If you want your web project to work, you need decent hosting, not a shared one.
The difference in loading speed between a good hosting and an excellent hosting is not brutal, but the difference between a bad hosting and a good hosting is. Also, good hosting will prevent your website from going down (or at least reduce the number of times your website goes down).
So this is the first thing you should do.
3. Enabling GZip compression
The next step will be to enable GZip compression. We can do this in many ways, but the easiest thing is to use a cache plugin that allows it (because, later, we will have to use it more).
Nowadays, almost all caching plugins allow you to enable GZip compression, so it’s lossless. You can use Fastest Cache, W3 Total Cache, or the one you like the most.
In case, for whatever reason, you don’t want to use a caching plugin, you will have to go to the .htaccess and add this code:
However, remember that you can lose that modification every time the .htaccess is updated (and there are a thousand and one plugins that can do this automatically).
That is why it is more advisable to automate it through a plugin.
The same caching plugin that you used to enable GZip will allow you to cache different types of files.
You should do so because the browser cache will make the website load faster for recurring visitors (or those who move from one page to another within your website, since the elements of both are the same by 90%).
Again, in case you don’t want to use a caching plugin, you can force caches from .htaccess. To do this, you can use this code:
Expires Default A9030400
Expires Default A2592000
Expires Default A604800
However, it’s best to do this via the caching plugin because it allows you to keep your .htaccess constantly updated, and it’s also easier to configure and change when needed.
I prefer to make these codes load last rather than asynchronously, but you can use whichever works best (try both options and see which option improves load speed the most).
The only thing you can do here is a review which scripts you load and determines which ones you can move and can’t. If you can move 6 or 7, that’s fine. You will notice a big improvement in loading speed, even though you may not be able to move 100% of your scripts.
6. Using CDNs
Now we go with a magical step. And it’s magic because it improves your loading speed to spectacular levels and has practically no difficulty. It’s super easy. That is why it is so striking that few people take advantage of it. It’s about using a CDN.
A CDN is a network of servers in different parts of the world that keep a copy of your website. When users access your website, the CDN serves them the content they want from the closest server. In this way, the information travels much faster to its destination.
And in addition, it has the advantage that it does not overload the server, which is always good.
For starters, a CDN like Cloudflare is more than enough. Setting it up is lossless, so we won’t spend time explaining it here. You enter, you register, you apply the basic configuration (don’t do any more fancy stuff if you don’t know what you’re doing), and that’s it.
The hardest part is changing the DNS, and changing DNS is a piece of cake, so imagine how easy it is to start using a CDN. And I assure you that the change is noticeable (and much).
7. Loading images with Lazy Loading
The next step is to use Lazy Load for the images. This point is important. And again, it is very noticeable in exchange for a practically zero workload (nowadays, with installing a plugin, you are leftover).
To understand the matter: When the browser arrives at a page, it loads everything on the page, both what is visible and what is not visible (you should scroll to make it appear on the screen).
This means that if you have a 3,000-word, 10-image guide, what the browser does is load those 10 images right out of the box. Just as the user lands on your website. And, as you well know, images are resources that weigh a lot and take time to load.
On the other hand, if you use Lazy Loading, the images are not loaded until the user reaches them. So, in the example above, if there is only one image at the top of the page, that will be the only image the browser loads. The other 9, it will ignore.
This can mean that instead of 300kb of images, you upload 30. The reduction is 10 to 1. That’s a lot. Let’s not say if we talk about images that weigh more.
With Lazy Load, the web loads fast, and when the user scrolls, the web only has to load the following images as they appear. And, because all of the other web components have already been loaded, this is a fairly speedy process.
As a result, Lazy Load is necessary. Use the Image Lazy Load plugin to implement it. It’s installed, activated, and then forgotten about.
8. Compressing CSS, JS, and HTML
The next step is to compress CSS files, JS, and HTML. This is something that the vast majority of caching plugins allow you to do, so if you already have one installed, all you have to do is configure the options for it.
It’s very easy, and it doesn’t break anything on the web (or it shouldn’t) because all it does is remove comments, whitespace, and other junk from code files.
If you want to do it manually, you can use a tool (like this one), but I recommend doing it via a plugin. If not, you will have to re-compress the files every time you update a plugin.
Do not expect a spectacular increase in loading speed with this little trick, but it is very easy to apply, and it is silly not to take advantage of it.
9. Combining files
In this case, it is best to make a backup of the web before touching anything in case the web bursts.
This way, we will know what has broken the web (if something violates it).
However, the normal thing is that the web does not break, so do not worry either (besides, if it breaks, it can be easily fixed).
10. Compressing images
You should always apply this trick, although it will only work for new images that you use on your website, not for those you have already published (unless you upload them again, of course).
The trick is to compress the images. You can do this with tools like Smush. It’s on TinyPNG (I particularly like the latter).
Some plugins optimize images when uploading them, but I prefer to do it manually with tools of this type.
Note that the reduction you can get with these tools is quite a beast. I’ve seen images go from 1MB to 100KB or less without losing ANY quality. So you have to take advantage.
11. Shrinking images
Another trick that we can use is image reduction in line with the above. Not your compression, no. Its reduction. An image of 1000 × 1000 pixels becomes, for example, 300 × 300.
Keep in mind that the images we use on our websites are rarely displayed at a huge size. Unless you have an eCommerce or a website where photography is important, the user does not care about the large image.
Therefore, you should understand the largest size at which images are displayed on your website and each time you upload an image, resize it to fit that size.
You resize the image, pass it through TinyPNG and upload it. You can get a reduction of more than 90% of the weight of the image.
If you publish articles with a lot of images, this is essential (as is LazyLoad).
12. Optimizing databases
Another thing you can do is optimize the databases you use on your website. Generally, you will only use one database on your websites (in WordPress). But, even if it is only one, you can optimize it.
Optimizing a database consists of eliminating unnecessary records. And I do not recommend that you go beyond that because you can load the web.
It’s also important to note that optimizing your database isn’t going to change load speed very much. It will be very little noticeable. However, like with some of the earlier examples, installing a plugin is all you have to do. Thus it is free.
13. Checking the changes
And that’s it. With the above tricks, you will have significantly improved the loading speed of your website and the WPO in general.
As you can see, these tips to improve the loading speed of your website are very easy to apply and will allow you to have a website that goes at lightning speed. And, thanks to this, you will be able to position yourself better, Which is what matters!