Understanding how to speed up your website can be a challenge to a novice webmaster or small business owner. Tackling this important issue, however, can improve your ranking on Google and help your small business increase traffic and boost lead generation.
According to Moz, page speed can be defined as the time it takes for your site to completely download the content of a specific page on your website and can also be measured by the time it takes for your browser to receive the first byte of information from the web server. Way back in 2010, Google announced that it uses page speed in its algorithm to determine search results. Given this fact, along with studies indicating that fast websites convert better, it’s important that we follow these few tips.
Upgrade Your Hosting Plan or Consider a New Host
You can check your page speed for free on Google Pagespeed Insights. If your score is low and suggests that you need to reduce server response time, you should consider the following solutions:
- Check with your host to see if you can upgrade your plan to a faster web server
- Consider using SiteGround as a host and upgrading to the SuperCacher plugin for WordPress
We’ve found that the SiteGround Go Geek Plan could increase your page speed considerably if caching is configured correctly. If you don’t want to change hosts, it’s likely that you can upgrade your existing hosting plan to a CDN solution that is typically less than $20 per month extra.
WordPress Users Should Evaluate Plugin Use
Did you download and install a WordPress plugin on your site but have since stopped using it? If so, you should complete an audit of all WordPress plugins you’re using and deactivate any plugins that are no longer needed. On a recent client site audit, we found several plugins they were no longer using and deactivated each one of them. Our Google PageSpeed score improved by a few points and the site seemed to load a bit more rapidly.
In addition to deactivating unused plugins, download and install the EWWW Image Optimizer plugin. We were able to significantly reduce the image size (without losing quality) on 195 images residing on one of our client sites.
Leverage Browser Caching Via HTACCESS
One of the issues that we identified in our Google PageSpeed Analysis was browser caching. It’s important to setup expiry dates on the use of images and other files residing on a website. After doing a bit of research, we found that by adding a snippet of code to the HTACCESS file, browsers will download the local version of certain files of your website on the visitor’s local machine instead of making a call to the web server. This step significantly improves how quickly a website will load. Here is the code to add to your HTACCESS file (update with caution):
## EXPIRES CACHING ##
ExpiresByType image/jpg “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType image/jpeg “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType image/gif “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType image/png “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType text/css “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType text/html “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType application/pdf “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType image/x-icon “access 1 month”
ExpiresDefault “access 1 month”
## EXPIRES CACHING ##
Do you need to know more about how to speed up your website? If so, give us a call at (770) 580-3736 or fill out the form for a Free SEO Analysis.