The Importance of Page Speed And Major Factors That Affect It

The Importance of Page Speed

Page speed means how fast your web pages are loading. It is important as it helps to rank better in search results but even more important is the user experience. When your site pages load faster it is more likely that your site visitors will hang a lot longer on the site, try different options, click on more links, posts and categories within your site because they get the results essentially immediately.

Because of the rising use of mobile devices, speed is more important than ever. The average user “online patience” is not greater than a few seconds, i mean, think about it, you type in a site url or click on a search result, expecting the site to load as fast as possible, and you wait, a second, two, three… not fun ha? Most likely you will go to another similar site or go back to the search result page and click on another search results rather than going back to that “slow” loading site.

If you have an online business and you need conversions, or if you’re a blogger looking to build an audience and your “conversion” metric is new readers, but, your site loads slowly, your audience may see you as untrustworthy, even a few milliseconds can make a difference. Site owners have to pay attention to page speed because nowadays the expectations are a lot higher.

How to Improve page speed on your WordPress site?

There are a lot of ways to do that, I’ll name a few of the big ones:

Web Hosting

Choose your hosting wisely, a one that suits your site needs. If you have a small blog or a local business website, a shared hosting should be fine. However, if you have an e-commerce site or your site generates a high volume of traffic it is better to avoid shared hostings and go for a WordPress managed hosting that offers CDN.

What is CDN?

CDN is an abbreviation for “Content Delivery Network” which is a network of servers that deliver cached static content from websites to users based on their geographic location

SAY WHAT??

I’ll Explain:
When a user comes to your WordPress site, they are redirected to your hosting server. The server is located let’s say in Denver, Colorado. So every visitor on your site is accessing this one server to view your website. Now if you have a high volume of traffic, it can overload the server, which leads to a slow loading site or even a server crash. This is where a CDN comes in handy because this network of servers is spread worldwide.

So how this works?
An example: A user from Berlin, Germany is visiting your site, now your server is located in Denver,Colorado. When using CDN this user will be redirected to the closest server to his geographic location, this way your site pages will load a lot faster for this end user.

Hostings that offers CDN WP Engine, Media Temple, Bluehost, etc.

The Theme

The theme you are using for your WordPress site has a big effect on page loading time. Lets take SimpleMag as an example, just because we know it best, well, after all we created it 🙂
As we understand the importance of page speed we cleared theme code to crystal clear code, there are no heavy scripts, all the existing scripts are in the footer of the site, one lightweight slider which is used for all slide elements such as “Custom Slider”, “Posts Slider”, “Posts Carousel”, Gallery post format, widgets, etc. In the new upcoming version of SimpleMag we changed the “Mega Menu” that is now AJAX based which use less code and reduces database queries upon page loading.

Plugin Overload

Use only really necessary plugins for your site. Plugins add their own scripts and css to the code, it increases http requests and therefor slows down page loading time. Delete unused plugins, some plugins might leave scripts in your code, even if you are not using them, if it’s not active, simply remove it. Keep your plugins up to date, outdated plugins may cause errors which can slow down page loading.

Caching Plugins

The purpose of caching plugins is to save the dynamically generated HTML files and serve them from the cache whenever a request is made, rather than loading all of the PHP scripts from the WordPress core every time you load a page. This results with a lot quicker loading times for your visitors.  Here are some great free well known caching plugins WP Super Cache, W3 Total Cache or a paid plugin such as WP Rocket

Conclusion

I believe that site owners want to provide their visitors with the best user experience possible. It doesn’t matter what kind of site you have, a blog, business, e-commerce, portfolio and so on, page loading time is a big part of user experience and you should pay attention to it. Besides that, we all including search engines want a faster and more user friendly web, and that starts with page speed.

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