Recently I was contacted by a customer inquiring about what steps they should take to improve their website speed.
This customer was adamant that their website ranking was greatly suffering because of it. While I don’t disagree with their assessment, let me be clear that ranking on page one of Google or any other search engine was not solely because of website performance, or lack of.
Website performance is a factor, but not in the case of this customer. In fact, this customer’s overall website performance and SEO health puts their competition to shame upon further review of keyword ranking, backlink profile and domain authority.
Nevertheless, I discussed and walked the customer through a step-by-step process for what to check for to determine how to improve website performance, checking the following:
- Ensured reliable web host and hosting plan were ideal
- Enabling compression of files using .htaccess
- In addition to bullet above, optimized ALL images
- Updated all plugins and themes
- Removed deactivated plugins
- Enabled use of caching
- Optimized WordPress database
- Disabled hotlinking to images and content (stop content thieves)
- Add header expirations for static resources
- Remove query strings from static resources
- Use CloudFlare services
After completing each of the aforementioned listed steps, when checking the customer’s website using Pingdom Tools, the following performance insights were returned:
Although not a showstopper per se (although it could be in certain instances), sporting a letter grade of “F” is NOT good for website performance.
The easy fix for this problem is to setup and enable content delivery network (CDN) services to reduce the website load time.
While there are quite a few optimization plugins for WordPress to minify and combine external files, the JS & CSS Script Optimizer plugin is one of the easiest and intuitive plugins to setup, manage, and use.
Not only will this plugin take your website for a letter grade of “F” to “A”, but it’ll have your website loading faster than you can blink. 😎
In closing, please don’t hesitate to send me questions or comments about any of the topics I’ve mentioned above.