If the performance of a website is to be tested, many first think of Google PageSpeed Insights. This test suggests ways to optimize a website. What this test has not done so far is measure the loading time. When the Googlebot crawls a website, what counts for it is the loading time and not how many points you got on PageSpeed Insights. Focusing only on grades and scores is a waste of time. Hardly any website gets a perfect PageSpeed Score, this is incredibly difficult to achieve. You also shouldn’t take every suggestion literally, as they are often unrealistic or even impossible to implement. My highlight of the suggestions is browser caching for files that are not even within your control. Yes, I’m talking about you, analytics.js! The test helps uncover gross errors in the optimization. If these are fixed, it also makes for a faster website at the same time. In any case, time should be spent on optimization, as loading speed is one of the most important factors of a successful website. The best way to analyze the speed is with the Pingdom Website Speed Test.
Advantages of short loading times
You do not lose visitors
According to a survey by Akamai and Gomez.com, almost half of all users expect a website to load within 2 seconds. If a page is not loaded in 3 seconds, potential visitors will bounce!
Improved UX and higher conversions
First and foremost, it’s about improving the user experience (UX for short). Nobody likes long waiting times. If a website is fast, on average more pages are accessed in one session and therefore the chance of conversion also increases.
Loading speed is a ranking factor
Fast websites increase the time visitors spend on the site, which in turn increases its relevance. That being said, loading speed as an isolated factor has been one of Google’s many ranking factors since 2010.
Why is my website slow?
Effective measures include:
- Optimization of image sizes
- If transparency can be dispensed with, for example, do not save PNG but JPG files
- Adjusting the dimensions of high-resolution images before uploading them
- Use SVG for logos and simple icons or graphics
- Enable Gzip to reduce the size of all files sent from the server
- Minification of HTML code
- Use of a cache system (the visitor gets a previously created static HTML version of the given web page delivered. The page does not have to be rendered on the server side).
If you implement all these measures, the difference is huge!
Is there a WordPress plugin?
If you use WordPress, you don’t have to search long for a caching plugin. A very good and free plugin is “WP Fastest Cache”. The plugin offers very clear setting options and the cache is automatically cleared as soon as a page or post is created, deleted or saved. All the above measures can be activated in the free version. After activating the cache system, however, you should test your website once again decently for its function. For example, if styles or scripts are loaded asynchronously, problems may occur. I haven’t tested the premium version yet, but it’s on the schedule! As soon as I have a close look at it, I will add to my post.
For paid plugins, I still have “WP Rocket” in mind. Again, I can write more when I have tested the plugin. Cost point for the premium variant of “WP Fastest Cache” is $49.99 (one-time payment) and for “WP Rocket” it’s $39 per year (after that the plugin can still be used, but updates and support are dropped).