How do you maximize your client’s site speed? Why is it so important? Site speed impacts your SEO results, your conversion rates, and even your retention. In this session, Michael Borgelt & Abdul Qadir from BionicWP will share some actionable insights on how to make your sites load faster and how to retain clients at a higher level.

Outline of This Episode

  • [5:05] More about Michael, Abdul, and BionicWP
  • [6:28] Why does site speed matter?
  • [14:02] How to check your speed scores
  • [16:11] 8 steps to address site speed issues
  • [27:23] Optimization is a continuous process
  • [33:45] Speed testing tools you can use
  • [37:25] Demo: See how it’s done
  • [48:45] What BionicWP provides
  • [51:03] Q&A Session with Michael + Abdul

Google is all about user experience (UX)

Google Chrome captures site speed. They measure your bounce rate, which affects rankings. Google wants fast-loading sites. Pinterest reduced load time by 40% which increased their traffic by 15%. When your site has better page speed, bounce rates go down and pages per session go up.

Core Web Vitals will be an update in May 2021 that includes factors Google considers important to user experience. Ranking factors will include site speed. They are:

  • Largest contentful paint: This means how long it takes for the major parts of your page to load (speed).
  • First input delay: This is when your page becomes interactive (interactivity).
  • Cumulative layout shift: This is the movement of the page after it loads (movement). i.e. once ads load the page shifts or move.

8 steps to address site speed issues

You have to start with the “easy button”: Install a plugin, test it, and check your site to make sure it didn’t break. Some settings will break your site. If that happens, you uncheck the setting and move on to the next one. It’s tedious—but the only way to do it. You need to get a CDN. A Content Delivery Network (CDN) allows you to serve your files through a network closest to the visitor.

Michael and Abdul suggest installing these plugins:

  • WP Rocket
  • WPFastestCache
  • Autoptomize
  • Perfmatters

Then you move on to “nerd mode”: You start by following the easy mode. Once you have the plugins installed, there are things you can do to further improve your scores.

  • Step 2: Remove any unnecessary plugins that you aren’t using or are deactivated.
  • Step 3: Use the QueryMonitor Plugin to find slow queries and optimize your code.
  • Step 4: Optimize your fonts and ensure they aren’t render-blocking. They are one of the slowest loading elements.
  • Step 5: Save images in WEBP which effectively compresses them. Lazy load all images to improve load time.
  • Step 6: Host fonts and javascript locally (by saving them to your server).
  • Step 7: Each plugin is loaded on every page even if it’s not needed. Use a plugin to control what scripts are loaded on each page.
  • Step 8: Test, test, and retest with every single change you make.

Michael and Abdul recommend re-optimizing these every single week if not every single day. That includes keeping the plugins up-to-date.

Other tips for optimizing site speed

Once someone visits your page, your server keeps a copy of it called a cache. It gives the next person a copy of the page. Keep the cache as long as you can keep it (i.e. 24 hours) and set it to automatically refresh. The cache keeps the load off the server and helps the page to load faster. Some servers offer caching as well.

Whenever you write code, there is a lot of empty space and code to make it “readable” for humans. Servers don’t need that. So “minifying” them removes unnecessary commands and code that further slow your page.

What do Michael and Abdul provide at BionicWp? What hosting provider is the best for speed? Michael and Abdul round out this episode with a Q&A session. If you need to improve your site speeds, don’t miss it!

Resources & People Mentioned

WordPress Plugins

Speed Testing Tools

Recommended Theme Builders

Connect with Michael Borgelt & Abdul Qadi

Connect With Josh Nelson

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