Site loading speed plays a crucial role in the success of your blog or eCommerce website. Probably you will have more visitors to your site if it takes less time to load your site pages and vice versa.
You cannot compromise your site contents and site features because of the loading speed.
Let us understand here the main reasons why the page loads slowly and how to fix them.
How to increase your website loading speed?
The success of your blog mainly depends on a few basic criteria as stated below:
#1 Loading speed: Faster your site loading speed the chances are more likely you will have new visitors to your site.
#2 Site traffic: The more visitors you get the more likely you have the opportunity to bring change to your people.
#3 Website ranking: You may check your site rank in a website called alexa.com, an amazon company. Better the rank better are your contents in quality and in quantity.
#4 Revenue: You may have a large number of visitors but it will not indicate that you are making enough revenue through your business or eCommerce. The type of products and services you give to your customers will determine its success.
Speed analytics of inpeaks.com
inpeaks.com is just one year old and it will take a few years to get its proper shape, size and online presence. At least the site has managed quite well to load faster than earlier.
In the beginning the site even took 32 secs to load. It was because the design & features were given more importance than the main functionalities. You can make you site look great but if it takes too long time to load you will reasonably loose the battle.
#1 GT Metrix
GT Metrix gives you the latest performance report of your site in a few secs. It will show your pagespeed score, YSlow score, fully loaded time, total page size and the number of requests.
The site provides you with the page speed recommendations to enhance your site loading speed. In waterfall chart you may check the speeds of each component responsible in the website loading.
#2 Pingdom speed test
Enter your site url and the test location to get the site speed. It will display the performance grade, load time and the percentage comparison of the tested sites.
You will find content size by content type, requests by content type, content size by domain and requests by domain.
#3 Google page speed
You will get an overall score separately for your mobile and for your desktop. It will guide you with the possible optimizations necessary.
You will need to have a good technical expertise to understand and troubleshoot based on the instructions given by Google.
What factors determine site speed?
Your knowledge will enable to have a site with better loading speed because there are a huge number of hosting providers, wordpress themes, different wordpress plugins, SSL certificates, CDN (Content Delivery Network) services, scripts and different strategies to implement them.
Moreover it should balance evenly with the quality of your site contents and the purpose of your products and services to the people. A good combination of your host, theme, plugin and CDN will solve the problem to a great extent.
Top WordPress Speed plugins
#1 WP Fastest Cache
#2 WP Super Cache
#3 W3 Total Cache
I tried all the above three leading wordpress plugins. WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache failed in my case as it needed a few technical skills to set it up optimally.
The more i played with them the more i failed to implement the solution and the scope of learning was more.
Two main reasons why it failed was because of the SSL certificate i am using in the site and the improper configuration of the features.
Some combinations of the setup will not function properly with the other functions as well as when other plugins are already present in the site.
You will achieve reduction in speed but it will also break your site and disables certain features in the site.
Key features include minify CSS, minify JS and minify HTML.
WP Fastest Cache combined with the site settings and wordpress setups solved the loading speed issue .
What made the site load faster?
Please find below the major things that were made on the site to load faster,
#1 WP fastest cache plugin
Initially the site was using a free version of the WP fastest cache plugin. Then decided to purchase the WP fastest cache plugin for a one time payment of 39.99 $. It is easy to setup as a beginner than messing things up with a lot of functionalities and complexities.
You will find the below screenshot showing the features that are enabled. Gzip is unchecked because our hosting provider has an inbuilt feature to enable Gzip compression at the server. There is a considerable difference in the loading speed after moving to the premium version.
The site mobile version has picked up better loading speed. Luckily there was no issues in the site layouts, scripts and coding. It also comes up with the feature of enabling CDN on the site.
I tried MaxCDN, Cloudflare, KeyCDN and Amazon cloudfront to enable the paid version of the CDN service so that the CSS files and java script files are loaded through the delivery networks. I failed to successfully implement with all these CDN services.
It seems that the SSL certificate that i am using with the hosting provider is clashing with the CDN service provider and the site breaks. So i will need to give up the paid SSL certificate in order to avail the free SSL certificate from CDN providers.
In my case SSL certificate is more important than the speed itself. So i dropped the idea of going for a paid CDN service.
Therefore opted to have the free CDN from Photon that is present in the WP fastest cache plugin.
Database cleanup, post revision cleanups and deletion of trashed contents are possible through the premium version of WP fastest cache plugin. Hence the paid version of the plugin solved most of the speed issues.
#2 Optimize images
In order to optimize images i am using a plugin called EWWW Image Optimizer. I started using it after checking the plugins like WP Smush it and Shortpixel Image Optimizer.
EWWW Image Optimizer plugin serves it purpose and is more reliable. The other two plugins minimized and optimized the images but were making the wordpress site slow and making things appear complex.
So i settled for the simple EWWW Image Optimizer plugin that compresses the images when the pictures are initially loaded in the media library.
#3 The number of wordpress plugins
When you use too much plugins in the wordpress site your site loading speed will be too slow. Keep the number to an optimum level.
It should be based on the mandatory functionalities needed in the website which in turn serves the purpose of why you run the site. There are over 40 thousand plugins available for free use.
So wisely choose to use the ones that is needed and essential or it will cause problems than solving the issues. In our site we employ 19 plugins to meet the expectations of the visitors. You may check out the plugins list of inpeaks.com,
#4 Minimize loading scripts
Even though WP fastest cache was able to minify the scripts to a certain extent it did not completely fix the speed problem. The wordpress theme settings need to be adjusted and calibrated quite well to make it happen better.
For this you will need to test your site in GT Metrix or in Pingdom speed tool. In GT Metrix you will find the waterfall chart as shown in the below screenshot.
You will be able to determine the loading time of each component included in the site’s design. Find out the ones that are taking more time to load and check if you can remove it from your homepage.
A few components that are not possible to eliminate are http(s) requests, CSS and JS files of the mandatory plugins and theme functions.
Most of the reasons to slow down the site were because of the theme features. For inpeaks.com we removed the following components like news ticker in the header, sticky header menu, sticky sidebar menu, audio widgets, video widgets.
The site is using google adsense account. Earlier it was having 3 ads running in the homepage. Now the number of ads are cut down to one and that too it is not provided in the homepage. The google ad will be displayed in the posts and pages but not on the homepage of the site.
You will find the composition of your site contents by testing it with the pingdom tool.
As shown below you will find the content size on different components.
Study the percentage figures of your site’s content and based on your analysis identify the content types and requests that are taking more time to load.
For inpeaks.com the content type which was causing the problem of slow speed was too many images. So reduced the size and the number of images to a certain limit in the site. Now the content statistics look as shown below,
Having improved the site to load from 18 secs to 4.6 secs, pagespeed score reached 99% and the Yslow score reached 86% in GT Metrix the problem did not solve completely.
In Pingdom tool when you test the site you will get a first load time of around 4 secs and a remarkable speed of 2.25 secs in the second test keeping the test location as Sweden.
It was not possible for me to fix this issue till now because it needs a hands on experience in the wordpress functions.php files. So i accept my limitations to makes things perfect and to go any further.
The steps i have tried on my site over the last one year need not be the same in your case. You might have a different hosting provider, a different Content Management System, a different wordpress theme and a different purpose for your site. You may wisely consider to try the things you feel or think will work in your case.
Let me know what do you think. Share your comments. Thank you
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