Page speed is an important search engine ranking factor and should definitely be part of your on-page SEO strategy. Besides better rankings on search engines like Google, it will also offer your visitors a better user experience due to lower loading times.
I recently improved the trendblog.net PageSpeed score to 93/100 which can be considered as quite good. In this guide I want to show you how to do the same with your website! I will cover the following topics:
- What is Page Speed
- Important factors to increase your PageSpeed score
- How to increase PageSpeed on your WordPress website
- Leveraging a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to Improve Page Speed
What is Page Speed and Why is it Important?
Page speed, as the name already implies, is an indicator of your website’s performance. Different factors like server location and performance, optimization of code, browser caching and image compression play a very important role when it comes to optimizing your website’s speed. All these and other factors influence the time needed to completely load your website for a visitor.
Having a good page speed is not only important for your search engine ranking, but also improves user experience. Many people simply leave a slow website if there are faster loading alternatives two clicks away. Slow websites can be frustrating: According to a Gomez study, almost one third of users will never come back and go to a competitors website!
Better search engine ranking and improved user experience will ultimately lead to higher conversion rates, better visitor engagement and retention. And that’s what we all want, right?
Important factors to Increase Your PageSpeed Score
PageSpeed Insights will give you suggestions how to improve your page speed. These are categorized into high, medium and low priorities as well as some experimental rules. Try to focus on high and medium prioritized suggestions to achieve a higher PageSpeed Score. Important factors include:
- Optimized images
- Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Once you’ve updated a few things, you can immediately run the PageSpeed test again and should see if your score has improved and what to do next. Good luck!
How to Increase the Page Speed of Your WordPress Website
If your website is based on WordPress you are lucky: There are plenty of great plugins are available, which will help you to increase your page speed in just a few clicks. I can highly recommend to installing the W3 Total Cache WordPress plugin because of it’s easy use and many features.
Installing the plugin is fairly straightforward and works like the installation of every other WordPress plugin: You can either download the files to your computer and upload the Zip archive to your WordPress installation or you simply use the integrated plugin search function of WordPress.
Once the W3 Total Cache is activated, you’ll find a new menu entry called “Performance” in your WordPress menu. Check the “General Settings” for the most important tweaks and make sure to take care of the improvement suggestions by PageSpeed Insights. I would recommend to start with Page Caching (Method: Disk: Enhanced) and see how it already affects your PageSpeed score.
Leveraging Content Delivery Networks to Increase Page Speed
Using W3 Total Cache already improved our PageSpeed Score dramatically, but adding a Content Delivery Network (CDN) such as Amazon CloudFront was one of the most important things to do.
Usually, your website is hosted on a server in one data center. If somebody accesses your website, his/her computer connects to your server. Depending on the location of the server and your customer, this can be a quite big distance and result in a longer waiting time. A way to avoid this situation – or at least to minimize the loading time – you can use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) such as Amazon CloudFront or EdgeCast.
CDNs is a large network of servers situated in data centers all around the world. Static files like images, videos or scripts are stored on each of the CDN servers. When a user visits your website from – for instance – Los Angeles, the content will be downloaded from a CDN server near LA instead of your original server in London.
Costs for Content Delivery Networks vary and you are usually charged for traffic and http requests. To give you an idea of additional costs you can check Amazon’s CloudFront calculator.
To use Amazon CloudFront on your WordPress-based website, simply sign up for Amazon AWS S3 here. Browse to your security credentials and copy your personal access credentials to the CDN Settings of W3 Total Cache. Follow the instructions given in W3 Total Cache and you should be good to go.
Using W3 Total Cache and a CDN like Amazon CloudFront will improve your page speed dramatically. This will result in improved conversion rates, better search engine rankings and additional visitor engagement.
Do you have any questions about improving your page speed? Please ask in the comments below and we’ll make sure to help you!
Also feel free to share your page speed success stories and what helped you website the most!