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7 Ways to Improve Google PageSpeed on WordPress

  • Felix Rose-Collins
  • 4 min read
7 Ways to Improve Google PageSpeed on WordPress

Intro

If your WordPress website doesn’t load fast enough, the visitors will go elsewhere for information. This is one of the most accurate portrayals of today's internet user who doesn't have the patience to wait for slow-loading pages. Luckily, you can remedy this. Before we start discussing ways to improve Google PageSpeed on WordPress, you need to understand what it stands for.

Page speed is defined as the time needed for a webpage to load fully. Since you keep your WordPress on your computer, the loading time may be faster for you and thus give you wrong impressions. Google PageSpeed is a set of tools that identify this problem and score it on a scale of 1–100. Everything under 50 is considered slow and needs immediate attention, while a 90 and above score is what you should aim for.

These tools are easy to use since all you have to do is go to Google PageSpeed and enter your website’s URL for review. The faster your website loads the better since this characteristic affects its ranking on the search results page. To make this happen, here are things you can do to improve the loading time and get a higher score on the Google PageSpeed test.

1. Perform regular speed tests

Checking the loading speed of your website is not a one-time thing. You have to do it regularly, before and after changes, to faster identify the issue responsible for slow loading. The test procedure is simple and includes going to the Google PageSpeed URL, pasting your website’s address in the text box, and clicking on the ‘Analyze’ button.

Opening a website on your computer may not be an accurate method to check page speed. Since you have all the files cached on your computer, it will load fast and complete for you. This may not be the case for everyone else and regular speed tests will help you intercept the problem before it affects your ranking.

2. Resize the images

Large images need longer times to load. They are at the top of issues that cause a WordPress website to be sluggish. You can take care of this by optimizing your picture files in two phases:

1. Editing images

Before uploading an image on your website, you need to determine its size. Resizing can reduce loading time considering and still not affect the image quality significantly. Also, instead of using .png files, save your images as .jpgs since those are generally smaller in size. To resize the images, you can use any photo editing tool or software.

2. Using image optimization plugin

By installing the image optimization plugin you will get an instant tool to compress images after uploading them to the website. These plugins come with other features that can speed up the loading times of your web pages through further optimization of your videos and images.

3. Optimize your website for mobile first

If you visited Google PageSpeed Insights, you may have noticed that it's set to analyze mobile websites first. This is because Google's algorithm focuses primarily on mobile versions for the rankings since the majority of users access websites with their phones.

Some plugins can optimize your WordPress mobile website to load faster, like WP Rocket. However, hiring an SEO agency for search engine optimization will take care of this issue more efficiently. Professional website developers know what needs to be done first and where to allocate resources, so investing in their services is worth it to keep high rankings on the search results page.

4. Pay attention to plugins

Pay attention to plugins (Photo by Justin Morgan on Unsplash)

We already talked about plugins and how they can help you improve Google PageSpeed on WordPress. But they can also cause your pages to load slower if they are not updated and reviewed regularly. Reasons for this vary from poor design to outdated applications, as well as having duplicate plugins on the website that do the same thing.

The number of plugins you use will have no effect to speed scores as long as you get rid of the ones you don't use. To find out how your website behaves with a certain plugin, run a speed test before and after you install it. Moreover, you can check how current plugins affect the speed by turning them off one by one and running a speed analysis afterward.

5. Take care of your CSS and JS

Speaking of plugins, every time you install the one you bring new CSS and JavaScript files to the fold. Since this will slow your website down, you need to minify these files. This means that you need to shorten variable names and remove spaces with tools, like the Autooptimize plugin.

Unfortunately, this is not permanent and all the measures to speed up your website should be performed while it’s in development. Another thing you can do is remove unused CSS with Chrome DevTools, for example. It will review the page and point out which CSS and JS files need to go.

6. Set up GZIP compression

GZIP compression will speed up browser recovery and packing of your website, making it load faster. It performs lightweight compression of site data so it's easily transferred between visitors' browsers and servers.

You can install a WordPress plugin that offers GZIP compression or you need to enable it on the server. Opt for using servers that have this feature available or automatically enabled since it can decrease the files users download by half when they access your website. As we mentioned before, smaller file sizes make your websites faster, especially for mobile devices.

7. Opt for a lightweight theme

Which WordPress theme you use makes the basis of how your website will perform. A lightweight theme is the best option if the loading speed is your goal. These themes send fewer server requests and use small file sizes, making the web pages faster to open.

If this is your first WordPress website, go over its lightweight themes and use one from the start. After a while, you can adapt it how you see fit, but until you get the hang of things, this is the best way to gain highly-scored loading speed.

In conclusion

Even with all these ways to improve Google PageSpeed on WordPress, consider working with a professional agency on your website. Loading speed is only one of the features you need to optimize to receive top rankings on the search results page. Otherwise, play it safe with a lightweight theme and regular speed checks so users will experience as fewer loading issues as possible when visiting your website.

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