Improve the speed of a website in WordPress

Web speed is one of the factors that SEO depends on and that greatly improves the user experience. A slow website is super boring for users, let alone for those who come to our website from mobile phones. That is why we have prepared this class so that you know how to easily improve the speed of your WordPress website.

If you have not done it yet and all this sounds a bit like Chinese to you, we recommend that you review the previous class, where we explain the importance of performing these actions:

 

If you are clear about all this, let’s start!

What does the speed of your website depend on?

Remember that as we discussed in the class of hosting and domain selection, a hosting is a space that we rent on a computer and that will save all the files necessary for users to see our website. WordPress is a program that we install on that computer and that helps us to manage our page more efficiently. Therefore, the speed of your web page depends on the relationship between that computer and that program.

The speed metrics depend on both your WordPress configuration and the speed of your server.

Methodology to improve the speed of a website

Here there is no other: it is trial and error.

  1. Test configuration.
  2. Measure with web speed measurement tools.
  3. Are your loading times improving? Perfect. Not? Go back to point 1.

If you have an old WordPress, with a template from several years ago and many plugins, it is possible that to improve the speed of said Web you have to create a project of 0. For it depends on which projects, this can be an absolute drama but it is possible that there is no other. The years 2018 and 2019 have brought important changes in WordPress and projects prior to those dates surely have to be re-done whole.

If the project you are doing is new, here you already have more room for maneuver. You will have to study what WordPress functionalities you need and test combinations of hosting + wordpress + templates + plugins. We recommend that you start with a few pages until you achieve the desired web speed and then start modeling the content when you have achieved good results.

Speed ​​measurement tools

The first thing we have to keep in mind is that to perform this action we are going to have to test configurations all the time. To check the loading times there are several tools that we can use.

The tools that we recommend are the following.

https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/?hl=es
https://tools.pingdom.com/
https://gtmetrix.com/

 

What metrics do we want to achieve?

The ideal would be a +70 in pagespeed insights (mobile) and that loads in less than a second in Pingdom. Achieving this is sometimes not possible in all installations.In Google Search console they are also implementing a URL speed report and Google Ads has another (which will appear as a warning if you do campaigns). Remember that we always have to pay attention to Google so if you get slow pages you will have to try to remedy it.

Hosting selection

  • If once you try the measurement tools you find the following warning, it is that the server is slow or has a bad relationship with your WordPress installation.
  • In this link, you can see the recommendations that Google makes in this regard: https://web.dev/time-to-first-byte/
  • To solve this problem you must either call your provider to see if there is a problem with the installation or with the hosting, or if the server is yours, make the necessary changes. When making the improvements, the message that should appear would be the following.

WordPress installation

A wordpress with many plugins and a complicated configuration will be slower. We have discussed it before, WordPress is a program. If I am adding plugins, I am adding functionalities to that program, making it slower.

The fewer plugins the better

Think about the functionalities you need and eliminate everything that is not absolutely essential.

If you have left the most basic installation that you can and even so the loading times do not improve, deactivate plugins for a moment and try again. It is possible that there are 1 or 2 that are really bothering you the metrics. When you discover what they are, look for an alternative and measure again.

For example: We used an anti-spam plugin. After deactivating it, we improved 20 points in Page Speed ​​Insights, so we had to find an alternative that would do the same and weigh less.

Keep the installation updated

Typically, the latest updates to both WordPress and plugins and templates include improvements to loading times. Just as you have to update Apps on your mobile phone and programs on your computer, you also have to keep your website updated.

In addition to improving loading times, this action will also make the installation safer.

Topic selection

You will find on the Internet a multitude of free and premium themes. A free theme can be fast and a paid theme can be slow. There is no choice but to install and test them with the tools mentioned above.

How to improve loading times in WordPress?

Option 1: Free plugin combination, but difficult to set up

Install plugins to improve loading times: complicated, but free way

You can achieve the same results as with the previous plugin for free. But you will have to install and “fight” with these 3 plugins:

https://es.wordpress.org/plugins/autoptimize/
https://es.wordpress.org/plugins/lazy-load-for-videos/
https://es.wordpress.org/plugins/w3-total- cache/

Option 2: Plugin of payment but fast, that time is money

After hard research work, from seosve we have come to the conclusion that this plugin is the best to improve loading times. It is very easy to configure and it is really worth it. We remind you that we are autonomous and that for us time is money. This is why we have used this plugin: to save hours and hours of setup.

https://wp-rocket.me/es/

WPO improvements and optimizations plugin

Combined with the previous plugin we also use this one: https://es.wordpress.org/plugins/wpo-tweaks/

Explanation of elements to improve

Image optimization
Important! This action requires the completion of several actions:

  1. That the images are saved at the size that the user will see them. Normally these sizes are in pixels and do not usually exceed 1200 on any of its sides. It also depends on the design of the theme.
  2. You have to save for the web in photoshop but it is not enough, you must use an external optimizer or an optimization plugin.

Image optimization plugins:
https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-smushit/
https://es.wordpress.org/plugins/imagify/

Cache
If we apply this concept to web pages, the cache is used to store the different pages so that when users have to use them again, they do not have to load them again.

Minifying HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
Also known as minifying , this is a programming term that refers to the process of removing unnecessary characters that are not needed for code to run.

Google explanation:
https://developers.google.com/speed/docs/insights/MinifyResources?hl=es

Free plugins:
https://wordpress.org/plugins/w3-total-cache/
https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-fastest-cache/
https://es.wordpress.org/plugins/autoptimize/

Lazyload
Lazy loading is a technique that delays the loading of images and videos while they are not displayed on the screen. When the user scrolls , that is when the resources are loaded. In this way we “save” the loading of images and videos when loading the page.

Database cleaning
When we make changes to entries or pages, modifications, we activate and deactivate plugins … All that leaves loose codes lying around that do not do anything useful in our installation.

Free plugins:
https://es.wordpress.org/plugins/wp-optimize/
https://es.wordpress.org/plugins/wp-sweep/

CDN
A CDN is a type of infrastructure in which there are several computers geographically distributed in different places. CNDs improve loading times as they store part of the information and content in available copies geographically distributed in various parts of the world. The user will see the copy of the web that is closest to him physically.

In order to install it, you must register on a CDN platform and install a plugin that connects us to that platform.

One of the most popular platforms is:
https://www.cloudflare.com/es-es/

Conclusions

For old web pages

Improving the speed of your website is going to be a drama, especially if you have had the project for more than two years.

For web pages created from 0

If you are starting a project from 0, do tests with all the contents for each type of URL. For example: 1 service page, 1 entry, 1 category, 1 product … until you find the appropriate configuration. Do not start to design all the URLs of your website without having this solved or it may be that you have to start from 0.

Test constantly

Also, Google’s speed demands change very quickly. Therefore, you will have to be constantly testing with the measurement tools that we have explained to you in this training.

Improvements in the ranking of all your keywords

If you manage to improve this speed and your website has already achieved some results, these changes can bring spectacular increases in traffic. We have checked this on several occasions, so we know that the speed of your website is a crucial element for SEO and user experience.