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Once upon a time when the internet was younger it was common to wait several minutes for a website to load and provide you the information you requested, be it a picture, a tutorial or just the morning news. In today’s marketplace however that is akin to the kiss of death.

A slow page load is one of the greatest issues we can experience as user experience is impacted and this will ultimately visitors will close the page and find a faster source of information or products.

Data from “Strange Loop” shows that even a single second of delay in page load speed affects conversions by an enormous 7%! It is suggested that this is due to both user impatience but speaks more to being an untrustworthy site, especially when consumers are looking to make a purchase.

Page speed is also vital to search engines and a study by eConsultancy shows that up to “40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.” It also shows that 80% of those will simply not return.

As businesses become more and more aware of how to create targeted leads by using SEO there is even more, pardon the pun, need for speed. To answer the call Google included Site Speed as one of the most important indicative factors when ranking a website. This update to the Googles algorithm was updated in July 2018. You can find out more more about the original algorithm here and the updates here.

This being said, if your pages are slow to load you will find your rank just isn’t going to make it to the top of those organic search listings no matter how great your website or content are.

What can you do to Decrease Page Load Speeds

1.     Measure your current and future page speed times

In order to adjust your page speed efficiently you first need to know how to measure it. There are a ton of amazing sites out there to help do just that and here are some free tools you can use to get the analytics you need to adjust your page speed accurately.

For simplicity sake I will recommend one I use frequently called GTmetrix. The site is very self-explanatory and provides a ton of useful information. Simply put your domain in the box and hit TEST YOUR SITE!

With your results in hand you can now assess next steps and see how the actions you take actually affect your page speed. Your report will be very different than others but if you follow the next steps I provide here in this article you should see a significant decrease in page load speeds.

2.     Declutter your WordPress Website

One of the first things you can do to help bring those times down is to declutter your website. Get rid of unnecessary plugins, scripts, sidebars and anything else that really isn’t needed to provide your users the experience they are looking for or the access to your services and products.

You may require assistance with removing or turning off unnecessary scripts and I highly recommend backing up your website before proceeding with this. Testing your website with every script removal is also mandatory to ensure you aren’t removing needed scripts that are providing functionality that you want on your website.

3.     Install a WordPress Caching Plugin & Use a CDN

This tip is actually a 2 part tip that will significantly decrease your page load times.

Part 1 – Use Cloudflare CDN

I will end up writing an article on what exactly a CDN is and why it works for all sorts of common issues, but for now I will simply say that a CDN is a Content Distribution Network that allows your website to be served faster, better and more securely.

My suggestion for you is Cloudflare CDN. Cloudflare has free packages available and for the small business getting their feet wet this is more than sufficient and provides a great deal of settings that will enable a better end user experience for your visitors.

Once you get yourself setup with Cloudflare you can proceed to Part 2 of this tip.

Part 2- Install & Activate the WordPress Caching Plugin

  1. Head over to the Plugins section of your WordPress website and click Add New.
  2. Type WP Fastest Cache and Install and activate the plugin.
  3. You’ll need to go in the settings for the plugin and set as many as you feel comfortable setting. If anything goes wrong on the front end of your website please remove the settings or plugin and try again using 1 single entry at a time.
  4. You will also need to open up your Cloudflare account in a separate tab. Once logged into Cloudflare navigate to your Profile here.
    1. Using the tabs at the top click API Tokens and then click Create Token on the page you navigate to.
    1. You’ll need to select the WordPress profile on this page. Once you have selected WordPress Profile scroll down and select a date range and click Continue to Summary.
    1. On this page click Create Token to get your API Key.
  5. Copy your token to your WP Fastest Cache CDN Tab from Step 3.

This process is not a fast one but it can take place fairly quickly depending on your comfort level with the tasks laid out above. Please keep in mind that if you need any assistance with any part of this process that we are always here to help.

Wil Cleland

Author Wil Cleland

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