I have used a combination of the right plugins, themes and settings to achieve a superior mobile page speed than Twitter.
Google knows that people want things fast. In 2010 Google announced that speed would become a ranking factor for the first time. As we all know Google’s emphasis is on user experience. Deliver the right results and the user will be happy. The right result isn’t a website that takes 20 seconds to load.
Search Engine Land give us this easily digestible infographic that clearly shows the effect of slow speed on your site, people leave. Faster sites = lower bounce rates.
I previously worked with a client and found an issue with the speed of their site. In an interesting twist this company was a web design company that also offered search engine optimization as an add on to their customers. The management at this company thought it would be a good idea to have a generic video playing in the corner of their website while people were visiting.
The video provided zero benefit to the users of the website, either functionally or aesthetically and was 14 megabytes in size. I questioned the importance of the video and was assured it was essential, I then asked if a CDN could be used (as I have used to increase speed on my site, see below) and was informed that the the website was very expensive and the would not be changed.
From a user and SEO perspective this was obviously an extremely bad move for the website. I ran a web site page speed test and it took the site 23 seconds to fully load. Their metrics on Google Analytics took a permanent dive. They didn’t want to change, so the video stayed and the users left. Not a clever strategy.
According to Search Engine Land, 60% of all Google searches in the US are now mobile device searches and Google’s tool to measure page speed (Google Pagespeed Insights) has a setting specifically for desktop versions of a website and a setting specifically for mobile versions of a website. I decided to check my web page speed and when I ran my site though the tool it cam back like this for the mobile version of my website.
When I ran Twitter through the Pagespeed Insights tool it cam back like this:.
In your face Jack!
About half a year ago I decided to build a brand new website that I would use to sell SEO services that I would sell to businesses. Having worked in SEO for many years I know that it can be extremely difficult to get a brand new site to rank for any keywords at all so I decided that in the beginning at least the site would be fast, very fast. One problem remained, I can code about as well as a blind monkey can read.
But I know a lot about SEO, how websites work and I have extensive experience in making things work on wordpress websites. Plus Google knows a lot about these kinds of things and if you form your question correctly you can usually find the right answer.
First things first I knew I was going to need a fast theme and wordpress plugins to speed things up even more. In my experience paying for a wordpress theme is a good idea. You get a much hihger quality theme and you might get some support as well. Usually for a price that won’t break the bank.
I’d had some experience with Theme forest and the massive array of themes they offer and had some good results in the past. I downloaded a version of BeTheme that I had used for a client project before and used that as my starting point. There are many different Betheme varients to suit most needs and my experince has always been good. Although they can take a little time to get used to as there are a lot of additional features and functionality and it can take a little getting used to.
Anyone who uses WordPress for their business but can’t code know it’s manna from heaven when built in functionalities make a two minute job of something that would otherwise be impossible for us mere mortals. And plugins can serve many of these functions. If you want to speed up your wordpress site you’re going to need some but be very careful which ones you choose.
Check the rating and the reviews, check the php version your web server is running so that the plugin is supported. A plugin can break your site permanently and immediately. If you’re performing tasks on a client’s website it’s even more essential that you refrain from permanently breaking the site. That’s the kind of thing that can land you with legal papers on your desk instead of a nice cheque for services rendered.
Making sure you have a backup of a site and an easy way to roll back to a previous version is essential. Many hosting providers supply this in their cpanel without making it obvious to the user. Sometimes they will charge extra for the service because you haven’t realized the service already exists. If you don’t know how, here’s a guide.
So knowing that I can break the site as much as I want I decided to take a look at what plugins I might need to make the site fast.
This plugin has 30,000 installs and a five star rating. Along with minifying the JS and the CSS this fantastic plugin does a lot more cool stuff that will speed up your website.
This plugin has over a million installs and an almost five star rating. This plugin basically does all the auto-optimizing you need, delivering responsive images at very small loads. Just upload a good looking fairly small image and boom, your page speed is just fine.
Using these two plugins hand in hand had the amazing benefit of massively redicing the size of the code on my site, making it smaller and quicker to load and making all the images on my site smaller and quicker to load.
AN old favourite of a plugin that does two cool things to make your website faster. Lazy loading and providing your content through a content delivery network. These two really are a god send and Jetpack provide them for free and they are incredibly easy to setup. Once you have registered your wordpress/jetpack account and installed the plugin, it’s literally one click each for these two features.
Lazy load only loads images and content as the user scrolls down the page, therefore reducing the amount the user has to download to get an initial view of your website and a content delivery network delivers images and content from a location closer to the user’s location which reduces strain on your web host and delivers the content more quickly to the user.
Finally, running a site through Google’s Pagespeed Insights tool provides you with quite an extensive list of things you can do to improve your site. It looks like this.
Each of these sections can be clicked and additiional information is provided. Copying and pasting this info into a google search bar can give you all the information you need to discover how to implement these changes and make your website faster than a multi-billion dollar company like Twitter.
And that’s how someone who hasn’t got a clue how to code got their website to outscore Twitter for mobile speed. I’m expecting Jack on the phone any day now to purchase an SEO package for his company, lol.