Fast loading web pages lead to higher visitor engagement, retention, and conversions. This is proven by the usability tests and research data straight from Google. As you would agree that it makes perfect sense, because a typical searcher is accustomed to get lighting fast results when searching Google. So the next interaction the searcher has is your webpage, and if the user keeps waiting and waiting for your web page to load, well, he or she is not going to wait, instead go back to Google and search again.
Why is this critical for your website?
Because each time a search is conducted, Google records that interaction (this is called the bounce rate in your Google Analytics). Your aim should be to provide a great user experience. Web page load time improvements are one aspect which you are in total control over to provide better user experience. Now you’ve done your keyword research and all the other on page seo elements are optimized, now you can use the techniques below to make small changes so that your web pages load faster.
Simple Web Page Improvement Techniques
- Externalize and Group CSS or JS files: because by externalizing and grouping these files, not only do you make your web page smaller, you also don’t need to send unnecessary http requests to the server each time your visitor requests different landing pages.
- Optimize your images: if you have Adobe Photoshop (or you can even use open source image manipulation programs like GIMP) you can experiment with Photoshop settings under File > Save for Web & Devices and optimize images used on your website. You can even try online tools which can assist you to compress your images
- Rethink your HTML code: even though you need all that you see on your web page, take a look at under-the-hood of your web page, and see if there are any empty redundant code. Because most theme designers ignore the implications of great coding and at times they use empty tags to style content. Visit your webpage > Press Control+U on your keyboard > Take a look at the Code to see if there are Empty tags. For example:
<div></div> <p> </p> <span> </span>
- Basically if you see any code as above on your website’s source code, remove them.
- Utilize caching: why not utilize the technology at hand, because website optimization is just that, utilizing current WWW technologies to your advantage. Therefore, at least understand the basics of cache directives and use it wherever possible.
Improvement Tips for WordPress Sites
Usually, most of the default PHP code in the <head> section (can be found in wp-content/themes/header.php file) makes dynamic calls which can be served as static content
<html <?php language_attributes(); ?>><head>
<meta charset="<?php bloginfo( 'charset' ); ?>">
<link rel="pingback" href="<?php bloginfo( 'pingback_url' ); ?>">
Simply locate the code above and replace it to be static like so:
<meta charset="UTF-8"><!-- if your site is using UTF-8 encoding -->
<link rel="pingback" href="https://www.rankya.com/xmlrpc.php"> <!-- change the domain name to match your own -->
Although PHP is a fast processing script, sending 3 less HTTP requests is better.
What Else Can You Do for Website Optimization?
Reconsider Using Plugins the power of WordPress as Content Management System is within the available plugins, with few clicks of a mouse button you can install new plugins that can do all sorts of stuff and really help you create stunning looking websites. However, at times, you can accomplish similar results to those plugins using other methods (perhaps a simple manual addition of PHP code etc.) either way, always consider shopping around for better plugins which are coded much cleaner, and those that do not create many scripts just so that you can use the plugin. Because each new script the plugin relies on, is an extra burden on your web page load times.
WordPress Tip: install the plugin first, activate and then delete plugin (press on show deleted files menu to see how many different pages the plugin relies on)
Advanced Techniques: use htaccess file for better content delivery: I created this video particularly for optimization of WordPress sites, it will allow you to use simple server directives using .htaccess file (insights in that video are suitable for most WordPress setups).
So all in all, you can use the methods above because they are so easy to use. But if you are highly skilled in modifying your website’s structure and core files. Then this is the next step to learn more about improving your website’s page load times. Google’s recommendations are for advanced users: Make the Web Faster
Thank you for learning with me and thank you for sharing this article so that others may also benefit from it.