Creating Fast WordPress Sites That Convert

It’s No Secret That Slow Sites Are Going to be No Good in 2018, there being three good reasons for this.

  • Slow Pages = Will cause the site to have poor Google rankings
  • Slow Pages = Will cause more people to leave before they have seen your ‘offer’, thus reducing conversions
  • Slow Pages = Cause Higher Bounce rates (which again can affect conversions and ranks)

However, getting things right is not an easy task and you will need expert advice (from a company like Rouge-Media) to ensure that your site is working as well as it should.

wordpress website design
wordpress website design

So what things affect a WordPress site’s speed?

  • Speed Factor #1 – Hosting –Using a host with a slow Internet connection slows down a Site
  • Speed Factor #2 – Server – Poorly configured hosts or placing a site on a server that cannot handle the load (especially the case for Ecommerce sites) also causes Issues
  • Speed Factor #3 – Themes & Plugins – The wrong type or those that are not updated can slow a site down, and also cause possible security issues.
  • Speed Factor #4 – Poorly Optimized images – kill load speed & eat bandwidth
  • Speed Factor #5 – Bloated Databases – which slow a Server’s ability to process requests
  • Speed Factor #6 – Long Pages – These kill page load speeds (but have benefits too – see later)

Cache Optimisation

To get over many of these issues, most sites use something called  Cache Optimisation, which basically saves time by keeping a copy of every complete page (including images), this being served to visitors when they visit that page. This process saves time as the page does not have to be ‘constructed’ every time someone wants to see it.

However, this is only a part solution, for example, with images, you need to make sure that the images on the site are optimised BEFORE this ‘cached copy’ is created.

If you don’t optimise the bloated images (photographs being especially problematical here) or deal with the slow plugins, have too many separate CSS files, or a slow server, then whilst you will see a speed improvement using Cache Optimisation, but it will really just be masking a problem that needs to be sorted.

Statistics show that around 50% of visitors leave if a site takes more than 3 seconds to load and that nearly 80% of visitors will not return if they have issues with a page loading and formatting properly.

The growing use of mobile devices brings in another problem for website owners to consider, 50% of traffic coming from this source. This in turn means half your traffic is on slower connections and that makes optimising your site all the more important..

WordPress Sites Accumulate Junk in their operational Database, Junk Which Makes a Site Slower

Most users assume that WordPress is efficient at keeping its database tidy, but this is not the case….

Thus each time you create content or make changes to your pages, each version of every change you make is stored. As you can imagine, over time this creates a lot of data and ends up bloating your site’s database.

Similarly, the posts and comments you delete don’t really disappear, they are just moved to the trash area

The same goes for plugins, adding and removing these produces more data, which just sits in your database and adds to your site’s workload.

All of this means that once you have a site that the problems do not stop, it being vital to ensure that you have a good website maintenance agreement in place.

 

Make sure your server’s connection to the Internet is fast enough and that the server can handle the load your site places on it

These two things have a major impact on site speed & could be the underlying root cause of your site speed issues, so before you start to change things on your site, you need to run some checks on the server speed, the Time to First Byte (the time it takes the server to provide the users browser with the first bit of a page) being a good place to start.

 

Some Themes & Plugins can slow down a Site, the trick is to find out which

This is another area where you need the help of a wordpress developer, as unless you are a coding expert & are prepared to go through every theme & plugin you use in a thorough manner, you’ll never be able to find out what’s causing the problem

The problem is that many developers and programmers don’t really think that speed is an issue, which can leave to real problems.

 

Long Power Pages

It is fact that Long Pages (also known as ‘Power Pages’) load slower than short pages, however, they do have advantages in that they can really help get the attention of Google and bring in lots of visitors.

 

Lazy Load Images can help

This is not a new idea, but it can help as it causes the images on a page to be sent (downloaded) to the users browser as they scroll down the page. This is especially useful for the long landing pages mentioned above, as the pages load faster, this being really important when a site/ server is under extreme loads.

 

Some Speed Factors that Rouge use when testing sites (and make sure are not a problem on the sites that we build).

 

  • Time to First Byte
  • Full Page Load Tests
  • Live Theme/Plugin Tests
  • Image Optimisation
  • Database Scrubbing

 

So, if you having issues with your current WordPress site or want to use a developer that understands what needs to be done (and why) then please do contact us, we’d be pleased to help.