Website load time is one of the important factors in SEO these days. Google wants to drive traffic to the websites where users don’t have to wait.
If you have checked your Google Analytics account, there is a site speed section under content. This records your site loading speed and user timings along with providing suggestions on the speed improvement.
This tells you that Google is serious about the website load time and wants to provide you all the required tools and suggestions.
How to Check Your Website Load Time
There are many free and paid tools which can help you in checking your website load time. I have covered them in my previous posts but here are few of the important ones.
Google page speed test is a good option, which gives you the required suggestions for improvements. It has also been integrated with W3 Total cache plugin so you can check it with your dashboard.
GTMatrix is another great tool to check all kind of stats for your website load time.
[box]Note: You can check the earlier post on free tools to check website load time.[/box]
How To Improve Website Load Time
1. WordPress Managed Hosting
Hosting is one of the important aspect for improving website load time. If your host is slow, you can do any amount of optimization and nothing will change.
Shared hosting has its pros as it is cost effective, but it also has a down side. Their servers are not always optimized for WordPress as they have to support all kind of installation.
There can be bad neighbors which can affect your website load time by using most of the bandwidth for their resources.
That is the reason I have started using WordPress managed hosting. Their servers are optimized for WordPress installation and they keep an eye on the neighbors.
[box]Note: You can check my earlier post for the detail discussion on WordPress managed hosting vs Shared Hosting.[/box]
I am currently using Synthesis Hosting for Makewebworld as they have a good integration with Genesis and also offering value add like Scribe Content marketing tool, W3 Total Cache Pro with their plan.
I have seen an decrease of almost 50-60% in the makewebworld loading time after moving to Synthesis Hosting.
[box]If you decide to use WP Engine, You can use the link mentioned below to get 2 months of hosting free.
WP Engine 2 Months Free[/box]
2. A Good Framework or WordPress Theme
The other aspect of your website is an optimized theme. A badly coded theme can be a bottleneck for the fast loading website.
I prefer using frameworks rather than the WordPress themes as framework can be more optimized and can easily customize based on the need.
This does not mean that a theme can’t give you the required speed. I always recommend Elegant Themes to the bloggers who are not looking into big investment as their themes are properly optimized for SEO and Load time.
The purpose is that when you select theme for your blog, check about the optimization of the theme.
I use Genesis Framework on Makewebworld as it’s optimized for both speed and SEO.
3. CDN Network Support
This is another way of improving website load time.
CDN networks store your content like media and images on different servers across the world and serve them from the nearest server.
This can actually improve the loading time a lot as if your bigger contents are coming from closest server, it can reach to the user faster.
I am using MAXCDN for my CDN need and it serves almost all the media, images, css and other content from their server.
It helps two folds, as it takes some burden off from your hosting and also speed up your website loading.
4. Good Caching Plugin
A good caching plugin can also help improving the website load time.
WordPress is a dynamic content serving system, but if each and every time you need to fetch resources, it can take some time.
Caching plugin can cache the required files and serve them as needed. It can save a processing time and server bandwidth to generate all the resources each time.
I use W3 Total Cache Pro on Makewebworld as it has a tighter integration with Synthesis Hosting and good customization options.
WP Super Cache is also another nice caching plugin and works great on shared hosting.
You can decide to use any of these plugins but your WordPress install should not be left without a caching plugin.
5. Plugins On Your WordPress Install
This is an controversial topic.
If you ask any developer that if number of plugins on WordPress has any impact on loading speed?
The answer would be no.
It does not matter how many plugin has been installed on your website as long as they are serving the purpose you need.
The issue comes with the compatibility and coding standard of the plugins.
Let me give you an example: I have a social Plugin which I want to use on the website along with one other plugin, if both the plugin load Google+ plus one script, my blog will load slow.
This can happen a lot of time, if two plugin uses the same resource and load them twice it will impact your load time.
I always like the plugins, which has a setting to stop loading these things if we know our page is getting these from other plugins.
Also a plugin can be badly written and can impact on other plugins and performance of your website.
So if you are planning to use a plugin, check the review and ratings beforehand. Also make sure it does not clash with other plugins and provide required customization support.
Also while installing a plugin make sure that it is required for your users. If you can avoid a plugin, you should not install it.
These are some of the tips which can help you improving your website load time by 150 percent. I have done it on Makewebworld and it has improved a lot.
Try it on your website and share with us how it has improved your website load time.