How to speed up your website, improve your SEO ratings, and get more Google traffic

How to Speed Up Your Website and Get to the First Page of Google

In BLOGGING, TIPS & ADVICE by Jurga33 Comments

My blog is just over a year old and gets over 9,000 monthly readers from Google. Every day I see bloggers asking the same question over and over again. How do I improve my SEO ranking? How do I get more organic traffic from Google? While there are many ways to improve your SEO ranking, there is one that is usually overlooked. In this post I want to talk about the importance of website speed optimisation. Because no matter how good your content is, how well you use header tags, or how many inbound and outbound links you have, your site will not get many visitors if it takes too long to load. Your website speed is key to better SEO ranking! Here is what you need to know about site loading speed and how to speed up your website.

Best blogging tips. How to speed up your website and get more organic traffic from Google

 

Speed up your website and why it matters

1. Speed up your site – improve your site’s SEO

According to Google, website loading speed is a very important SEO factor. Google takes page loading speed into account in their website ranking algorithm. Don’t believe me? See what Google says. Fast sites make users happy and that’s what search engines want.

Fast site = better SEO rankings = more organic traffic from Google

You’re much more likely to get to the first page of Google if your site loads blazing fast.

2. Faster site – better user experience

How often did you leave a website because it took too long to open? It happens all the time. Your mom or your best friend will probably wait long enough to read your newest blog post or to see what new products you are selling on your website. But most users will leave your site if they have to wait just two extra seconds for a page to load.

Slow site = increased bounce rate = low SEO ranking = lost customers

What is a good site loading speed and how to check yours

The faster your site loads, the better of course. A site that has many images and videos will generally take longer to load than a website with just some text. Let’s just say that page loading speed of under 3 seconds is very good, anything under 5-6 seconds is ok, but you should look for ways to make it faster. If your site takes more than 6 seconds to load, you really should get it optimised for speed.

How to find out how fast your site loads?

There are several FREE tools that you can use to check your site’s speed. Here are the two that are most commonly used: GTmetrix and Pingdom.

Note that the loading speed will be a bit different every time it’s tested. A lot depends on the location from which the test is performed. When I tested my site’s loading speed today, I got mixed results ranging from 735ms to 2,1 seconds. As long as it’s in this range, I’m happy. How did I get my site to load so fast? Read further…

Here are two examples of the website speed check I performed when writing this post today:

The first one is of a website that I happened to run across recently. It took me more than 20 seconds to open the home page, and this test just confirmed it. 99,99% of customers will not wait this long.

Speed test of a very slow website that hasn't been optimized for speed

How many customers will wait 20 seconds for a website to load?!

 

The second example is my blog’s site speed check. Notice the difference in site speed and how it compares to the other websites? Note that my site is faster than 94% of TESTED sites. Which probably means that it’s faster than at least 98% of ALL sites. What do you think this means for your SEO…

Speed test of a very fast website that has been optimised for speed- FullSuitcase.com

My site’s speed as tested today – less than 1 second and faster than 94% other websites

 

And the third image is of my WordPress blog stats showing how much traffic I get from Google. Note that my blog is just over a year old at this moment. In general Google doesn’t trust ‘young’ sites, but last month I got over 9,000 readers from Google alone.

How to improve your SEO rankings and get more traffic from Google

Monthly Google traffic for my still very young blog

 

How to speed up your website

There are several ways to increase your site’s page loading speed. Here are the three main things to consider.

1. Move your website to a better host

A good reliable host is extremely important for any website. Site’s load speed is just one of the factors; consider security, uptime, and overall user experience.

There are so many website hosting services available that it might be difficult to choose. And while I don’t know 90% of them, I do know the good and the not so good names of those that come up in the Facebook blogger groups and website designer groups all the time.

I don’t want to talk about those hosting companies that get complaints (and there are quite many, including some very well known names), I’d rather focus on the ones that get fantastic reviews. So if you are looking for a reliable hosting for your website, I can highly recommend SiteGround or GreenGeeks. These two hosting companies have earned their reputation of being the very best affordable shared hosting providers on the market anno 2017 and offer impeccable service. With thousands of happy customers and the prices starting at just 3,95USD/month including a free transfer of your website, you really shouldn’t hesitate to make a switch.

2. Optimize image size

High quality images are very important for every website. However, big images mean slower sites. Optimizing images will reduce the file size and will improve your site’s loading speed tremendously.

What is an optimal image size?

The answer is different for each site, depending on the theme you use. It also depends how big is the picture that is being displayed. A picture covering full screen will have to be bigger than the one you use in your blog posts.

For example, the pictures I use on my blog are 878 x 585 px. The biggest picture I currently use, the one covering the whole screen on my home page is 1920 x 1280 px.

How do you know what’s the optimal image size for your site?

Open your website or your blog in Google Chrome. Right-click on a picture and choose ‘Inspect’. The window showing the code behind your website will open and you’ll be able to see the size of your picture that is actually used on your site (which may be much lower than the size of the file that you uploaded). That’s the size you should be uploading your images at, and not a pixel more.

How to reduce the images to the right size?

I use Adobe Photoshop not only for editing, but also for optimising the picture size for my website. However, this is not enough. You should optimise images even further. There are various plugins and other tools available that scrape all the information from the file without degrading the quality of the picture. I use a FREE image optimisation tool TinyPng.com (they also have a FREE plugin if you prefer that) and it reduces my images’ size with another 20-35%.

Once in a while it will happen that a small optimised image really doesn’t look good enough on your site. In that case, I always choose for quality rather than size, but even then I try to make the file size as small as possible while maintaining the quality. To put things into perspective, this happened only two or three times to me and my blog uses lots of high quality pictures. Optimizing image size really doesn’t mean that you’ll lose quality of your pictures. If you are not convinced, take a look at some of my travel blog posts:

3. Get your site optimized for speed 

What if you have taken care of the first two steps to improve your website’s speed, but your site is still not blazing fast? You’ll know that there is still room for improvement if you see many white and red lines on your GTmetrix report. Here are two examples.

Fast site’s speed performance report.

Website speed analysis of a fast website

This is how my site’s speed check looks like

 

Slow site’s speed performance report.

Website speed analysis of a slow site

This is how your report will probably look like if your website hasn’t been optimised for speed

 

There are many factors that can be slowing your site down. My friend Alexei (aka The WordPress speed specialist) from WPSpeedGuru calls them ‘bottlenecks’. These bottlenecks can be different for every site. Alexei can help you find what slows your site down, he will also show you how to implement several changes that will help your site load faster.

I cannot recommend Alexei and his speed optimisation services highly enough. He helped me to speed up my site when I was starting out and knew nothing about the technical side behind my blog. My website was loading in 4-6 seconds, sometimes as slow as 10-13 seconds. After optimization, my site’s load speed improved dramatically, to under 1 second! I did add a lot of plugins and hundreds of new images since my site has been optimised for speed, but despite all of that my site is still loading blazing fast.

Check WPSpeedGuru.com for the best ways to increase your site’s loading speed. I chose the Do-It-Yourself version and Alexei guided me through the whole process. But then I’m a DYI girl and like to know how everything works behind my blog. If you don’t care about the technical side and just want to have a fast website, you can have it all done for you for a lower fee. Alternatively, you can chat with Alexei on Skype and he will share some of his secrets with you and you’ll get access to some of the best WordPress site speed tutorials.

How to increase your website speed – conclusion

Do you want a fast website? Make sure you follow all the three steps I listed above. Each of the steps separately will help to speed up your site a bit. But combine all three together and you will have a website that is faster than 90% of other sites on the web. Google will reward you for that and you’ll have more happy customers/ readers and ultimately also more income.

The best bloggers always say that to earn money you have to invest money first. It’s true and not only for a blog, but even more so for any website that is selling a service or a product. If you want a better SEO ranking and more happy returning customers, you have to make sure that they get the very best user experience. Reliable hosting and a fast website are the two most important (yet very affordable) investments any website owner should do.

Are you looking for more practical tips for starting a blog or improving existing website? Read our tips and tricks for starting a successful blog.

This post contains affiliate links. I only recommend companies and products that I use and love.

If you found this post useful, please share it with your friends and colleagues. Are you on Pinterest? Pin this image!

Speed up your website, improve SEO and get to the first page of Google in 3 simple steps. Wish I knew this earlier!

You May Also Like
How to Speed Up Your Website and Get to the First Page of Google was last modified: February 10th, 2017 by Jurga

Like what you've read? There is more...

Comments

    1. Author

      Great! Thanks for your feedback, Isobel. I also use some optimization and caching plugins and they do make a difference. SiteGround has a very good caching plugin; my site’s speed went up significantly since I switched to the plan where this was included. But plugins won’t solve everything. It’s really about many different factors. The good thing is that you’ll quickly see an improvement even if you just tweak a few things.

  1. Thank you! This is very helpful, I’ve been looking for ways to make my blog faster and this is the most helpful one Ive one so far!

  2. I loved this post and I’ll be checking out later, once I’ve got my site as I want it post wise and then start looking in more depth at plugins, speed, etc. Thanks!

    1. Author

      I think it’s better to do it right from the start, so much easier than to correct it afterwards, Lauren. The first two steps – choosing a good host and optimising images before you upload them – are very important. While switching a host can easily be done in just a few hours, it’s still a hassle many postpone it for a long time and then regret they hadn’t done it earlier (speaking from experience here ;)). But changing the pictures on your website can be so much work, so that’s definitely something you want to get right asap.

  3. I have been engulfed with this post on how to increase the speed of my website and it may be now my new obsession! So thank you for all the useful information and help, in just a few short steps I have been able to increase my speed by 15%!

    1. Author

      Glad to hear this, Nicole! My site’s load speed improved several times after optimisation, so it’s definitely an exercise all website owners should do.

  4. Great tips, thank you. I must admit that I haven’t paid much attention to my site speed besides installing WP Rocket. As a result, there are a few things I need to work on. At least now I know what I need to do.

    1. Author

      Glad you found this useful, Melissa. I think that it’s very much worth looking for ways to improve your site’s speed. It immediately gives you such a big advantage compared to the other websites.

    1. Author

      Glad you found it useful, Sutee. Website speed is something that gets overlooked os often, but it’s so worth investing some of your time and effort. Good luck!

  5. I just contacted the guys at my host and they installed the TinyPNG plugin on my WP site and optimized the images on my site. The loading speed of my website is much better than before!

    Thanks Jurga!

    1. Author

      Glad to hear that, Jessica. Installing the plugin should be pretty easy to do yourself though ;). No idea if TinyPNG works retroactively, i.e. if it does reduce the images that are already uploaded on your site. I always optimize mine before uploading (I’m just using TinyPNG website for that).

  6. Hello Jurga. Great tips and I must agree with you that having a reliable host is very important if you like to have a fast loading website. I tried everything to speed up my slow WordPress site and finally gut the results I wanted when I switched to a better hosting.

  7. Thank you so much for creating this guide: the steps are really easy to follow (even for someone who’s bad at technology as me!) It’s made me really think about site speed in the past week and I’ve finally gone from a D to a B in pingdom (yay!). Still have to work a little on the stuff suggested by Gmetrix :S

  8. Even if we reduce the number of draft revisions in wp-content.php then also it helps a lot in fast site loading

  9. Hello Jurga,

    Being a digital marketer i even don’t know about how to improve website speed but reading many blogs i get some points which are helps me a lot. Points are

    Minimize HTTP Requests
    Reduce server response time
    Enable compression
    Enable browser caching
    Minify Resources
    Optimize images

    Thanks for giving such an amazing blog.

    1. Author

      Great points, Neha Thakur. Just installing a caching plugin can already make a big difference. And image size is still so often overlooked… But for most of the rest, I’m glad I could use the help of a pro, as I’m not really into technical stuff. It was such a great help!

  10. Hi! Thanks for your post. I’d like to add that SiteGround is all about speeding up your site 😉

    1. Author

      I am with SiteGround and I love them. Support is great and my site runs smooth, on top of that they now offer https for everyone… Good to hear you are happy with them too.

Leave a Comment