The Importance of Website Page Loading Speed

Website Page Speed or the time that it takes to fully load a website page is extremely important.

Having a fast and responsive website is not as hard or expensive to achieve as you might think.

The best part

There are no technical skills required.

In this post, I will show you how we optimized our own Marketing Kitchen website to consistently load in under three seconds and how you too can speed up your website for better rankings and user experience.

Marketing Kitchen Page Score

I want to keep this post beginner friendly and avoid technical details.

Does this sound familiar?

• You put a lot of effort, time and money into developing a great looking website.

• Create and publish well researched, excellent content.

• Spend thousands on paid advertising through Facebook and Google

…But do not see a positive ROI on your marketing investment? Then poor website performance may be to blame.

If your website loads in more than 3 seconds then you have a serious problem.

Why?

For every additional second your website’s bounce rate increases. This means that visitors to your website are leaving before they even get a chance to you what you are offering.

If your site is slow visitors are leaving before they even get a chance to see what you are offering. Click To Tweet

According to Google’s own John Mueller:

If a page has a high response time for requests of over 2 seconds, it severely impacts the number of your page’s URLs Google crawls. 

This means that even if your content is stellar, your pages will not appear in search results.

Here’s a simple way to check your own website.

Go to gtmetrix and pingdom, choose the location where you would like to run the test from, typically the location closest to your main audience, and hit enter.

A few seconds later your results will appear along with some scores and recommendations on how your page speed can be improved.

We recently made a lot of optimizations to Marketing Kitchen that resulted in our site consistently loading in under 3 seconds.

Pingdom Score MKHere’s how you can achieve it too.

As we use WordPress for our website this guide these recommendations are for self-hosted WordPress websites.

Do you want more tips on how to grow your business?

Website Hosting

Based on my experience, having a good host for your website is the most crucial part of having a fast website.
 
There are many hosting options out there.
 
When I was starting out I used website hosting providers like Bluehost or iPage for my websites.
 
I used these providers because they were recommended by people that I trusted and admired, like Patt Flynn from Smart Passive Income.
 
The second reason is that they are cheap to get started, usually $3 a month.
 
However, if you want that price you need to pay for the full year in advance.
 
Setting up a WordPress site with these hosts is very easy and straightforward.
 
I was so happy.
 
Ready to take over the world.
 
My website looked amazing, and I worked so hard to write my first blog posts and promote them.
 
Then it hit me,
 
Nobody was reading my blogs.
 
I checked my analytics and my website’s bounce rate was off the roof.
 
People were clicking on my links, but as soon as they came to my site they clicked the ‘x’ button to leave the page.
 
At this point I realized.
 
I’ve made a huge mistake.
 
I valued myself, my writing AND my audience’s time at $3 a month.
 
No wonder they valued my content even less than that.
 
I ran the website through various speed test tools, hoping that I would see something positive but the results were consistent.
 
Server Response Time – Should be done in a few weeks
Page load time – You’ll be dead by the time the page loads.
 
OK,
 
I am exaggerating, but that is how it felt.
 
Nobody was reading my content not because it was bad (well maybe it was, but we will never find out, will we?) but because they never got to see it.
 
The page would load the fastest in 10 seconds and sometimes if more than five people were trying to access it at the same time, 30 seconds.
 
When I spoke to support they told me the server is experiencing heavier than usual traffic.
 
So, what did I do next?
 
I upgraded to premium shared hosting or whatever they call it.
 
To keep it short, not much changed.
 
Here is a visual representation.
 
Shared Hosting
shared hosting visualization
Premium Shared Hosting
 premium shared hosting visualization
Right Now
wordpress hosting flywheel
To be fair, I didn’t try the more expensive tiers they provide. Either way, even their cheapest WordPress hosting solution is more expensive than Flywheel, which is what we use now.
 
For a while, I gave up writing online and having my own website.
 
I didn’t want to invest 100s of dollars a month for WordPress optimized hosting and I didn’t want to compromise again.
 

This all changed when I found Flywheel.

 
Flywheel is the most straightforward, customer-friendly WordPress optimized host I have ever come across and their hosting plans start at only $14 dollars a month.
 
Now, if you think that is expensive I have two solutions for you.
 1. Find $14 a month.
Cancel your Netflix, sell your old games, clothes etc. You never use them anyway.
2. Do not own a website or blog.
I know it sounds harsh but if you do, you will waste your time and effort. Do something else that makes you happier or publish your content on a different platform, like YouTube.
 
At first, Flywheel looks like they lack a lot of features.
 
They do not offer free domains, email, themes and other features that are common with other hosting providers.
Quick sidenote:
if you want a free professional email like [email protected] use Zoho Mail
Instead, their mission is to be the best WordPress only hosting provider.
 
And they do not disappoint.
Flywheel Features
 
All their plans have all the features, (except a few geared to professionals) you are not missing out on anything if you choose the cheaper or the most expensive plan.
 
Flywheel only limits the disk space and bandwidth for your site.
If you are using a different website hosting provider, Flywheel will migrate your website for free.
Website Hosts like Bluehost, charge $149 for this service. That is their strategy, it is cheap to get started but they keep upselling to you.
Flywheel is honest and upfront. So far they have been the most transparent company I have used online, period.
 
bluehost website migration
Even with the starting plan you get blazing fast speeds for your site.
 
If you are using another host, they migrate your website for Free while others charge some steep amounts.
 
But wait, there is more.
 
They also provide free SSL certificate for your website.
 
Your site visitors can be assured they are accessing a secure website.
 
It is also important to note that having a secure site is increasingly important for Google too.
 
If you do not have an SSL Certificate for your site, visitors may see something like this.

https for website ssl

Source: solentcreate.com

Flywheel also offers one of my favorite and most useful tools for FREE.
 
Local by Flywheel is an application that lets you build your website on your computer.
 
Once you are ready you can make your website public with the click of a button. That way you can optimize your site as much as you like for as long as you like without paying for hosting.
 
You will only pay when your website is ready.
 
Flywheel has one of the best customer service teams in any industry, not just hosting.
 
Being a WordPress plugin addict I recently installed a plugin that created a bunch of redirects and made my website inaccessible.
 
I couldn’t access my admin area and my website visitors couldn’t access my website at all.
 
I contacted their customer service team and they fixed my issue in no time.
Fywheel automatically updates your WordPress version. You do not have to worry about the latest security patches or other technical aspects of your website.
 
The more I use Flywheel the more I fall in love with what the team has achieved.
 
Flywheel backups your website frequently so if something goes wrong, you can fully restore your website in no time, with the click of a button.
 WordPress Backup by Flywheel
 
Best of all, Flywheel eliminates the need for many WordPress plugins.
 
For example, they handle your websites caching server side, so you do not need a plugin like WP-Cache.
 
And since they handle backups you do not need any plugins for that either.
 
As you may know, when it comes to plugins for your website, less is more.
 
The more plugins you install on your WordPress website, the slower your site becomes.
 
Flywheel is also one of the hosts recommended by WordPress.org themselves.
 
Furthermore, they offer 12 server locations, which means that no matter where your audience is, your content is delivered to them at the fastest speed possible.
 
And if your audience is worldwide they offer a very affordable but great Content Delivery Network (CDN)
 
There is much more than I include here about Flywheel, I would recommend visiting their website to find out more about their hosting service.
 
Alright.
 
So now we have a great hosting provider.
 
We have already achieved better website speed, with great server response times and fast loading web pages.
 
However, we can do even better.
 
Remember, saving even a few milliseconds can make a huge difference.
 
Additionally,
 
If for example your servers are in New York and you do all the optimizations, your content may be delivered 0.5 seconds faster than before to someone accessing your site from NY but for someone accessing it from London, UK it may load 2 seconds faster.
 
That’s a massive difference and well worth the trouble.
This is where CloudFlare comes in.
 
Cloudflare provides a content delivery network, Internet security services, and distributed domain name server services.
 
CF sits between the visitor and the user’s hosting provider, acting as a reverse proxy for websites.
 
Simply put, Cloudflare paired with Flywheel makes your website even faster and more secure.
Setting Cloudflare up to work with Flywheel is easy. Read how to do it on the Flywheel website.
 
They have a free tier which is great for when you are getting started, setting it up is easy and fast.
 
Do not change any settings on the CloudFlare dashboard If you do not know what you are doing.
 
Here’s what we changed and saw a significant increase in website performance.
 
On the Speed tab click on the boxes to auto minify javascript, CSS, and HTML.
Cloudflare Site Speed
Further down the page, turn the toggle to on to Enable Accelerated Mobile links.
Cloudflare AMP
This significantly improves the mobile user experience for users accessing your website through smartphones.
Lastly, further down the page make sure the ‘automatic’ option is checked on ‘Rocket Loader’
cloudflare rocket loader

Website Theme

It is important to choose a theme that is not very heavy, but at the same time doesn’t compromise on features and functionality.
 
We chose to use Divi for Marketing Kitchen.
 
divi theme wordpressDivi is the most popular WordPress theme and for good reason.
It strikes the perfect balance between simplicity, features, and user-friendliness.
 
This WordPress theme offers a super simple drag and drop functionality that makes building beautiful websites a breeze, even for beginners.
 
With Divi, our website is fast but also functional.
 
To improve your website’s load speed on Divi make sure to head on to settings and enable the options ‘Minify And Combine Javascript Files’ and ‘Minify And Combine CSS Files’
divi speed improvement
Tesla themes is another provider of beautiful, fast and function packed WordPress themes that are budget friendly.

Image Optimization

Images are one of the main things that can harm your website’s load speed.

One of the most important things to do when uploading images for your posts or website is lossless compression.

There are multiple plugins that do this for your WordPress site.

The one I found to be the best free solution is Imagify. Another great alternative would be Shortpixel.

imagify image compression

Once you first install and activate it, Imagify will automatically compress and optimize all your website’s images significantly improving your website’s load time.

 

Conclusion

When getting started with WordPress it is very easy to fall into the plugin trap. There are literally thousands of plugins that promise to significantly improve your website’s speed.

Remember, having a lot of plugins installed at the same time can slow your website or at the worst-case scenario completely mess up your WordPress site.

As I said I love experimenting and have messed up quite a few times myself. Thankfully the folks over at Flywheel are very patient and helpful.

Doing all these things will take less than a day, but will improve your business in the long term.

Now run your website through Pingdom and Gtmetrix speed tests and compare your performance.

Now that you have a blazing fast website, you need to promote it.

Check out our previous article for the best affordable and underutilized promotion strategies.

And, head over to our resources page for the best business growth and marketing tools.

If you know someone who could benefit from these tips or has a painfully slow website hit the share button.

 

 

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