As a small business owner you need to give some attention to the speed of your business website. Website speed means how fast the pages of the website load. Website speed is a hot topic these days. Why?
There are many reasons and the the most popular are:
#1 Search engines like Google rank websites based on how fast they are. So a fast website will get ranked much higher than a slow website.
#2 Statistics say that the average expected load time for a website is about 2s.
#3 Online visitors are becoming very impatient. They will not stick around to see your website if it loads slow.
As a business owner if you want your website to stand out and gain more traffic, you must take a look at improving website speed.
First thing first. How do you go about measuring the speed of your website? Luckily there are a few popular tools that you can use. These tools are free and you can use a combination of these to test out the speed of your business website. We recommend tools like Pingdom, Gtmetrix and PageSpeed. Go ahead and test your business website through these tools and see where your website stands.
Now hopefully you may have an idea about how good or bad your website is doing in terms of speed. Lets look at somethings you can do to speed up the website. I will only go through some of the most basic and essential steps you can take. There are more advanced steps to try, but I will cover that in another post soon.
#1 Does your website use caching?
WordPress website pages get created dynamically every time a visitor access the url. A Caching Plugin will help avoid/reduce this and thus improve the speed of the website. I recommend installing and setting up the WP Super Cache plugin.
#2 Are your website images optimised?
We tend to use a lot of high quality images in our websites to improve engagement. If these are not optimised then it could have a huge impact on the website speed. This is something heavily over looked by many small businesses. People are known to upload big images to their websites. Generally its recommended to use JPEG and PNG images for a website and each must be compressed. Luckily there are plugins that can automate this process every time you upload images to the website. I highly recommend the plugin Smush Image Compression and Optimization.
#3 Is your website up to date?
WordPress, its themes and plugins release updates often. You need to make sure that these updates are applied on the website on a timely manner. Not doing so may make your site slow and unreliable, and make it vulnerable to security threats. You could manually do this on a regular basis or you can install a plugin that will do it for you automatically. I always use and recommend Easy Updates Manager.
#4 Are there any obsolete plugins on the website?
Your website may have dozens of plugins installed. But do you actually use each and everyone of them? I’m sure you don’t. Do an audit on the plugins and deactivate and delete all plugins that are currently not used. Having only a limited number of highly used plugins on your website goes along way in improving the website performance.
#5 Is the website Theme and Hosting used focus on speed?
Did you know that website themes with high levels of functionality and customisation may not to be the most optimised in speed? It’s usually better to go with a simpler theme and use quality plugins to get the features you need. I recommend to go with a popular light weight theme. My personal favourite is GeneratePress. I use the free version which comes with the most basic functionality. Your WordPress hosting service also plays an important role in website performance. A good shared hosting provider like BlueHost or Siteground is my personal recommendation. These providers take the extra measures to optimise your website for performance. But a managed hosting allows for much better performance than shared hosting.
Well that concludes some the most important and basic things that must be covered to ensure good speeds for your business website.
Hope it gave you some good insights and a starting point to enhance your website speed. You can work on these yourself if you do have the time and know-how. Or if you don’t want to deal with it, I’d be happy to do it for you. Contact me for details.