Do You Need a Website Speed Audit?

Website Speed With recent Google algorithm updates, WordPress website speed is more important than ever. The more you do to tweak your website and make it load faster, the better you will engage your audience that lands on your website. And in fact, you may even find that you can show up slightly higher within search results, depending on the market that you cater to.

There are a number of things that impact website load speed. At Sharp Guys’, we are experts on helping companies diagnose what is currently happening when their website loads and providing ideas for how it can run more efficiently. But in this blog, I will provide some general ideas on things that you definitely will want to look at in sequence in order to grab the lowest hanging fruit first.

Hosting

Without a good host, your website speed will be trash. Using a bad host is like trying to grow a field of corn on rocky soil. It may grow, but it will grow slowly and poorly. In order to maximize your website speed, you have to have a good host just like you would need to have good soil for your corn.

Your Website Content

So many times when we begin doing website speed audits, we realize that web designers or people making updates to the website after the fact, didn’t consider website speed when building out the website. That means that they are using images that are far larger than needed which will drastically slow down website load speed. Not only does this offer a poor user experience for people that are loading your website on their phone or other device with slower internet speeds, but it also means that Google will consider your website bloated and be less likely to show it higher within search results.

That means simple things like reducing image size can be an effective way at increasing your website’s load speed. But way beyond images are a myriad of other files that every WordPress website loads when displaying on a device’s browser. Things like CSS and JavaScript are going to be heavily prevalent in most website designs. The more you can reduce and combine those files, the more speed you can garner out of your existing website. They are a variety of tools available that can help reduce the file sizes of these types of files along with images, one of the best of these types of tools is WP Rocket (highly recommended).

Besides these easier steps, there are also more complex steps that can be taken in order to speed things up. Making sure that any JavaScript errors or PHP errors are minimized or fixed can greatly improve website load speed. Typically this type of fix requires some developmental knowledge and is tougher for the layperson to fix. That being said, sometimes these are just as important or even more important than the fixes mentioned above.

Additional steps can be taken to maximize the website speed by making sure that you are using PHP 7.2 and above. Some websites are still using an older version of PHP that is not only a security risk but also much slower than PHP 7.2 and above. You will find these settings within your hosting environment. One note is that older websites may not work or play nicely with PHP 7.2. That basically means that those websites have an end of life date that is quickly approaching as many hosts will be requiring everyone to upgrade to PHP 7.2 and above in the near future, due to the aforementioned security risks.

CDNs can also be used to increase website loading speed. CDN’s are paid services that take frequently used files like images and JavaScript files and automatically place them on servers all around that world. By doing this, it makes it so files that are physically closer to the visitor will load quicker than if everything is just stored in one single place regardless of where the visitor is from. This is more effective for organizations that have nationwide or international presences and typically doesn’t need to be done for local businesses as most people will be in the same location. That being said, try to pick a host that will store your files nearer to your actual physical location if you are a local business. Otherwise a CDN that can provide a more localized file storage area can increase website speed.

Want to Learn About Your Website Speed?

Are you interested in increasing your WordPress website’s speed but don’t want to mess with any of this? Reach out to us today for a FREE website audit and we will do our best to try to give you some tips on what can be done to change your individual website for the better. We also offer a website speed up service that can drastically increase your website’s speed.

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