The Importance of Website Speed (And How to Hit the Gas Pedal)

Gone are the days of dial tones and slow loading pages.

The modern age of broadband and fiber optic internet is all about one thing:


Online users expect and demand that their experience online is fast and smooth.

This is even more pronounced among mobile users (which are growing by the day).
The Importance of Website Speed (And How to Hit the Gas Pedal)
Today I’m going to show you exactly why your website’s speed should be a priority, and what you can do to speed things up.

Website Speed: The Silent Website Killer

Website speed is something you can measure, but it’s not something tangible that you can see.
It’s an experience, and more importantly, the first impression for your users.

Here are a few options for measuring your current loading times: 
  • Pingdom - A free tool for measuring your speed.
  • Google PageSpeed Insights - Measures speed and offers suggestions.
  • Orbit Local - A free bulk speed testing tool that can test up 500 sites at once and can check the website's core web vitals. This tool can also check the mobile and desktop speed of a website.
Once you’ve taken a look at where your website stands, the next step is to understand how your speed affects the success of your business.

Consider these facts: 
  • Since 2010, Google has considered website speed a ranking factor.
  • According to research done by the Aberdeen group, a one-second delay in page loading time results in a 11% drop in pageviews and a 7% drop in conversions.
  • Research studies done by Econsultancy research found that 47% of online users expect websites to load in two seconds or less. Furthermore, 88% are less likely to shop there again if page load times are too long.
  • 85% of mobile users expect pages to load as fast or faster than their desktop counterparts.
  • 55% of all time spent on retail websites is done with a mobile device.
In short, having a slow website will devalue any rankings you have since your traffic and conversions will be going elsewhere.

It’s time to find out how you can avoid this fate and speed up your website loading times.

Pedal to the Metal: How to Speed Up Your Website Today

Website speed is affected by a number of factors.

If you’re one of the numerous WordPress users out there, then you’ll be happy to hear that many of these strategies can be utilized quite simply with the use of specific plugins.

When it comes down to it, many of these tactics will also be beneficial to your SEO efforts as well.

Let’s find out how to put your website speed into high gear:

1. Choose a Great Host

When you set out to create a blog, the first thing you’ll be looking for is a hosting service.

This is the foundation of your website’s success, so it’s not to be taken lightly.

Not only will the hosting company factor into your decision, but the type of hosting will matter as well.

Here are some tips to choosing the right host and hosting plan for your website: 
  • Look at customer reviews.
  • Check their average downtime.
  • Look for fast speeds or SSD storage as a feature.
  • Remember that shared hosting has you on the same server as other websites.
  • VPS hosting gives you access to more server resources if your website has high traffic.

2. Use a Caching Plugin

Second, only to high-quality hosting is the need for a caching plugin.

This tool will automatically work behind the scenes to make it easier for users to request and access your web pages. The king of all caching plugins is W3 Total Cache for WordPress.

This plugin works immediately once you’ve installed and activated it.

You’ll notice the difference immediately and you’ll more than likely never need to touch it unless you’re an advanced user who wants to tweak the settings.

3. Optimize Your Images

Images with high resolutions come with massive file sizes. The larger the file size, the more it drags down the loading speeds on your pages.

There are multiple ways to compress images without losing out on the overall quality.

You can use an online tool like Optimizilla to manually compress images, or you can install a plugin like WP-Smush.It for WordPress to automatically compress images as you upload them.

It’s also important to use the correct file types. For example, JPEG is great for the visuals of your blog, while PNG is ideal for high-quality images, but can get heavy on the file size. Finally, GIFs are good for icons and animated images, but shouldn’t be used as your post’s visuals.

For an additional SEO boost, be sure to add descriptive alt-text and a relevant file name to your images.

4. Limit Stored Post Revisions

When you’re writing a post, you’re probably like me and you constantly save the draft to be safe.

Did you know that WordPress stores every single one of these drafts?

They can really add up and ultimately slow down your website.

Thankfully, there’s another plugin to the rescue! Known as Revision Control, this plugin will allow you to set the limit for how many revisions are stored at a time.

5. Optimize Your Homepage

Your website is like a house with a hundred doors. People won’t always come in through the front door and land on your homepage.

Sometimes they’ll come bursting through the wall and end up on a blog post.

Regardless of this fact, many people will visit your homepage first. That means that this page should receive extra attention to ensure it loads as quickly as possible. Here are some tips to make that happen: 
  • Show excerpts of posts with links to the full page.
  • Only show between 5-7 posts per page.
  • Remove sharing buttons (use these in your posts).
  • Remove any unneeded plugins or widgets.
  • Keep it simple and clean for both user experience and website speed boosts.

Final Thoughts

The speed of your website is an incredibly important aspect of your SEO and your marketing.

By understanding its importance and following these tips for decreasing your loading times, you’ll find that every aspect of your online presence improves.

How do you improve your website’s speed?

Let us know in the comments!
Guest post by Jennifer Daly a WordPress guru with experience launching countless websites and maximizing their speed.