According to Portent.com, websites should load in 4 seconds or less for optimal conversions. And according to Google, a website’s bounce rate will increase over 30% if a pageload takes 3 seconds instead of 1 second. So for these reasons and more, it is imperative that your website loads for your visitors – and fast!
In a previous blog post about website performance tuning, I wrote about the importance of having a good web hosting provider as well as caching & image optimization. In a separate blog post, I wrote briefly about improving your website’s initial response time. In this blog post, I’m going to provide some specific suggestions to improve the performance of your WordPress website.
1) Use a Caching Plugin
We use and recommend WP Super Cache. Why? Because it will cache everything. Installed properly, it will generate static html files for all of your pages. This means that when someone visits your website, they get served a basic html file. In other words, your visitor doesn’t have to wait on the php code that renders each of your webpages to finish running. This can sometimes drastically improve performance!
2) Preload your Important Image(s)
When you preload an image, you add a <link> tag into the header, which instructs the web browser to begin download the image while the browser processes and renders the additional html code. If the browser has already downloaded an image when it is ready to render the code, then it will be able to display the webpage immeditely. But if on the other hand, an image hasn’t been preloaded and the browser is ready to render the full html code and it has to wait for the image to finish downloading, then the browser is “blocked” from displaying the webpage – PageSpeed Insights considers this “blocking time”.
The following code preloads an image on barredowlweb.com’s homepage. When we implemented this improvement, our total blocking time went down to 0 (zero), and our performance increased by a couple hundred milliseconds!
<link rel="preload" as="image" href="https://barredowlweb.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/website-video.webp">
3) Get Better Web Hosting
As I’ve written in previous blog posts, you get what you pay for. Many website owners just look for the cheapest option available. But cheap does not always mean good! Shared web hosting providers often times cram as many websites as they can onto a single webserver. If one of those websites got compromised or had a sudden increase in traffic that caused extra strain on the server, then every website on that server would be negatively affected. Additionally, cheaper hosting providers may not use state-of-the-art equipment. The speed of hard drives, for example, can make a huge difference in a server. Remember how much Google says bounce rates will increase if a pageload takes 3 seconds compared to 1 second? Sometimes it pays to pay a little extra!
In summary, in one case, we helped a customer reduce their PageSpeed Insights Time to Interactive down to 4 seconds, from over 9 seconds, saving of over 5 seconds! Although we made many improvements to the website, installing & properly configuring WP Super Cache was one of the more significant changes we implemented. In the case of our website (for Barred Owl Web), we also shaved off several seconds, bringing our Time to Interactive down to only 1 second.
Barred Owl Web’s server & network infrastructure is highly resiliant. All of our customer servers are backed by SSD storage connected on a fully private, secure, 10Gbps network, which is not connected to our frontend customer network. Our physical compute servers have lots of redundancy in place. We have placed a high emphasis on building a stable, redundant, and fast web hosing environment for our customers. Learn more & become a customer today.