Earlier Insights

By 17th February 2019Blog, WordPress Speed Optimisation

Why is this important?… Well, Google have just changed the ranking rules a little…

(Google Said) “Today we’re announcing that starting in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches.”

Official Google Webmaster Central Blog

This is how I built one of the fastest WordPress websites in the World and you can do the same by following my process…

My WordPress Speed Up Optimisation Blueprint doesn’t require a WordPress developer

You don’t have to pay a WordPress developer to achieve the same results as me and you don’t have to pay for a custom lightweight WordPress theme to gain massive speed improvements either! There’s already a tonne of freemium WordPress plugins, speed enhanced WordPress themes and other open source software and paid services enabling you to do the job yourself! What do you think us WordPress developers are using? Fairy dust? :)

I took special steps in my article to ensure that my entire WordPress speed up and optimisation process could be carried out by someone who is WP site savvy but not a developer AKA a “non developer” – basically someone who wants to replicate the same high speed results for their own commercial or non-commercial gain. The article you’re reading has been re-drafted around 20 times, it’s taken a month to assemble and it’s called on all of my 12 years as a WordPress developer to curate. I’m not a natural born author or an experienced writer, but I know WordPress, I understand WP technology and I’m one of the best WP developers I know. The information contained within my article is VALUABLE therefore please use this knowledge and power responsibly.

There’s lots of miss information on the web when it comes to WordPress hosting and WordPress performance, so I thought it was about time someone who knew what they were talking about actually told WordPress site owners how to make a super fast WordPress site for themselves (without hacking their theme) – starting right, first time around with a solid performance foundation.

The WordPress speed results that I gained in July 2018 following the WordPress Speed Up Optimisation Blueprint

The site I built loads in 0.157 seconds (157 milli seconds) when tested from London with GT Metrix and has grade A’s on major speed testing sites like Pingdom, Yslow and GT Metrix. It serves content instantly to website visitors!

157ms WordPresss Page Loading From Following The WordPress Speed Up Optimisation Blueprint Devised By Ben Llewellyn At Slib Design

The “WordPress Speed Up Optimisation Blueprint” Made The Demo Website Load In 0.157 seconds When Tested From London Which Is Unbelievably Quick For Any Website

Why my article is aimed at “non developers”

I’ve been a WordPress developer for over 12 years and in my time I’ve come across lots of miss-information online about speeding up WordPress. My aim is simple – to help those who are searching to seek out the truth and provide a blue print on how to make a super fast WordPress website based on FACTS! This article will assist non WP developers to build their own super lightweight, fast WordPress website and gain kudos from search engines. To do this all you have to do is read and follow the same steps as me and be motivated enough to complete all the steps! Make sure you read all of this article first before attempting it. Some of my article will require you to buy third party services. If you don’t want to buy anything that’s OK, but you wont be able to complete the WordPress Speed Up Optimisation Blueprint process and gain the same results that I did.

Why my article isn’t written for WordPress developers

My article wont discuss CSS minification, CDNs Content Delivery Networks, NGIX, PHP versions, functions, functions.php modification, .htaccess rules, frameworks, WP developer techniques, Less CSS, page headers, browser caching or anything technical that someone who has been using WordPress for a short while couldn’t understand. Although, the process does include these features – I just don’t talk about them.

I’ve cut down on the tech jargon and simply stated the things I did (without the long and boring explanation) to make my super fast WordPress website. I’ve glossed over the finer detail and just included the things that automatically do the clever stuff for us – the things that generate the the real WordPress speed gains!

WordPress developers and WP site owners please contribute

My aim is to created revised versions of my initial WordPress Speed Up optimisation Blueprint. If you have a valuable contribution please share it by commenting below. I will refine and include visitor contributed feedback for the next version of the blueprint and make it even better.

The advantages of owning a fast WordPress website

Remember when a person lands on your website for the first time, you only have a few seconds to capture their attention to convince them to hang around.

There are two main advantages of owning a HIGH SPEED WordPress website:

  1. Visitors can access more web pages quicker because they don’t have to wait for pages to load – Better for User Experiences
  2. Google ranks websites that load quicker better – Better for SEO

Combing 1. and 2. increases the probability of a website conversion (internet sale or profitable website enquiry). By this I mean, If your WordPress website enables your website visitors to browse and access more content quicker than your competitors website and your WordPress website is found more easily on Google search that your competitors website – win win. At the very least, your SEO company, PPC manager, PR or social media marketing person will be happy – their job suddenly becomes a lot easier to get better results.

I don’t know about you but I don’t own a website for fun. I own a website to make money.

The 3 key SEO principles

Good content, quality links and fast loading pages are what it takes to dominate search engines. The 3 key influencers of SEO haven’t really changed whilst I’ve been a developer and I’ve been doing it for over 12 years! However, the way you go about the process is constantly evolving and it’s very much different to what it was twelve years ago. I’m not going to talk about website content quality or the pros and cons of good or bad back links in this article, instead I’m going to focus on one of the three SEO key influencers: WordPress website speed optimisation.

Faster web page loading is better for SEO… a boost in speed = a boost in SERPs

Fast WordPress websites are more attractive to Google and rank better (“good for SEO”). Google actively encourages developers like myself to use it’s page speed tool to gain better speed results. Google released a statement in April, 2014 that states site speed is a ranking signal and is one part of the overall Google website ranking algorithm. So website owners can take their business fate into their own hands (just a little) by gaming the search algorithm to the max by building “a faster than their competitor website!”. Recently they’ve gone one step further and publicly announced site speed is a ranking factor on mobile search (see link at the top of the article).

You’ve probably browsed Google on your iPhone or mobile and seen the grey and white lightening icon next to a search result? Yep – Google even tells website visitors on mobile search if the search result is faster than the other results (before they click it). This also incentivises mobile users to click these results over others.

Enhanced visitor experiences decreases visitor bounce rates (fewer immediate site exists)

Providing a better than standard website visitor browsing experience is good customer service. I can say from around 12 years as a WordPress developer that visitor bounce rates and drop off rates that I see on Google Analytics are far higher on slow loading WordPress websites which are typically hosted with budget hosting providers. In my professional opinion a low tier or budget hosting provider typically charges around £50-£150 excluding VAT ($60-$200 excluding taxes) per year for a web hosting account.

People don’t like to wait in supermarkets to pay for their shopping and website visitors don’t like to wait for content to load on websites – especially when they know “think” they can get the exact “same” from someone better a competitor where they wont have to wait in a queue.

Slow WordPress websites are loss leaders in the business sense and should be avoided at all costs if you want to maximise your ROI (return on investment).

3 fundamental factors that affect website page load speed

By isolating the three parts of a website speed we can enhance the overall speed and performance of any website and game the Google search algorithm by creating a faster than standard website that serves content to visitors quicker than 100% of websites ever speed tested in the World. Best of all Google will reward us on SERPs (search engine result pages) for doing so!

1. Domain DNS look up time

This is the time taken from when some types your website address into their web browser or clicks on a website link for the server that your website sits on to start loading website asset number 1. A web browser performs a DNS lookup to verify the IP address of the server to connect to, (in Chrome browser this is when you often see “Connecting…” bottom left hand corner of your browser when the screen is white) then the browser is connected to the web server, and the website content begins to load (as soon as the first asset begins to load on the webpage the Domain DNS look up has completed).

We are going to make the DNS lookup as fast as possible.

2. Server technology that powers the WordPress website

The hosting infrastructure (web server) often referred to as the hosting provider or hosting package plays a crucial role. If we expect our website to run like a Ferrari we need a supercharged engine to drive it! If I went into a Ferrari dealership and the salesman tried to sell me a brand new Ferrari for the same price as a Ford – I’d know I wasn’t getting a Ferrari and I certainly would know I wasn’t buying Ferrari speed performance! The fastest WordPress hosting platforms are expensive and good.

We are going to use a very fast WordPress hosting package that is specifically designed to ONLY power WordPress websites. A tailored hosting package will deliver precise speed, power and agility compared to a cheaper generic solution!

3. Website genetics and asset composition

How a website is built, the number, type and weight (filesize – kilobytes) of the assets a website uses affects page load speed. This can also vary page by page. On website speed test waterfall charts this is referred to as the number of “Requests”.

We are going to use a lightweight WordPress theme and optimise the theme for high speed performance without coding it from scratch! We’re also not going to make it look like an amateur has built it. The website we’re going to build has to have a real world business value.

Suggested Reading: Moz.com Faster Sites: Beyond PageSpeed Insights

Get ready

Let’s get this party started :) The following is my account of how I build a 157ms page load speed WordPress website which looks good and performs better than the majority of the websites ever tested on Pingdom (99% of websites tested) and has the best grades possible on the current top 3 independent website speed test tools – GRADE A’s!

Let’s start from beginning, step by step, so you too can replicate the same success I achieved for you own business without paying a WP developer! Just follow what I did to achieve the same results and remember stay calm if something doesn’t go right and keep making headway to seek out the treasure of unrivaled WordPress website speed!

Good luck.

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Author Ben

Senior WordPress developer (London) and founder of SlibDesign.com. I've been using WordPress for over 12 years. Feel free to get in touch with me if you need WordPress help or tips.

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