Taking time to speed up your WordPress site can be the difference between an engaged user who you are able to connect with vs someone moving on to find another resource. People today want what they want, when they want it. Oftentimes, when they want it is immediately or literally 3 seconds or less. This is true for your favorite take out as well as your favorite business site. For this reason, load time and page speed are key factors in a website’s success. In fact, two of the three Core Web Vitals defined by Google are page speed related. So what is defined as a “fast” website? Why is it important? And How does this relate to WordPress users?
A Quick History In Speed:
Google’s Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) measures page loading performance in terms of speed. This is the perceived page speed based on when a web page’s primary content is loaded. Currently, a healthy LCP is defined as 2.5 seconds or less. Google’s First Input Delay (FID) measures page responsiveness in terms of interactive speed. Otherwords, how quickly does the page match the end-users interaction like scrolling or pressing a button. A page’s healthy FID should be 1000 milliseconds or less to be considered good user experience.
What does this mean for your business website?
- Initial Load Too Slow = People Leave: In general, if your site takes much more than 3 seconds to load you’re going to see a drop in activity and an increase in bounce rate. People are impatient and are going to look elsewhere.
- Slow Response = Refresh. Refresh. Bye: If users cannot get your website to respond within a reasonable time then they are going to try to force reload or leave. They simply don’t want to wait to see if your website will catch up or not.
- Fast and Furious = Success: When your site loads fast and responds instantaneously people will interact and are more likely to convert. Faster sites ultimately equal higher profits.
The current speed standards are pretty extreme. You basically need your website to load and interact with the end-user instantly. Luckily, there is a little leeway for success. As long as you’re hitting a standard 75% on Core Web Vital metrics you’re considered in good shape with no impact on your search engine responsiveness and rankings. In 2019, only 15-20% of all websites met this parameter (Note: this varies slightly by industry). That means you have a sizable opportunity to edge out your competitors with a few optimizations and tricks. Being faster than your competition is a sure way to gain traction with your target audience.
How This Relates to WordPress Users:
When using WordPress, you get the benefit of functionality and customization that is not currently matched by any other template based website tool. With the number of themes, pre-made templates, and plugins currently available you can build out your dream website without much custom code writing. WordPress is an ideal solution for businesses of all sizes that are looking for professionalism, ease of use, easy maintenance, and modern styling. Unfortunately, sometimes there is a cost; page speed.
WordPress has been working actively to combat this. They offer a free speed test that provides helpful insight, nice animations, and suggestions. They have great hosting speed that is reasonably priced through WPEngine. Many themes are continuously being improved to boost page speed without additional work on the backend.
However, there are often instances where your WordPress site might be a tad slow due to all of the great functionality and template customization being loaded. The good news is that there are a myriad of ways to overcome the obstacle of speed on your WordPress site. We have found tips and tricks that have proven to be integral in page performance for both desktop and mobile versions of your website. These include image optimization, code cleanups, font consolidation, and more. With a little effort, you can have the best of both worlds: sleek, user-friendly style and top-tier page performance.
Begin working to speed up your WordPress site in part 2