Optimizing WordPress Websites for Better Google PageSpeed Scores

Pagespeed scores is something that has lurked in the shadows for many years now but no one really knew why. For some it has been a topic of conversation spanning at least 10 years. Search engines love fast loading websites as much as we do. WordPress as most people would have heard is great for SEO. Optimizing a WordPress website is not always easy and with a huge list of plugins available make finding the right optimization plugin hard. Before we look at optimizing a WordPress website it is important you understand the history of page speed.

In 2016/2017 Pagespeed was tested on the likes of Pingdom and GT Metrix. Google had their tool but a lot of users said it wasn’t very good. Finally late last year Google stood its ground and built in various ranking factors that the others couldn’t. This was done using Lighthouse, an automated tool that audits the quality of web pages. To top it off they made it known that page speed would be more important than ever. It also added User Experience to its ranking signal as a result. Its scoring system is out of 100 for both desktop and mobile.

How do You Tackle Page Speed With WordPress?

WordPress in its basic form is a blogging come content management system. Sitting on top of WordPress itself is usually a series of plugins. While they may seem random they really are targetted for specific needs. You can turn WordPress websites in to e-commerce powerhouses, setting up a blog or even a typical website. Choosing how to tackle pagespeed as we know it can be difficult.

Before you start addressing issues that Googles’ tool identifies you need to know what they include. The list is quite long, but here is a few:

  1. Minifying of scripts – Javascripts, css and html can all be reduced to help increase page speed.
  2. Efficiently encoding images – In short, reduce the size of the images and compress their file size as much as possible.
  3. Enable text compression – Believe it or not but text can be compressed
  4. Avoid page redirections – Redirection of pages can add to the site load times
  5. Preconnect to required origins – You should establish early connections to third party services or websites.
  6. Keep javascript execution time down – executing, parsing or compiling JS scripts will extend page load times
  7. Avoid large pages – Pages that are long or that have heaps of large image files will get penalised.
  8. Reduce Server Response Times (TTFB) – TTFB, also known as Time To First Byte is crucial. If you have 0 TTFB then you are winning from the get go.

This is just 8 out of a longer list. The point is that these all count towards your page speed. Applying these to all devices is cruicial. Understanding that there are many things that can affect a given point mentioned above means you need to be thinking outside of the box regularly. It will make the difference in some cases of over 10 points.

WordPress Plugins to Consider Using

While it is true that WordPress has many plugins available for you to optimize your website, there is quite a few that claim they will help but they don’t. So what sort of things should you consider when choosing the right plugins? Well, the first thing you need to look at is when it was last updated. Plugins will often be free and have almost no long term support. Since you cannot guarantee long term support you need to make sure that it was updated recently. Next you need to find out how many people are using it. In the WordPress plugin directory it will tell you how many installs have been deployed. The best one is typically the one with the highest number.

To help save some time on choosing the right optimization plugin for your site we have included a list of a few popular ones to try. We have used these plugins for various reasons and in most cases they have long term support.

  1. WP Fastest Cache – You have the option of a FREE and a Paid version for this plugin. The support team are great if you need them. The cost to purchase the full version/paid version is $49USD or there abouts and it is worth every cent.
  2. WP Rocket – One of the more popular options out there in the marketplace. We have seen great results with this plugin on both custom coded themes and prebuilt ones from theme clubs. It is more expensive but it is still worth trying.
  3. WP Super Cache – It currently has over 2 million installations and has a great star rating. The plugin is user friendly and easy to setup.

What Else Can be Done to Optimize Your WordPress Website?

This is one process which can often take up to 24 hours for some people to get done or even fine tuned to a point where they are happy. If you find yourself or your SEO person finds themselves spending countless hours and getting no where quick then you should contact us. Suncoast Web Solutions has been building and optimizing WordPress websites for over 15 years now. You can even ask us for a fixed cost on carrying out the optimization for your site.

Various service providers in the marketplace will charge really low prices for this service without fully explaining what they are doing or even understanding what they really need to offer customers. While this sounds odd, there is some providers who believe that the issue is easily resolved with a couple of plugins. The reality though is they need to dig deeper and look at the code behind the theme and plugins, the server the site is hosted on as well as the plugins being used. Past that they also need to look at the image/video/audio file sizes and more importantly the hosting environment the site is on.

Get better Google PageSpeeds Today

Get started today by finding out what your websites pagespeed score is. You can do this by checking out our Free SEO Toolkit website. Simply enter in your website address and our system will complete an initial SEO audit of your site which does include your Google PageSpeed. If your score is below 80 then reach out to us here at Suncoast Web Solutions and we will organise an indepth review of your websites performance.



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