In case you weren’t sure, speed matters. A lot.

In an online environment like today, fractions of a second can make the difference between a satisfied customer and a sour experience.

Speed it up please.

Did you know that a quarter of site visitors will abandon a website if it takes more than four seconds to load? Or that a one-second delay in page load speed can reduce customer satisfaction by 16 percent; cause an 11 percent dip in page views; and lead to a 7 percent drop in conversion rates?

What does that mean to you? Quite simply, a slow performing site can more than annoy visitors. It can hurt conversions—and ultimately revenue. That’s why you can’t ignore your site speed.

So, how are you doing?

There’s no better place to understand how your website is performing than at Pingdom. This great site will do an analysis of what you’re doing right and where there is room for improvement.

Their easy-to-understand graphic reporting will rank you on a scale of 1-100 and provide valuable insights on the bottlenecks that are that are constraining your performance. You can even share your performance score on social media with one click.

So once you have a benchmark of where you stand, what can you do to ensure that your WordPress site is snappy?

Five tips to rev it up.

Here are five super simple tips to improve the speed of your WordPress site and keep your visitors engaged and satisfied.

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1 | Optimize Images

Images are often the culprit when it comes to a sluggish site. High-resolution images, using the wrong file types, and over stuffing your site with graphics can hog bandwidth and make for a super slow experience.

There are a host of solutions available to help you optimize images to ensure they don’t bog your site down. One way to quickly serve up images on your site is to compress them in a lossless way. That means the file size—and, in turn, the load time—will be smaller, but the quality of the image won’t suffer. Fewer images that are less bulky will soon have your site screaming.

Using great plugins like WP Smush is an easy way to get there. Or you can take the old school route and use an imaging editing app like Photoshop. Either way, the goal is to get small, light and fast with your images.

2 | Use A CDN

A CDN, or content delivery network, is a proven way to boost your site’s speed.

A CDN is a global network of servers that automatically serves site visitors static content such as images, JavaScript, stylesheets and more, from a server that is geographically closer to them. This improves site speed because global visitors receive static content from the geographically closest server. The result reduces the latency between the browser and the server and provides an instant speed boost.

Take note: When you make site additions or add new content to your site or blog, the CDN can take a bit of time to reflect the changes that you’ve made. If you use a great host like WPEngine, they provide an easy to use WordPress extension that allows you to immediately clear the cache throughout the CDN. The result is your changes will show up on your site with a simple page refresh. Sweet!

3 | Enable Minification

This tip gets a bit nerdy, but it’s a relatively simple way to give your site a speed boost.

Minification is essentially the process of removing all of the unnecessary characters and whitespace from source code without changing the code’s functionality. You can minify HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, which makes the code easier to read and your site faster.

There are a number of minification plugins available that can streamline your code and ultimately put the pedal to the metal on your site. One of the more popular is WP Total Cache. But be forewarned, it does a lot more and can be a bit of a bear to configure just right.

4 | Work with the right Theme or Framework

A badly-coded theme can make your site move like a snail. Themes are often a few megabytes in size, which can add seconds to page loading time.

When evaluating themes, or theme frameworks which require more customization and configuration, look at ones that have been optimized for responsive delivery and display on desktops, tablets, and mobile devices. Also, look for themes and frameworks that provide a flexible presentation of your content but leave room for customization and additional functionality with compatible plugins.

Getting a theme or theme framework right can make the difference between a slow loading slug and rocket ship fast site.

4 | Reduce HTTP Requests

Each request adds a small fraction of a second to your site’s load speed. And while that doesn’t seem like much, those nano seconds add up.

Think about it. When someone visits a page on your site, all of the corresponding files must be sent to that person’s browser. That’s images, CSS files, JavaScript—and everything else required to magnificently display your content.

Think of it this way: an HTML file, two CSS files, five JavaScript files, and 10 images add up to 18 total files. Reducing the number of objects on your site can minimize the number of HTTP requests required for that page to render. The concept of less is more has never been more applicable here.

Where to from here?

You’ll do a lot to get your site up to speed just by implementing these key tips. But if they fall out of your comfort zone, consider turning to a qualified resource that can do the heavy lifting to ensure that the most important marketing asset that any business has—your website—will have the quickest page load and response times possible.

Organizations that build and manage WordPress sites on a hosting platform that was built from the ground up to deliver blazing site speeds and mitigate poor content delivery is a good place to start.

That’s where we come in. Our integrated suite of online marketing services will help you: express your value, get found online, attract and retain customers with content, turn site visitors into leads, nurture leads with automation and measure all of your results.

To learn more about our proven approach to integrated online marketing, contact us online or just give us a call at 415.789.5830.


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