Though Google’s spokesmen claimed that page speed is not a ranking factor, I bet they are cunning. On the contrary, I affirm that this factor plays a key role in Google ranking. Why Google hides this vital detail? It seems that the company likes when a webmaster is confused. Otherwise, everyone could be in the TOP 10 by a desired keyword. Without a doubt, you might object, “I see in the Google SERP numerous websites whose owners don’t care about speed.” However, if we are talking about popular media outlets or well-known web projects, this rule is not applied to them.
In fact, in a greater degree, this rule relates to you, a regular webmaster, because, in order to compete with famous rivals you must be perfect. Otherwise, your website will never appear in the Google TOP 10 results. The reason is that Google estimates your project differently. Most large sites use a CDN, WordPress VIP, and other techniques to make their resources more accessible. As a result of their huge backlink profile, Google includes such websites in its whitelist. But since you don’t have a Domain Authority indicator equal to 75/100, you need to perfect other features of your projects to stand in one row with such giants. To cope with this task, you should first define the most crucial lacks of your website.
You may be surprised, but Google PageSpeed Insights is not the only tool to test your project. There are other alternatives which are correct and useful versus Google’s tool. Let’s take a look at some of such instruments closer.
Without a doubt, Google PageSpeed Insights is a great tool. However, it doesn’t give you a full image of your issue. But how to reduce your website’s speed? Follow the steps below.
- Use inline CSS;
- Remove unnecessary JS files or combine them;
- Deactivate or uninstall all unwanted plugins;
- Create your own theme for WordPress (or another PHP framework);
- Define an issue on your server side;
- Use tool capable of compressing your images;
- Remove Facebook comments or DISQUS;
- Use NGINX instead of Apache web server;
- Tune up caching on the server side;
- Reduce the number of your AdSense ads, YouTube videos, and Twitter embedded quotes.
These ten rules would allow you to reduce your website speed up to 2.5/3 seconds.
Use inline CSS
Many years ago, CSS was a part of your HTML document. Over time, it has become the golden rule to move your CSS data into a single file. However, such approach forces your web server to make one or more additional requests to your data. As a result, your speed becomes slower. The only way to get rid of this issue is to use the old-school techniques. I suggest you use as minimum CSS code as you can.
As a beginner, you don’t need to use complicated CSS setups or even CSS frameworks such as Bootstrap. This approach allows you to include your CSS code right in your HTML file. Another option is to use asynchronous loading of your CSS resources. But even in such a case, Google PageSpeed Insights will show you slow speed. This approach is just my suggestion. I only explain to you how to avoid this issue. However, the final decision is on your side. Nonetheless, if you do that, it would surely allow reducing your page speed.
Remove all the useless plugins
Those of you who use WordPress or Joomla love to install a lot of unnecessary plugins, including in order to speed up your website. The first thing you need to do thereby is to try to turn off all of them and then turn on each one by one to define the one which affects your speed. This technique will allow you to figure out which plugin caused the problem.
Create your own theme
In fact, this option is the only right way to avoid all the possible issues with page speed since you control each step of development. However, this approach is useful for experienced webmasters. If you’re just a beginner, please omit this point. But bear in mind, in any case, in the future, you’ll use this approach.
The issues on the server side
In the most cases, Google suggests you reduce your server response time, which means that you will have to move to a more advanced server. But, in fact, something wrong with your settings. As a result, you have two possible ways to solve the problem.
- Move to another hosting provider or change your hosting plan;
- Use advanced techniques, which I’ll describe below.
Compress your images
Google recommends you to compress your images. In fact, your photos and illustrations could slow down your project sufficiently since their size is more than those of your CSS+HTML+JS altogether. If you use a MAC, I’d recommend you to use ImageOptim; for Linux, Google suggests JPEGOptim and other solutions. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to assist you with Windows since I don’t use this OS. Update: if you use Windows, look up this page.
Third-party commenting services
I know that it’s very simple to use DISQUS or Facebook comments instead of a native WordPress commenting system. However, such approach forces your web server to accomplish numerous additional requests to other servers. As a result, your speed depends on Facebook or DISQUS. I, personally, didn’t find any solution how to reduce a speed of external resources. The only way to get rid of this issue is to remove the external commenting systems. But if you do that, you’ll have to turn on Akismet made by Automattic, a plugin which slows down your server even more. But, as mentioned above, you will thereby avoid additional external requests.
NGINX instead of Apache
NGINX is a powerful tool for any webmaster. I suggest you use this web server. NGINX is numerous times faster and more secure than Apache. So if you’re serious about your future massive project, NGINX is the best choice I recommend.
It is the most advanced issue I faced. Google has always been asking me to reduce my server speed even if I am moving to the most expensive hosting plan. I have been struggling with this issue for many years. Finally, I’ve found a solution. I, personally, opted to use PHP FastCGI for caching. However, I see that most of the massive projects use VARNISH. Both approaches are right and are similar to some extent. The idea is to change not only your static content but dynamic content as well. The only issue you would face along the way is how to purge this cache. Fortunately, if you use WordPress, I’ve found an excellent solution. You might use a Nginx Cache WordPress plugin to avoid this issue.
Reduce your Ads, YourTube, and Twitter quotes
Finally, I want to reveal you the last issue I faced along the way to speed up my web server. The problem is almost always the same: when you’re trying to make a request to another remote server, you decrease your server’s speed. Google AdSense uses a lot of requests to their partners such as DoubleClick, googleadservices.com, and other external domains. Each new ad on your website is a series of additional requests. The same I want to say about YouTube and Twitter. Therefore, in order to ultimately speed up your site, you will have to remove all unnecessary Twitter tweets, YouTube videos, and, unfortunately, ad blocks.
In this article, I’ve tried to show you the most common mistakes all beginners do. Of course, each option deserves at least a single article on the subject. And I’ll write them in the future. But for now, you know the clues to your issue. As a result, you could type in Google using the keywords unknown to you before (or follow my external links) and discover the additional data. Over time, all the advanced techniques will appear on my SEO blog. Bear in mind that this article is devoted to the beginner. However, I think that some experienced webmasters might find these data useful too.
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