We've written, to a great extent, the impact of speed on your users' behavior. And, of course, if there's an impact on user behavior, there's an impact on search engine optimization. Most people don't realize the number of factors involved in the simple process of typing in a web page and having that page load for you.
Now that half of almost all site traffic is mobile, it's also imperative to have lightweight, really fast pages so that your users don't bounce. It's such a huge issue that Google has developed Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to address the issue. If you're a publisher, I'd encourage you to configure and display AMP versions of your pages.
If you are a WordPress user, then you are most probably experiencing its most common problem, which is its slow processing. Slow processing of WordPress becomes a real problem when your work is affected by the unavailability of your site.
Blogging Basics 101
This fantastic infographic from Blogging Basics 101 walks through a logical process of improving the performance of WordPress.
- Troubleshoot the issues that may be slowing down your site. Keep in mind that your site may run quite well in slow traffic times, then come to a screeching halt when you need it to perform best – with a lot of simultaneous visitors.
- Remove unnecessary plugins that cause excessive stress on your database or load too many elements on your external pages. Administrative tools don't have a significant impact, so don't worry about them as much.
- Optimize your database for faster queries. If that sounds like French to you, no worries. Databases operate much faster when the data is indexed properly within them. Many hosts don't optimize your database automatically, but there are a number of plugins that do. Just be sure to backup your data first!
- Content Delivery Networks quickly deliver your static content regionally to your readers. We've written a great overview, What's a CDN? to help you understand.
- Speed Up Image Issues by reducing your image sizes without sacrificing quality. We use Kraken on our site and it's been rock solid. You can also lazy load images so they only actually appear when the user scrolls to them within view.
- Caching is provided by our host, Flywheel. If your host doesn't provide caching, there are some great plugins out there that will help you. We recommend WP Rocket for those that want to avoid all the tweaking of the other plugins out there.
- Social Media Sharing buttons are a must for any site, but the social sites won't work together and have done a terrible job at ensuring their buttons don't pull a site to a screeching halt. We really love all the customization that Shareaholic provides – and you can even monitize your site using their platform.
Do you know whether or not your site is down altogether? I'd encourage you to load and configure Jetpack‘s plugin so that you can monitor your WordPress site's downtime. It's a free service and great to know how often your site is having performance issues. Here's the full infographic!