When your website doesn’t load fast enough, you run into trouble… But why is page speed so important? And how can you make your WordPress blog run faster?
This episode of Marketing in Minutes was recorded with the following equipment:
In this episode of Marketing in Minutes, let’s talk about
- … the real reasons why you need to optimize your blog for speed
- … why you will get more traffic when your page speed is high
- … how to optimize your WordPress blog for speed
All in under 10 minutes!
You can find the full transcript of this episode of Marketing in Minutes below.
The Importance of Page Speed
You just pressed the play button on this podcast.
How long did it take to start playing? If you have okay internet connection it probably started almost instantly.
What if it had taken 10 seconds to load? Or 20, or 30?
We expect content we request on the web almost instantly. And if you are publishing anything online, you have to deliver just as fast.
I’m Jonathan Gebauer, and you are listening to Marketing in Minutes.
Welcome to Marketing in Minutes by The Social Ms – the podcast that gives you everything you need to know about one Marketing topic per episode.
I’m Jonathan Gebauer, and today let’s talk about page speed!
Everyone who starts their first blog or website all by themselves has to learn a lot of new things.
And if you’re not a technical person, studied computer science, or were born in the matrix with upload ports in your spine, it can look like a crazy load of work to just get your site online, or your self-hosted WordPress blog running.
Even before you start worrying about optimizations like page speed.
Whether your website loads in 15 seconds or 3 often doesn’t seem as important to newcomers – but it is.
Let’s start with a short history lesson – in the early days, we accessed the Internet through regular phone lines and devices that sounded like this:
Sound: Modem sounds
And that was slow – if we had a time machine and would go back to these days, it would be hard to imagine that what used to be the internet would eventually turn into the technology we today accept as normal.
Watching movies or even just short video clips over the internet couldn’t even be imagined. Images were few and looked like pixel art out of video games because of the low resolution.
And then there were the load times: Even just sending a few lines of text over slow phone connections could take forever.
In those days, the limiting factor was phone lines, but when faster connections started to appear, the responsibility for fast loading times fell to the content providers.
The first company to really understand the importance to up the ante on page speed and serving content as fast as possible was Google.
Google is a company that makes a lot of decisions based on statistics – and that means that they started to measure things like the dropoff rate of users in relation to page loading times.
And they found that there is a massive relation: If the page takes to long to load, users will leave before the content has even loaded. And as a website owner, you don’t want that.
They found that even in the old days they started to lose visitors when the page took longer then 3 seconds to load.
So these three seconds became a holy mantra for Google back in those days. They kept their search engine as simple to as possible – with only very few images appearing that could slow down the site. They spend 1000s of hours on optimizing their database speeds so they would be able to bring search results to the end user fast.
Take a look at the search results: Each search result page displays the number of results and how long the database took to respond above the actual results.
If you are a content provider, page speed is just as important for you as it is for Google – and today, internet users have even higher expectations for getting content fast.
If you are using the Internet, you expect content to be fast. So as a website owner, you have to deliver fast.
Before we dive into how we actually do that, let’s check out how important page speed really is. The first benefit is, as I said that user stay on your site. Let me demonstrate that. Here isten-secondond pause… Don’t leave – this is just for demonstration purposes.
Hey, I’m back, and that was probably frustrating and annoying. You don’t want to annoy your visitors like that.
But today there is even more to it – Google measures page speed and ranks fast sites higher. That’s another bunch of visitors you lose with a slow site.
And if you want social media traffic, imagine all those people who don’t share your content because it took to long to load. It’s a fact: slow sites almost never go viral. That’s how important page speed is.
Luckily, most of the work for optimizing your page speed has already been done for you – you won’t need those 1000s of hours of development time. You can thank Google and other companies for that.
All you have to do today is activate the tech on your site… But even that is a daunting task for many.
Let’s say you have a wordpress site – how do you do that?
Let me give you a short overview. I will also link to one of my articles in the show notes that will give you a more in-depth tutorial!
When you optimize your site for page speed, there are a few different layers that you have to implement.
You may have just installed your wordpress blog on a brand new server. And that means it may be very slow.
The first thing you need to do and the one thing that will have the biggest impact is to install caching. Caching means that several elements of your site will reside in faster access memory or even whole caching servers.
This has to be done at various points between the end user and your blog. A caching engine that you install as a plugin on your wordpress site will speed up the response time of your server. A CDN like Cloudflare will cache your responses on their servers.
There are more caching layers – like memcache and varnish. For more on what to do with those, check out the link in the show notes.
Caching will have the biggest impact on your page load times.
But once you’ve done that, there is more you can do. The way I suggest you take is use a tool like GTMetrix to get more information on how fast your site loads and how you can make it faster. It’s free and you can use it to improve your site speed step-by-step.
I will link to GTMetrix in the show notes of course.
That’s how you go at optimizing your WordPress site for page speed. One final thing I have to say here: If you haven’t started your blog yet, you can save yourself a lot of work by using a host that already gives you an optimized installation of WordPress.
The one we suggest you use here at The Social Ms is Cloudways. It will allow you to start with all caching layers preconfigured for you. You can find more information on Cloudways in the show notes – and even get a 15 Dollars in free hosting credits!
But even if you already have your blog up and running and don’t want to switch – you can optimize your page speed. But it can be a lot of work!
That’s all for today – I hope you liked this episode of Marketing in Minutes. If you did, please subscribe and write a review on Apple Podcasts – or wherever you listen to the show.
For more information, visit the show notes at Blog.TheSocialMs.com/MiM-33 – that’s blog.thesocialms.com/MiM-33
My name is Jonathan Gebauer and you’ve been listening to Marketing in Minutes.
That’s all for today, take care, Bye!