How Well Does Your Website Perform? Here are Some Simple Ways to Improve Your Website’s Performance
No matter how great your website looks, if it isn’t performing well, you’ve lost the chance to convert new customers. In other words, a poorly performing website can mean no clicks, no referrals, and a never-ending battle to keep afloat. So what can be done about it?
Well…carrying out a WordPress performance audit is a good place to start! Here’s a brief breakdown of the specific areas you’ll need to audit if you’re in the ecommerce, travel, restaurant, or hospitality industry.
Here’s how to audit your website for better performance:
1) Check Your Page Load Speed
Even though you may think your website is beautiful, if it takes forever to load, your customers won’t stick around. Because search engines like Google only want to return high quality websites for their users, they’ll suppress slow-to-load web pages from their results.
Several factors determine how Google ranks a page’s load speed, but together they call these factors Core Web Vitals. The main three vitals they monitor are:
- Largest Contentful Paint – The time it takes the largest element on your web page to load, e.g. a large hero image, or video
- First Input Delay – The time before a user has the ability to interact with a page while it’s loading
- Cumulative Layout Shift – The visual shift in site content as page elements load that may cause a user to erroneously click something, or lose their place reading
Yes, these factors sound like some serious jargon, but the short of it is: improving and monitoring your website’s load speeds are some of the most important things you can check to increase conversions and retain more customers.
There are various ways you can speed up your website, but here are a few easy places to start:
- Make sure your site isn’t weighed down by unnecessary, time-consuming elements, i.e. remove all ads and plugins that aren’t necessary for the main site function
- Compress all images on your website and delete any unused ones (try not to have any images over 1 MB!)
- Enable caching (this means storing a copy of your files on the server so they don’t have to be pulled from it every time)
2) Check for Mobile Friendly Results
For a modern business to succeed, it’s essential your website performs well across mobile devices. More and more people are using their mobile devices when searching for products on the web. This is especially true in Asia and Africa where smartphones are hugely popular compared to desktops.
But moreover, you’ll also want mobile friendliness because Google now primarily uses the mobile version of your site to index and rank it. This means, if your website is less accessible on phones, it won’t appear in Google’s search results.
So how can you check if your website is mobile friendly?
One of the easiest and most accessible ways is to simply load your site on your mobile phone. This enables you to see first hand how your smartphone handles your website.
Keep in mind however, since there are so many different smartphones available, what works on your smartphone, might not work on somebody else’s. This is why it’s also good to use a tool like the Device Toolbar in Google Chrome’s inspector.
You can access this amazing developer tool by right-clicking any element on your published web page via Google Chrome, and selecting “Inspect”. Next, click the icon in the top left corner of the inspector that enables the device toolbar.
Your screen will now appear in a box under a drop-down menu labeled “Responsive”. Use the menu to choose from several devices, or keep it set to “Responsive” to adjust the screen manually.
3) Review Your Installed Plugins
One of the most amazing things about WordPress is the plethora of plugins available, both free and paid. As a small business owner, you can almost always find a plugin to do what you need to help you achieve your goals.
That said, if you get too carried away, you could end up with several plugins installed that you are not using, ones that are no longer maintained, or some that, while they might accomplish what you need, cause performance issues for your site.
While we strongly recommend removing plugins you are not using on your website, in general, we don’t advocate to reduce the number of plugins you have installed. The number of plugins you have installed alone won’t necessarily have a negative impact on performance. Instead, our recommendation is to invest in quality plugins.
With over 56,000 free plugins listed on WordPress.org and even more available elsewhere, it can be hard to weed out the bad plugins from the good plugins. We’ve put together a list of plugins we discourage our clients from using and plan on adding to it as needed.
On the opposite spectrum, Kinsta has curated a list of high quality plugins to help anyone save time picking and finding the plugins right for them.
If your website is slow or unresponsive, it’s practically like having a stop sign on your business. Potential customers will just pass you by and either find another site or simply give up looking for what they were after.
Avoid this irritation by taking the time to regularly audit website performance and fix problems before they cost you your business!
And if you don’t have the time to continually audit your website, don’t worry. We have your back!
Our WordPress Speed Optimization Service keeps an eye on your business’ online performance 24/7. Or, if you’re just getting started and not sure where to start, a Website Performance Audit might be a good first step.