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Bonus Lesson

Website Speed Optimisation

Having a fast loading website is very important if you want to perform well in SEO.
In this SEO training video we share some tricks and tips for how you can easily check and improve your website’s speed and performance.


Worksheets & downloads available here

Video Transcription

Hello and welcome to this bonus lesson on website speed optimization. 

Now as you may or may not be aware the speed with which your website loads is a very important tanking factor. It’s something that Google has said repeatedly over the years that your website’s speed is one of the many factors they take into consideration when ranking a website. And with, now, mobile searches it’s incredibly important, more so that ever that your website fast to load as the average user will not wait around for more than two or three seconds for your website to appear.

So how do we improve your website and get it loading as quickly as possible. It’s one of the biggest pain points that businesses have in my experience and often people haven’t the faintest clue how to go about improving their website speed.

There are so many tools out there, so many plug-ins and so much advice to try this or try that or this works or that works. It confuses a lot of people so I thought a great pice of bonus material if I put out there what I do and my recommendations and hopefully this will really, really help you. So the first thing to think about when looking at improving your website speed is your hosting environment.

Now that is really, really important. That’s the foundation because if you’re on one of these 20 pound for the year hosting environments you’re going to be sharing your hosting environment and your IP address with thousands of other businesses and you have no real control. There’s going to be spammers and all sorts that can effect your ability for your website to perform well and to maintain. Not just being online but actually how fast a website will load and its overall performance.

So like with anything in this world, you pay for what you get. So really I will be recommending a business level hosting environment and you should really have that in whichever country you are or your business is based. So if you’re in the U.K. really you should be finding a U.K. based hosting company.

There are loads out there. As I’ve said before, the ones that I use are 123-reg and tsoHost, both very good companies, great support, and they provide hosting environments. You can have a shared environment, which means it’s the cheaper option, but even so you should still be looking at paying around 100 to 200 pounds a year for a good, reputable, reliable hosting environment. If you’re only paying 10 or 20 pounds for the year, you really ought to think twice and it always amazes me that I speak to businesses, really established businesses, and I ask them about their hosting and they say, “Oh, it’s great. I’m only paying 10 pounds for the year.”

And I think, uh, that is not a good thing because if you’re only paying such a minuscule about of money the environment you’re going to be and the technical setup and the support and the reliability and the robustness of that environment is going to let you down. So think about your hosting environment. You can take it a step further and look into getting a private IP address where you’re the only one on that environment or a VPS, which is a virtual private server where you have even more control over your website’s online environment.

There’s all things like that. Of course, the more technical you get, the more advanced you get, the higher the cost. But most small businesses, any shared environment, as long as it’s U.K. based and you’re paying 100, 200 pounds, that should be suitable. Now that’s not saying that all online hosting providers where it’s only 20 pound or 30 pound are no good. There are, I’m sure, a few gems out there.

You may be on one yourself or the other way you may struggling and knowing that your website is not very reliable if it’s constantly going offline, stuff like that, it’s worth considering a better environment. That, as I say, give you the foundation. So it’s really, really important. Once you have that you then need to look at how do you actually improve your website speed with which it can load. And again, I use WordPress. I know a lot of the Academy members use WordPress so that is what I’m gonna focus on and I’m going to show you WP Rocket.

Now this is the best speed enhancement plug-in that I have found to date and I’ve tried a lot. I’ve tried WP Super Cache, I’ve tried W3 Total Cache, I’ve tried all the main WordPress speed enhancement and caching plug-ins and this is the one that I’ve found to be the best. Now it is a paid plug-in and one of the things with WordPress is there are so, so many free plug-ins and options out there that rarely do you find a free version that’s as good as the paid version.

Because why should you? If something’s really, really great you should be happy to pay for it. If it’s gonna do a fantastic job for your business, if it’s reasonable priced and it goes a great job I personally am more than happy to pay for something. This very reasonably priced. It’s only $39 for one site for a year and that includes support and updates and stuff like that. And you even get a 30 day money back guarantee so you can try it, if it just doesn’t work for you get your money back. And like I say I have no connection, affiliation with this company at all. It’s just something that I got introduced to a few months ago. It was fairly recently and I tried and I thought, wow, that’s fantastic.

It just works out of the box unlike many of these caching and speed enhancement tools that require a lot of configuration and tweaking and testing and this one it was very much just plug and play, which suits me down to the ground.

And like I say, for $39 to improve your website speed, for me, it was a no brainer. So something worth considering and you can set up an account with this. Like I say, if you have more than one website you can three websites for $99 or unlimited for 199. Once you’ve set up an account and you take the hit for the $39, you can log in and you can download the WordPress plug-in and then what you need to do is you log into your website, you upload the plug-in and like I say, it’s pretty much just plug and play. Now what I’m going to do to show this live is I actually have the WP Rocket on my agency website. Once again, it’s very much showing you the tools and the tricks and tips of exactly what I do. I’m very much an open book with my Academy members and WP Rocket is something I have on my agency website to speed it up but what I did or what I’ve done is I’ve disabled the plug-ins and I wanted to show you how the website is today because there are some big imagery on the websites.

There’s some videos. There’s quite a bit on our agency website but it’s still a small business website. Really, it’s hasn’t gotten thousands of pages or anything like that so hopefully it will be not too dissimilar to your website but whether you’re a service website or a product website it’s one and the same thing. But I wanted to show you there are various tools that you use to test your website speed and before even go down the route of purchasing something like WP Rocket or anything like that go onto gtmetrix.com and tools.pingdom.com and then Google search for Google’s page speed tool. Those are the three tools that you should be using to test your website’s load and website’s speed. I disabled everything that I use for speed enhancement on this website and then I ran it through these tools. And all you do is you go into the home page, you pop in your URL and you hit test.

And look at these figures. They’re really, really quite poor. So page speed, 30% of what it could be. Load time, 12 and a half seconds with a home page size of four, nearly five megabytes. Now a good home page should be under one ideally or one to two megabytes so if you’re seeing anything above two megabytes, it’s too big, it’s gonna be too slow to load. And it gives you all of the technical issues with the website basically but 12 and a half seconds is far too long. That is crazy. If you think the average is gonna take two to three seconds then leave. Another tool tells me similar sort of stuff. We can see 4.8 megabytes for the home page, which is too big. You can see that’s the home page. Load time of, this one’s got up in 14 seconds, which is just unbelievably slow. I’m on a very good hosting environment so I know I’ve got the base foundation is solid and robust and my website doesn’t go offline all the time. But with that said, once you start loading images and multi-media and text and a lot of content everything just slows down.

And equally, when you load in plug-ins and all these bits and pieces that we want on our website to make them look great and work fantastic and have all these snazzy features, everything just slows your website down. Because I’ve got this as carousel here, got images hovers. There’s loads. I’ve got these things here, which there’s a lot of technical bits of media which your website may or may not have. I’ve got pulling in Twitter and all sorts of stuff but all of that is great but it does slow the website down. So you can see I’ve got 14 seconds, I’ve got 12 and a half seconds on average and then Google in itself is telling me that both my mobile and on desktop is really quite poor. I’ve 27 out of 100 and a 26 out of 100 so that’s really, really not great. So when I first launched the website and I had a look at these and I did exactly this, I went to GTmetrix and Pingdom and Google.

I looked at this and I thought, ah, crikey, I really need to get this sorted. I tried various options, ended up at WP Rocket so I signed up for an account. I installed the plug-in and I activated it. Once you get the files and you add the plug-in you come to here, at new, you upload the files. Once you get it installed, you come to settings and WP Rocket here and this is your plug-in. These are your customization and all your options. Now I don’t actually change anything in here. The only option I check is this one here, enable caching for logged-in users. Check that, save it. I don’t touch anything else. I don’t touch anything in here, absolutely nothing. Like I say, this tool is great because it works out the box. I haven’t got to sit here now and explain to you all of the various settings and changes because the trouble with doing something like that is every website will be different.

I could make loads of changes for my website and think, right, that’s a treat for me but if you’ve got a different website setup and you try it different ways and different plug-ins and different setup you might need a completely different configuration. The great thing about this, it’s plug and play. So you instal that, you check that box and you save it. Don’t make any other changes. Now when you instal WP Rocket you will get a banner up here in the top of your dashboard here and it will say, to instal Imagify, which is this tool here. Now this actually a free tool. Once installed, this focuses on optimising your images and you instal the plug-in and you go through the options to instal it, it will then ask you to create a free account, which you do, and then you need to add in your API key, which is this here. Once you’ve created an account you put in your email address and your password or you add a password in.

You register some of your details and it will then ask you for an API, it will give your API key, sorry. You pop that into here and then you come down and you can leave, again, all of this, leave as is and then you hit save and go to bulk optimizer and what that will then do, it will ask you another couple of questions. You can just work your way through them and then it will go through and it will optimise all of the images currently uploaded onto your website. So if you’ve got 50 images or a thousand images it can take a few minutes or it can take an hour or two but it will cycle through and re-optimise all of those images. And by re-optimising what it means is it means shrinking their file size, getting them so they load a little bit quicker. Now this is not by any means the only thing you have to do but it’s a very quick one and you don’t have to do it and it doesn’t cost you anything.

Now Imagify might give you a free allowance of images, which if you’re on a small site and you’ve only got a few images it’ll be more than enough. If you are a product based website and you’ve got hundreds or thousands of products you are going to need to do one of their paid packages but it’s very, very reasonable. For less than 10 pounds you can get the equivalent of credits for about 10,000 images. So we’re talking pennies here really and it enables you to optimise all of your images. So get that installed, let it run its check and do its thing and then once you have that activated and it’s done the bulk optimise Imagify and WP Rocket combined, very, very powerful. And I like I said, I haven’t gotten into, I haven’t done any of the changing of the settings or anything like that, haven’t done any of that. I’ve just installed them and done one change on WP Rocket and then optimised my images. That’s all I’ve done, nothing else.

I’ve reactivated them both now back on my agency website. And now I’m going to retest. You we have 12 and a half seconds and nearly five megabytes. So I’m gonna retest that. I’ve got 14 seconds here and nearly five megabytes here, I’m just going to retest that and I’m going to retest that. Now remember, these plug-ins will only do so much of the job. So we’re gonna go from zero to hero and suddenly everything is absolutely done. I’m not expecting say, 100%. However, what I am expecting to see is a vast improvement and I’ve got it. So I’ve gone from 14 seconds to six seconds, which is a huge increase and improvement. Massive. And I could leave it there. Let’s see what I’ve got here. So this one now, this is interesting, this hasn’t improved in terms of the time very much but it has improved in all the other metrics and crucially it’s brought my total page size down by almost half, which, again, is massive.

The reason it hasn’t brought my load time down is because it’s telling me I need to serve scaled images and what that means is when you upload any image to your website the crawlers and the optimization want you to upload the image at the exact size it needs to be. And so this is telling you here that these images I need to actually reduce in size, I need too download them from the website, re-save them at that exact size, re-upload them because at the moment the image I’ve uploaded is that size and it doesn’t need to be. It only needs to be this size so it’s saying if do that I’m gonna make an 84% and save on the crawlability of my website. It’s gonna require that much less resource to crawl and index and load that image. So you would work through and do that for all of these images and just by doing that you’re going to improve this load speed here.

If we look on here, this is picking up again, a few technical things. Let’s have a look here. Now this is huge. So we’ve gone from the low 20s up to 69 on mobile and we’ve got 80 on desktop, which is a fantastic improvement. And even if you just did those two things, even if you just paid and bought this tool for, what is it, less than 30 pounds and then you did your Imagify and you load them you spent 10 minutes, that’s all it’s taken, 10 minutes, I’ve twice over improved the speed and performance of my website. I’ve taken it from 14 seconds down to six seconds and I’ve gone as far as Google’s concerned from 20% or 25% out of 100 to 80 or 69, which is massive. What I will now do is I will now optimise images and again Google is telling me the same sort of thing, exactly what this tool was telling me, but Google’s got a bigger list so I’ll work with Google, and it’s telling me these images you need to optimise these so you need to just reduce them to the file sizes that are needed.

Now you may need some specialist help, you’ll probably need a developer. I would work a developer to optimise all of these images and just fine tune them to get it and by doing that what you’re going to do is very quickly you’re gonna go from six seconds down to two or three or even lower than that. So you’re always going to have a handful of additional steps you’ve got to take but what I’ve just shown you in less than 10 minutes is going to take two-thirds of the way there to where you need to be and it’s very, very simple, extremely cost effective and takes I’d say no time at all. And it’s gonna get you, like I said, most of the way to where you want to be. And then you’re still gonna have your other thing here so I would do those two plug-ins, get them in, see the improvement it makes to your business website.

Then if you’re still in the 60s, the 70s, the 80s, then look at speaking to your hosting company or your developer and saying, “Right, this is where I am right now. I want to get into the 90s. I want Google to telling me that my page load is in the 90s.” Really, you want this and this green and I won’t stop until both of these are in the green and that’s really where you want to be as well. But hopefully that just simplifies the initial phases that you can take. Really simple and I hope that helps. And they are the best tools and the plug-ins that I have been able to find having tested loads. So hopefully I’ve saved you the time of trying to test this and configure that and read blog posts on how to do this, that and other. Use those, get your website improved as much as you possibly and then if necessary hand over to an expert to just do some fine tuning and some tweaking.

Really, really hope that helps. If there is any questions by all means send me an email. Otherwise, best of luck improving your workflow speed as it is really, really important.

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