Page Speed Optimisation Guide

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To be able to thrive in a world where competition is strife and businesspeople are ever ready to lay waste to their opponents, it is necessary that you reach out to your potential clients in the right way. Thus, it goes without saying that the best way to do some solid outreaching would be by having a website that can engage your clients and put your products and services out there in the world.

Since there is no business that runs without a website these days, what matters is how you optimise your website to reap the best out of it.

Having a website is not going to do the trick unless it gains more traffic and results in a substantial conversion rate. So, first things first-

What is website speed optimization?

Website speed optimization is the practice of improving the speed and performance of a website, usually to improve the user experience and search engine ranking. Also, it is designed for businesses to increase conversion rates, reduce bounce rates, and enhance website visitor experiences. Numerous researches shows how website speed is related to other important metrics. It helps with your SEO practices, and if a website’s load time is less, the conversion rate will be.

So are website speed and page speed the same?

No, website speed and page speed are both different. Page speed is the speed with which a web page loads and presents its content to a user. In other words, it refers to how rapidly users can access the content of your web page. Page speed is quite different from website speed, as page speed reflects the loading time of a specific page.

A fast page speed can boost user engagement, user experience, and search engine rankings. Page speed is affected by various factors, including the number of media files, including video and images on the page, the plugins and themes implemented, and the site’s server-side script and programming.

Why should I optimize my page speed?

Time is precious, and that applies to websites as well. Multiple studies have shown a higher chance of a rise in bounce rate when a website’s loading time increases. Thus, the bounce rate rises to 32% if the website loads in up to 3 seconds. The bounce rate might increase by about 90% if it is up to 5 seconds. If the loading time is between 1 and 6 seconds, the bounce rate will increase by 106%, and if it is between 1 and 10 seconds, the bounce rate will spike by 123%.

Let’s see it in another way. The chance that visitors will leave your website and go to one that loads more quickly increases if there is a delay in your website’s loading time.

Think of your website as a storefront. Customers may choose to visit another store with a quicker entry if it takes too long for them to walk through the door at your shop. Similarly, visitors may get impatient and leave if your website loads slowly, decreasing user engagement and conversion rates.

The user experience of your website is greatly impacted by its speed. Your website serves as a representation of you and your company; thus, the slower it loads, the more likely it is that visitors will turn to one of your competitors.
Page speed is vital for a website as it has a major impact on SEO and is a key factor in the ranking of a web page. Improved rankings will affect how customers see your brand. It will show that your page is quick and that more visitors are visiting it.

It is, therefore, important that you optimize the page speed by figuring out how exactly your website speed is doing by measuring it.

What business do websites make that negatively impacts the performance of a web page?

There are several common business mistakes that can negatively impact web page performance and lead to reduced traffic, lower search engine ranking, and decreased user engagement. Some of the most common mistakes include the following:

Adding too many plugins or widgets


Widgets and plugins can add highly valued functionality by offering the website extra features and interactive elements. However, using too many can slow down a web page’s loading times and cause complications to the performance of the page. Use only the necessary plugins and ensure they are compatible with the website’s software to prevent your page from loading slowly. The widgets and plugins you employ should be of high quality, and WordPress should not be used by plugins that query huge amounts of data to carry out advanced tasks.

Adding too many adds

While adding ads might seem profitable, doing so too often can eventually slow down a website’s loading time, damage its potential to be found online, and increase bounce rates. It will decrease user interaction with the website and may potentially hurt search engine rankings, causing a drop in ranking.

Implementing a theme that has elements more than required

Using a bloated theme might severely harm your website’s speed. A bloated theme contains features beyond what the regular consumer would need. The page will load more slowly if business owners employ these bulky themes with unnecessary elements, negatively impacting their visibility on Google. Although bloated themes may seem quite appealing, doing so is never a wise choice.

Multimedia that’s not compatible

While adding multimedia, you also have to be sure that it is compatible with the browser that will be used to open your web page. The obvious explanation is that every additional second a page takes to load causes unhappy users to leave laggy websites. Website performance ultimately suffers from broken multimedia on them and content that requires too many client-server connection rounds to access requesting browsers. On the other hand, multimedia content that is compatible keep encourages website visitors to stay for longer.

Hiring an average web hosting service

While web hosting services can be very beneficial for helping you develop your online presence, selecting one that is average and has little experience will also impact how well your website is ranked. A mediocre web hosting service can significantly impact the speed of web pages and overall website performance. These web hosting services frequently use underperforming servers to host dozens of publicly accessible websites, which is bad for web pages.

Altering the design of a web page

Businesses frequently change a website’s style and features to raise profits, but doing so harms the website’s and the web page’s functionality. This occurs because changing the design can steal a significant portion of the data provided to each visitor to the page.

How can I measure the speed of my web page?

Just like any running thing needs regular maintenance and improvements to run smoothly and efficiently, your website needs regular updates and optimization to maintain its speed and user experience. To do this, you need to measure the speed of your page.

You can use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights, which is simple to use and allows you to check and measure how quickly your website loads on desktop devices as well as mobile ones. The Google-provided tool enables business owners to ensure that they are meeting the quality standards necessary for top search result rankings.
To use the tool, perform the following steps:

Step 1: Enter the URL of your web page on the search bar.

search bar

Step 2: Hit the Analyze button to have the tool score your website out of 100. You will also see a list of guidelines for improving the speed at which your web page loads.


The score for your desktop and mobile device web page will be shown separately with a separate list of suggestions.

Speed ScoreYou can also use other tools, such as GTmetrix or the Pingdom Website Speed Test, which can be used by beginners and provides results and suggestions for improving and optimizing your website’s web page.

What Has Speed Got To Do With Your WordPress Site?

Think of a slow website as the death of half of your business. Nothing bugs a user than a website that might have piqued their interest, but refused to load in a jiffy. Do not take my word for it, but extensive studies have been conducted on this and have proven that human beings cannot hold their attention for more than 5 to 7 seconds.

This article that I am writing shall not hold your attention for a longer time if I do not cut to the chase and start talking about how you could optimise your WordPress site and do some serious business out there.  Similarly, your website too, needs to have a great speed to be able to tweak the Click-Through-Rate (CTR) and get your hands on some good revenue. Here are some ways in which you could go about the process.

You can have amazing links, perfect on-page SEO, and a ton of traffic sources but if your website takes forever to load it will be like sending most of your visitors marching directly off a cliff.

WordPress Level Optimisation:

It is always advisable to get a back-up of your WordPress site in its entirety before you do anything with it.  WordPress can crash at the slightest interference and then you will have nothing to make changes to. Careful there!

Start by adding Expires Headers-

Expires headers inform the browser about whether it needs to request a specific file from the server or obtain it from the browser’s cache. However, remember not to install plugins or enable plugins that you might need to install later.

So, you begin by first telling the site that you want to enable expires headers by pasting the following code in htaccess.

# Enable expirations
ExpiresActive On
# Default directive
ExpiresDefault “access plus 1 month”

Next, you need to look for the resources that are hardly updated.

# Enable expirations
ExpiresActive On
# Default directive
ExpiresDefault “access plus 1 month”

ExpiresByType text/css “access plus 1 month”
# Javascript
ExpiresByType application/javascript “access plus 1 year”

The aforementioned example is not what happens in 99% of the cases. It only takes into consideration all the resources that are updated once a month every year. It is 100% safe to add expiry headers for CSS/JS and favicon if work on the site is completed. Therefore, perform this only as the last step. If you have implemented expiry headers, you need to test if it works by running a gtmetrix scan. It should confirm the same.

Enable keep-alive-

Keep-alive is a persistent connection that allows only one connection to several HTTP requests. It prevents multiple permission calls to one server. Therefore, you need to add the following as your next step-

Header set Connection keep-alive

A word of caution

While editing an htaccess file, you need to make sure that you copy the code as it is. There is a potential threat of your website crashing if there is any change in the code, no matter how trivial it might look. Also, always append the code, which basically means to add them in the end. Do not ever replace existing code and make sure that the code you copy paste is not already present. Just like the negative of negative is positive; similarly, no two commands in htaccess can become a Yes).

Limit post revisions-

Here is another trick that you must have up your sleeve. WordPress keeps adding post revisions and a single post may have 10-20 post revisions. Needless to say, this takes up a lot of space. However, you could limit the post revision by adding this code in wp– -config.php.

define( ‘WP_POST_REVISIONS’, 3);   

This means that you are limiting the total saved revisions to 3.

Disable image hotlinking-

This pointer is going to come in handy when the website you are working with has bandwidth issues. The reason being, when others use the urls of images from your site and use it on their posts, it depletes the bandwidth of your site. So, a 1mb image referred 1000 times will cost us 1000mb in bandwidth. Going through this step then can substantially reduce no anchor image backlinks created this way.

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www.)? [NC]
RewriteRule .(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ – [NC,F,L]

Turn off pingbacks and trackbacks-

Trackbacks could be seen as an equivalent to acknowledgements that you find at the end of a research paper or scholarly article. Basically, trackbacks are notification systems designed to notify a legacy blog, using pingbacks, if you have linked to them.

Turning this system off can save a lot of space from database. You need to Go to Setting -> Discussions and disable pingbacks and trackbacks.

Move Google fonts call to footer-

99% of WordPress sites use Google fonts at one point or the other. The API call is usually in the header, but you could move it to the footer so that the page can load faster. Add the following code to the footer-

Uploading and configuring plugins-

It would do you good to upload the following plugins.

WP Fastest Cache – make sure you enable minify and GZip.

Query Strings Remover – this prevents the attempts of stray SQL injections.

Shortpixel – install this and use it to compress images

WP Optmize – cleans DB and post revisions.

BJ Lazy Load – use this with caution as this can cause sites to crash.

Async Javascript Plugin- enable the plugin and allow the Jquery defer option. This allows WordPress to queue plugin loads.

Also when working with any of these programs, make sure that you always choose Minification and not anything do with obfuscation. Minification just removes blanks while the latter changes code which can cause themes to break.

Uploading and working with plugins could be a tricky affair and you must exercise precaution to ward off unwanted complications and technical glitches.

Manual minification for codes in widgets-

Codes present in widgets and other parts of the site need to be minified manually. You could paste the code in the link and get it minified.

Disabling HeartBeat API-

The HeartBeat API is a simple server polling API built into WordPress and has the function of allowing near-real-time frontend updates. It deals with WordPress’s deadlock procedures. The tactic of disabling the API can only be implemented if the client is the only user of the site and does not update it much with new posts and pages.

Paste the following code in the functions.php theme files-

add_action( ‘init’, ‘stop_heartbeat’, 1 );
function stop_heartbeat() {

The Must Have WordPress Plugins:

It is all fun and games when you have a lot of time on your hand and are prepared to sift through these aforementioned steps to optimise your WordPress. However, some of you might not have so much time and need shortcuts instead. Here are some essential plugins for WordPress to save your day.

WP Rocket-

WP Rocket is by default the best plugin there is, for WordPress. Not all of us are great at the technical stuff which is where these plugins come into the picture. You need no skill to use it and can leave everything up to WP Rocket. The plugin instantly increases you website speed and puts you in an advantageous position. It automatically turns on some of the recommended WordPress caching settings like CDN- support and minification, while also giving you options to manually control other features.


This particular plugin makes optimising WordPress really easy. It aggregates, minify and cache scripts and styles, while also tending to features like injecting CSS to page head by default. Therefore, if you really have performance on your mind and hardly any technical skills, this should easily be your safest bet.

W3-Total Cache-

W3-Total Cache is a great plugin used in WordPress to increase the loading speed of your site. Like has already been discussed, it is important that your users are caught up to speed not just with the matter that your website furnishes but also with how fast the page loads. W3- Total Cache does exactly that by increasing your server performance. This enables a better SEO score for you and thus, helps your site to rank higher in the SERP.

Tips To Improve Page Speed

Now that you have a better understanding of what page speed is, why it matters, and which mistakes to avoid to prevent a slower load time, it’s time to learn how to improve it. Here are some pointers you can use to enhance the functionality and speed of your website:

Optimize your images by compressing them

Images are frequently the largest files on a webpage and might prolong the time it takes for a page to load. Compressing images is one method of optimizing them. Without sacrificing quality, you can minimize the size of your photographs using several tools that are available online. Simply resize the image by setting a fixed height and width and finally deliver the images through a CDN.

Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

A CDN is a network of servers that are distributed across the world that can help improve page loading speed. This is often achieved by hosting and distributing duplicates of the static information on your website from servers positioned all over the world. The CDN serves material from the server that is nearest to the user when they visit your website, drastically reducing page load times and enhancing web page performance.

Allow caching of the browser

Brower caching is a type of practice that you can employ to improve the performance of your web page. It enables the browser to remember the various components on a web page, including stylesheets, scripts, images, videos, and more. By enabling browser caching, you can tell the browser to store these resources locally so that they don’t need to be downloaded again the next time the user visits your web page. For repeat users, this can drastically reduce the time it takes for pages to load.

Implement Asynchronous Loading For JavaScript

If you are using JavaScript, implementing asynchronous loading is a must. Asynchronous loading for JavaScript refers to the process of loading JavaScript files on a web page without blocking the rendering of the page. Because it is a multi-tasker, the JavaScript files can be loaded in the background while the browser is still rendering the page. This can greatly reduce the time it takes for the page to load, especially on slower internet connections or computing devices.

Use a lightweight theme

Businesses use attractive themes to grab more people’s attention on their websites. Nonetheless, using a lightweight theme is important if you want to increase the performance of your website. Some themes are specifically designed to load quickly and can considerably reduce the time it takes for a webpage to load. You can also use themes that are lightweight and have a more responsive web design.

Minify the files

Minify the files

Your website’s overall speed can be increased by optimizing the way the files on it load. Minification is the removal of unnecessary elements like whitespace, comments, and characters. This can substantially minimize the size of the files, which can speed up page loading and make it simpler to merge them. This produces lighter, faster-loading web pages with clearer code.

In A Nutshell:

There are enough ways to enhance your site’s load speed and performance and thus, rank higher in the Search Engines Results Page (SERP). You could get hired help at the cost of quite some amount to do the work for you or you could do all of that by yourself. While it might seem like professionals have a better know-how in dealing with these technical nitty-gritty, more often than not, they perform exactly what the article entails.

I hope the article was enlightening and I hope that you have a great time optimising your WordPress site the next time you embark on such a venture.


How slow is a slow page?

If a page takes more than 4 seconds to load, the web page may be regarded as a slow page.

What is the reason for a slow WordPress website?

There are several reasons for a slow WordPress website. This includes employing outdated PHP or slow-loading plugins, not using compression and caching, operating too many scripts in the background, and employing plugins that are unoptimized.

What is PageSpeed Insights?

PageSpeed Insights is a tool developed by Google that analyzes the performance and speed of a website by providing a score and recommendations for improving the website’s performance.

Gaby Alexander

Gaby Alexander

Gaby is a search marketing enthusiast with a passion for helping agencies improve their ROI through effective link-building strategies. With expertise in Google Campaign Manager, HubSpot Inbound Marketing, and SEMrush, Gaby provides valuable insights and guidance to optimize search marketing campaigns.

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