Why is performance important? There are few reasons. The simplest to explain is abandoned visits. In the world where a visitor may be as expensive as £5 in Ad spend, letting people give up on your website because it loads 5 seconds or longer is very wasteful.

Secondly, Google takes notice of slow loading websites and ranks them lower.

Blue Star London worked on number of performance optimisation projects and below is the summary of what can be done to improve performance of most WordPress websites.

  • Switch on HTTP/2. The second version of HTTP is optimised for modern web where every page consists of a mix of HTML, multiple JavaScripts, images and other assets. HTTP/2 is a responsibility of web hosting provider. If your web hosting provider doesn’t support it, you would have to migrate to a different host.
  • Compress images – there are algorithms that shrink size of photos so they load faster and look the same. An image as large as 10Mb can be converted into 0.5Mb image. That’s 20X optimisation!
  • PHP 7 – this version of PHP is massively faster compared to PHP 5. For the best results use PHP 7.2 or newer. However not all plugins are compatible with PHP 7.3.
  • Enable Gzip compression – makes loading text-based assets even faster.
  • Shrink and merge HTML, JavaScript and CSS files. Also by merging multiple JavaScript and CSS files you reduce number of queries to the web server and make overall website load a bit faster.
  • Cache static assets such as images. The best solution is to cache in-memory using web server functionality. The second best solution is to use a caching plugin such as WP Rocket.
  • Use browser cache – this doesn’t make website load faster for the first time visitors, however any subsequent visit will make it load faster.
  • If you have clients internationally, use a reliable content delivery network (CDN) such as Cloudflare. By serving cached assets to website visitors it is possible to make your website appear local.
  • Use web hosting provider with a server local to your prospective customers. If your business is in London, look for a London-based web hosting provider.
  • Ensure that web hosting provider allocates resources to your website. Any website can become very slow if it doesn’t have access to memory and CPU resources or runs over slow network connection.
  • Avoid unnecessary enhancements such as YouTube videos, excessive use of web fonts, integration of Facebook likes and Instagram feeds. A video on your home page can cost you 30% visitors.

The simplest way to assess current performance of a website is to test it in GTmetrix. When running a test it is important to specify location as London – otherwise test results will be misleading.

GTmetrix shows observed performance as well as results from Google PageSpeed and Yahoo YSlow test tools. Both generate some useful suggestions.

In some more complex cases plugins are the cause of slow performance as they can overuse WordPress AJAX API. Such cases require detailed investigation that is not always justified in terms of cost / benefit.

Blue Star London offers WordPress optimisation service. Basic level of performance optimisation is complimentary to clients of our web hosting service and costs £70+VAT otherwise.

Detailed analysis is charged at time and material basis at our standard service rates.

If you are interested, send us a message. The initial investigation is FREE of charge.

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