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Your customers aren’t the only ones that want your website to be fast. Google wants it too. What’s more, there is no longer any excuse for having a slow website.
Google has always been rather tight-lipped about what is in their search algorithm, but they’ve always said that a good site speed definitely helps. However, in announcing their forthcoming Core Web Vitals update, they have sent webmasters a very clear message: Speed is more important than ever.
If you would like to learn more about this update, feel free to check out this SEO blog for a deeper dive. Or keep reading to learn why your site needs to be faster and how you can make your slow website faster.
The Core Web Vitals Update and the Need For Speed
The Core Web Vitals update is slated to roll out at some point in 2021, with Google promising to give everyone at least six months’ notice beforehand. That means you should start preparing now.
Basically, this update will focus on three new speed metrics:
1. Largest Contentful Paint: How long until your page has completely loaded?
2. First Input Delay: How long until your page is clickable and interactive?
3. Cumulative Layout Shift: How long until your page’s layout stops shifting while loading?
These stats will help you gain a better understanding of how fast — or slow — your website truly is.
Also, don’t simply test your home page’s speeds and assume that the rest of your website is fine. Your home page is important, but your interior pages could have vastly different layouts and bigger assets that need to load.
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How Do I Measure My Site’s Speed?
There are a number of tools that you can use to audit how fast or slow your entire website is.
Some of the best include:
- Core Web Vitals Report (Google Search Console)
- PageSpeed Insights
All of these tools are fairly user-friendly and can give you detailed insights into where you need to make improvements.
How Do I Improve My Site’s Speeds?
It’s hard to say exactly what could be slowing your website down. However, here are some of the most common issues:
Too Many WordPress Plugins Will Result in a Slow Website
WordPress is one of the most popular and widely used content management systems in the world, partly because of the thousands of free plugins that you can add to help optimize your site.
However, you may not realize that the more plugins you add to the backend of a website, the more those plugins can slow you down.
Take a look at your dashboard and ask yourself how many of these plugins you are actually using. Removing some could speed your site up instantly.
Old or Obsolete Pages Lead to Slow Websites
If your website is a few years old, you may have a few landing pages for products, services, or promotions you’re no longer offering, and those could be slowing your site down. In short, it’s time to delete those pages.
You will also want to prune your content. This could include any blogs, videos, or podcast that are:
- No longer relevant
If the asset has underperformed, ask yourself if you can give it a second life with some new images or a better headline. If not, delete it.
Excessive Coding and Scripts Can Slow Your Website Down
Certain elements of a page may be slowing it down.
You can work with an experienced web designer to find and fix any issues. Or, you can do it yourself by inspecting the elements of a page and using the Developer Tools in your web browser. However, if this is out of your wheelhouse, it is probably best to just hire someone. Overall, a professional is your best bet when it comes to speeding up a slow website.
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Upgrade Your Hosting for Faster Speed
If you chose a cheap hosting company to save some money, it could actually cost you speed, traffic, and SEO clout. We know websites and digital marketing can be expensive. But if you’re looking to cut costs, this is not the place to do it.
You never know what you’re going to get from a cheap hosting company. Most of them will brag about impressive-sounding uptime. However, their stats don’t factor in the times where your site is so slow that it might as well be down.
They have also been known to slow you down on purpose when they deem that you’re using up too much of their limited resources. That means they’re basically punishing you for seeing a lot of traffic and slowing you down, right when you need them the most.
You may not have to hire an SEO or web design agency to speed up your website and get you ready for the Google update. The tips we shared today are all free and may lead to instant performance improvements.
However, if you need to hire an agency, it will almost certainly be money well spent.
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