Website performance is a crucial factor for ranking well: a slow website will never rank on the first page of Google. So, this is one of those checks that you need to perform regularly.
Check your performance
How can you check the performance of your website? Let’s start by using a tool from Google: Google PageSpeed Insights.
Google PageSpeed Insights
Start by going to the website of Google PageSpeed Insights:
Just enter your domain name in the search box and press the ‘Analyze’ button. Then, after 15 to 30 seconds, you will get the result for the requested URL:
Don’t forget to check both your mobile and your desktop score.
When you scroll down on the same page, you will get many more details:
- Recommendations: these are suggestions that can help your page to load faster
- Diagnostic data: here you can learn more about the performance of your app
- Successful checks: all the things done right
- And much more
Here is a screenshot:
Most recommendations are of a technical nature, so if you don’t have these skills, ask for help or advice. At the bottom of this post, I will keep track of how we optimized our website.
A second tool that we use frequently is pingdom. With Pingdom you can do a free website speed test from anywhere in the world.
Just enter your URL and select the location you want to test from:
Then you press the button ‘Start Test’ and shortly after you will receive your results:
From the results, you can see that we currently have a performance grade of ‘B’.
You must do this test for the different geographical locations that you’re active in.
How we optimize ContentPlanner.io
ContentPlanner.io is built with WordPress. So, this section will only make sense for people also using WordPress.
Our first version was created with a multisite installation of WordPress. Basically, the multisite feature allows you to create multiple subsites within a single instance of WordPress.
The performance of this multisite setup was not good and I spent more than one day trying to optimize for performance. We tried different caching and CDN (Content Delivery Network) plugins but never got the performance we wanted. And finally, we decided to reimplement the website starting from a single installation.
So, I really advise against using WordPress multisite, mainly for performance reasons. After a while, you also start to have versioning problems with different plugins conflicting with each other across the websites. You are warned!
In the table below you see the initial performance of our newly installed website (WordPress single install):
|GPSI Mobile||GPSI Desktop||Pingdom|
|1) Initial Performance||32||61||69|
|2) WP Rocket Install||50||81||84|
Remark: GPSI stands for ‘Google PageSpeed Insights’
Since we lost many hours trying to optimize our initial website’s speed, we decided to take a subscription for a more professional solution. After some research, we selected the plugin WP Rocket. In the table above, you see the performance scores of WP Rocket in the second row: this is just after installing the tool, without changing any of its settings.
We’re not there yet: as you can guess we’re not happy with the current Google PageSpeed Insights score for mobile. We will tackle this next; stay tuned!
If you have a website, then you must monitor the performance regularly. Use free tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights and Pingdom. If you have low scores, then research what actions you should take.