Our Secret Way to Speed Up Websites Revealed

Our Secret Way
to Speed Up
Websites Revealed

Having a fast-loading website is a must in today’s internet marketing world.  Countless studies have shown that if your website takes long to load you are more likely to lose potential customers to your online competition. Page load time, or page speed as it is called, is also a major search engine ranking factor.  A slow site will cause a decrease in rankings.

Most websites use content management systems like WordPress or Joomla to help with ease of content updates and general usability. As popular as both of these systems are (we really like WordPress), they are extremely slow in terms of site performance. This is due to the nature of the content management system calling saved content from a database. However, there are several steps that we like to take to make sure our internet marketing clients have the fastest sites possible.

Excellent Hosting

Most companies look for the best deal possible. The lowest possible cost hosting almost always guarantees some sort of shared hosting scenario which means server resources like processing, bandwidth, and memory will be subject to load and strain from many other websites at the same time. Hosting is more important than a lowest possible cost.

Additionally, the closer you are to the actual physical server that serves your website, the faster it will load. So, if you’re hosting at Hostgater in Houston, TX and work in the Galleria, your website should load very quickly.

We like to set our internet marketing clients up on their own servers with dedicated resources to ensure great response time and load balancing.

Content Delivery Network and Security

Beyond dedicated hosting, a single server can only handle so much traffic.  On large sites that rely on heavy use of images, video, audio, and design elements, a large amount of data will take longer to load. By using a content delivery network (CDN) you can syndicate your website’s content across a large network.  This allows your website to be served from servers that are closest to users’ geographic regions.

Different elements of your website should be hosted on different networks as well.  For example, static elements like HTML, css, and images can be hosted through a CDN which saves on bandwidth. Other elements, like content from the database, can be served directly from the website’s hosting or through a separate cloud infrastructure (our preferred suggestion for high traffic sites).

Monitoring CDNs and security networks, like New Relic and CloudFlare, provided additional security from DOS attacks and other malicious behavior.  These security features are especially important when using an open source content management system like WordPress.

Wordfence is another great security platform that allows you to track activity and block malicious users in real time. It also automatically checks for security issues and outdated code on your website.

Optimization; Images, Code, and Database

Web Marketing in Houston must be fast because devices are getting smaller and more mobile.

Images should always be prepared for web usage. This reduces the overall file size without compromising image quality. Working with a blogging system like WordPress usually demands visual appeal and constantly updated images.  Most designers are accustomed to optimizing images individually. However, with plugins like EWWW Image Optimizer you simply need to crop and upload your images. Wordpress then optimizes and crunches your images down to size. Images should also enable Lazy Load as it will allow the rest of the website to load faster while waiting on the images.

Other great solutions, like W3 Total Cache, allow you to minify, combine, or maintain HTML, css, and JavaScript. This shrinks the total size of static assets in your CDN. But be careful. Some types of code, like certain photo galleries, will need to be combined instead of minified.

The database is what maintains most of the content for the website. Every plugin and post revision is constantly uploaded to the database and stored.  Even with hosting provider’s built in database optimization tools, websites on content management systems still perform slower than static (HTML) websites, on average.

A great plugin, like WP-Optimize, will empty your database, clean up rows and tables, and remove orphaned files and options that bog websites down with 1 click. You can multiply your databases efficiency with Revision Control which will cut down on the number of revisions that WordPress stores in your database.

Our Results

We utilize this structure for all of our web marketing clients, but the results have really shown an advantage. Our best optimization took a website page from 2.5MB (12 seconds loading time) down to 1MB and 1.86 loading time. If your website is too slow, you are losing out on potential business and traffic.  Ask your Houston web marketing agency to speed up your website. If they don’t know how optimize your website, give us a buzz.

14 replies on “Our Secret Way to Speed Up Websites Revealed

  • Janelle

    We’re currently working on that with our web company as well. Our site always pulls up slowly for us, but when they test it, they say its fine. What can I tell them or show them to prove my point?

    • Foundry512

      That’s a great question. First off, where is your site hosted physically? Is it closer to you or your web company. I’m willing to bet, its closer to them and not you. A simple way to test this is to use a proxy or to have someone in another geographic region pull the site up. Google has a great page speed tool that will give you objective measurements. Once you’ve had Google measure that, we recommend you take a look at this blog post: http://moz.com/community/q/does-page-load-time-affect-seo-rankings to see how your rankings are being affected. Keep us posted on right here on your progress and let us know if you need any help!

        • Foundry512

          That’s another great tool that we like to use. 11 seconds is not good unfortunately. And, you can almost count that most of your traffic is going to your competitors. Typically speaking your page needs to be under 1-2MB and take no longer than 2 seconds to load. Of course the sooner the better, but that average is decent for most devices (laptop, smartphone, desktop, etc.).

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  • Christine

    Hi there! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with SEO?
    I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good success.
    If you know of any please share. Thanks!

    • Foundry512

      If you’re using WordPress then I’d recommend WordPress SEO by Yoast. It’s almost the industry standard, though there are a few others out there that work well.

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      I would start with something easy and prebuilt like WordPress.com. If you have a developer handy then implementing your own WordPress blog would be ideal.

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