One of the things I tried to achieve when redesigning my blog’s homepage not so long ago, was to improve page loading performance. In other words make my website faster.
For guidance I relied on Google’s PageSpeed insights tool. If you’re not too sure what this tool is, read this to learn more about it.
In addition, let me tell you briefly why this tool is so important for you to to use, especially if you want to monitor and improve the performance of your blog.
Why you should improve your PageSpeed Insights Score
When it comes to ensuring mutual relationship with Google, and ensuring your blog continues to perform well in their search engine, your blog needs to perform really well.
More importantly, and I can’t stress this part enough, when it comes to providing your visitors with the best user experience possible, your blog also needs to perform remarkably well.
Pages on your blog that take a long time to load does one thing only in my experience, it simply turns visitors away. That’s right, your visitors will end up either clicking the back button or closing the page entirely, and when that happens you’ve potentially lost a new blog subscriber or even a customer.
Currently the PageSpeed Insights score for Magnet4Blogging is 87/100 for desktop, (in the green baby!), which is considered to be reasonably good, not perfect, but good.
My score however for Mobile needs drastic improvement, as it’s only 74/100, but I’m working on improving this.
Anyway before I redesigned my blog’s homepage I was only able to achieve a measly score of 63/100 for desktop, pretty poor show huh?
So what I want to do in this post is share with you some of the things that I did to improve my page speed score for my blog homepage. Hopefully you’ll be able to take something away and implement for your blog too.
#1. Optimized my images
So the first step that I took towards improving my PageSpeed Insights score was to completely redesign the entire homepage of my blog, but of course you don’t have to take such drastic measures for yours.
It was something I wanted to do for a long time, if you’re interested in redesigning your blog’s homepage too, click here.
One of the significant changes that I made when redesigning the front page was with regards to the images. Where upon I was using many medium sized images on the homepage of my blog, I now use few but much larger images.
To optimise my front page images I created and saved all of the images in PNG files (originally JPEG).
I then uploaded those images to TinyPNG (go to website) to compress them into smaller files, without losing the quality of the images.
Once uploaded to my front page, I also added ALT Tags to the images, done and dusted.
The screen capture below shows how many KB I was able to save optimising just 3 medium sized images using TinyPNG! Fantastic tool.
Note: There were a few CSS images that I could not optimize, these were the navigation buttons at the very bottom of the page, but they really didn’t bother me at this stage as there were plenty of other things I could do to improve page performance, let’s get to it!
#2. Enabled Compression
You can learn more about the benefits of compressing compressible resources on your blog, to help reduce the time these resources take to download here. To enable compression of resources on my blog I installed a simple plugin called GZip Ninja Speed Compression. It’s a simple but fantastic plug-and-play plugin, you can find this plugin here.
If you don’t use WordPress you might want to consider hiring a developer to add something to your site.
#3. Minified Resources
Again, you can learn more about the benefits of doing this here in much greater detail, but generally speaking, minifying your resources helps to improve your page load time. To achieve this for my own blog I installed another fantastic plugin called Better WordPress Minify. Once again you can grab this plugin here.
Again if you don’t use WordPress you might want to hire someone to do this for you.
#4. Leveraged Browser Caching via .htaccess
This was a bit of a technical challenge for me to say the least, as I’m not that savvy when it comes to these kind of things.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find a dedicated plugin out there to help me solve the browser caching issue.
What I was able to find however was a great article written by Thomas Griffin detailing the procedures of leveraging browser caching in WordPress via .htaccess.
Don’t worry! It might sound technically challenging, but I found the process relatively easy to do, and if I can do it, so can you. You can read Thomas’s post here.
I was able to apply the code provided in Thomas’s article to my .htaccess file and deal with most cacheable resources, but not all of them, regardless it helped to increase my score slightly, so thanks Thomas.
OK before you jump up and down with joy, I’ve not been able to completely resolve this issue.
I’ve checked the forums over on WordPress.org and no one seems to know of a complete solution. There are some various plugins available but upon testing a few of them, they ended up breaking my theme more than solving a problem, so be careful with any plugins you find.
If anyone reading this can help me out, do drop me an email.
So there you go peeps, as you can see I’ve been able to do a few simple things to try and improve my Google PageSpeed Insights score overall by pasting some codes, optimising a few images, and at the cost of installing a few extra plugins.
I don’t mind installing a few extra plugins to help me achieve a better page speed score as I’m in the process of removing many other plugins that I don’t need to have on my blog.
I will be updating this post in the future no doubt, as and when I find better solutions and tools that I can use and recommend to continue improving my PageSpeed Insights score, there’s always room for improvement right?
Below is a screen shot of the final website speed test result using the Pingdom website tool.
I hope you’ve been able to pick one or two useful things from this post to apply to your WordPress blog and improve your Google PageSpeed Insights score.
More tips to help you make your website faster
Before I sign off for good, I’ve found some other great articles that you might be interested in reading by two other authors sharing some great tips and strategies. Here they are >>