How to Improve Site Speed on Desktops and Mobile Devices

People want results fast, and don’t have the time to sit around waiting for slow websites to load. If your WordPress site’s loading speed takes more than a few seconds, users will just find the information they’re looking for from a different, faster site.

With decreasing attention spans and more distractions and information available than ever, it’s vital that site owners improve site load speed so that they can decrease their bounce rates, increase their page views, keep visitors engaged, increase their eCommerce conversion rates, boost SEO and provide fluid user experiences.

As Google rolls out more metrics for website performance, including measuring server response time and time to first byte, slow-loading sites (especially homepages) are being increasingly penalized in search results. When it comes to ensuring you’re at the top of your SEO game, increasingly, every millisecond counts.

Two popular ways of improving site speed are employing Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) to load your site files quickly from web servers close to your users and optimizing your website images. Using Jetpack’s built-in CDN for images, videos, and other files, along with Lazy Loading Images, can greatly decrease your loading times and ease the bandwidth your site demands from your hosting provider, but there are other ways to improve site speed and provide a better overall experience for your fans on desktops and mobile devices as well.

Today we’ll be exploring a few of these methods in more detail. Read on for more!

Begin by benchmarking your website

Before you implement site speed optimizations, you should benchmark your website. This gives you an idea of what your site’s current load times are and allows you to gauge how optimizations impact your site speed.

GTMetrix is a reliable tool for testing your site speed, as it combines results from YSlow and Google PageSpeed Insights to give you a detailed overview of your loading times. After the analyzer runs, it provides you with performance scores from each speed test, as well as page details that include indicators such as load time, number of http requests, and total page size.

A sample performance report

Once you receive your base results, you can determine how to proceed.

Try out different tools

Jetpack users can test various free plugins that allow you to implement speed improvements with very little hassle.

Enable a caching plugin

WordPress content is generated dynamically. Every time someone visits a page on your site, its content is generated from scratch. Trying a reputable caching plugin will help speed up this process.

One such plugin is WP Super Cache

The right browser caching plugin will generate static versions of your dynamic pages to serve to your site visitors, including those who aren’t logged in, those who have not commented on a post, or anyone who has not viewed password-protected content.

Manage your asset files

Modern websites make extensive use of CSS stylesheets and JavaScript to enhance user experiences. These CSS and JavaScript files can become quite large – especially if they are handling things like mobile responsiveness and custom front-end functionality – so they can end up negatively affecting your site speed.

Minification is the act of removing all unnecessary characters from CSS or JavaScript files while maintaining functionality. It’s a useful technique that you can use to optimize these files. Unnecessary characters include white space characters (spaces and tabs) and line or carriage returns.

Certain plugins were designed specifically for minifying code. Some tools even allow you to minify JavaScript and CSS files, cache those files (in case you aren’t already using page caching), and minify HTML.

Prioritize mobile

Perficient report revealed that 68 percent of all global internet traffic came from mobile devices in 2020. This underscores the increasing importance of good mobile user experiences. This underscores the increasing importance of good mobile user experiences.

For this reason, Google released the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project. As stated on the AMP website, “AMP is an open-source library that provides a straightforward way to create web pages that are compelling, smooth, and load near instantaneously for users.”

You can enable AMP on your Jetpack site with the AMP for WordPress plugin. Once you install the plugin, it starts working immediately and automatically creates AMP posts and pages for your website. This AMP content can then be indexed by search engines and served to your mobile visitors.

Install the AMP plugin to improve mobile performance

This improvement won’t have a specific effect on the desktop version of your site, but will drastically improve the mobile version, creating a fast, smooth user experience for those browsing your site on their mobile devices.

Advanced speed improvements

Besides plugin-based solutions, there are a host of under-the-hood techniques to improve site speed. Here are two options that require a little more work up front, but can lead to faster load times:

Review your existing plugins

The plugins you’re using might be causing any speed problems on your site. Two of the biggest causes of plugin-related speed issues are plugins that load all functionality at all times and plugins that don’t selectively load asset files on demand.

Jetpack is an example of how to only load required plugin functionality. While it enables certain features by default, the Settings page allows you to configure which tools are always loaded on your site and which not.

Similarly, if a plugin contains CSS and JavaScript asset files, it’s important that the plugin only loads these files when necessary. If you find that these files are downloading on every single page (instead of only when needed), they’ll adversely impact your page load times, regardless of file size.

Knowing whether a plugin is affecting your site speed can be determined by measuring your site load times before installing any new plugins, then measuring again after a plugin is activated.

Divide longer content into separate pages

The more content that a page contains, the longer it will take to load. This is something that gets overlooked in favor of creating a better reader experience for visitors or ranking higher with search engines (by creating longer and more in-depth content).

Jetpack allows you to split a long article into multiple pages, which will then divide your content (and load times) across the number of pages that you dictate. To do so, you can add a special <––nextpage––> tag within your article. This tag will split the article content into a separate page at the point of each next page tag.

The next tag in action

A little work goes a long way

The above options are a few of the more common ways to speed up a site. As a site owner, measuring your site speeds before and after implementing any change is a great way to find and repair problems before they impact user experiences.

Some of the easiest ways to speed up your site are to use Jetpack CDN to load images and static files lightning-fast, Jetpack Video Hosting to serve visitors video where and when they want it, and Jetpack Lazy Loading Images so that images are only loaded when visitors scroll down to that part of the page. Check out the various Jetpack plans available to get started today!

Have you used any of these tips, or do you have any others that you want to share? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you!

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Jonathan Bossenger profile

Jonathan Bossenger

Full-time sponsored Developer Educator working on the WordPress open-source project. Employed by Automattic. I like to get stuff done. Husband and father of two energetic boys. Brazilian jiu-jitsu for fun and stress release.

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  1. Mircea G. says:

    Thanks for the post Jonathan! Using already Photon and W3 Total Cache and it’s a big improvement. I must try the lazy loading images to see the results.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Vashishtha Kapoor says:

    I like the idea of diving longer content into many pages so that it not only loads quick but also makes a good impact on the reader’s mind that you’ve gone deeper in the subject matter.


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