Website load speed is among critical issues we should pay attention to if we own a website. It affects not only user experience on your site but also SEO rankings. In this article, I’m going to show you how to use Jetpack – a free plugin to speed up your website.
Why we should care about website speed
Imagine you access a website but wait for hours for the website to load, how do you feel? Does it get you riled up?
Or when you need to read an important piece of content but you’re kept waiting for it, do you want to exit that website immediately and find the content you need on another one?
Or just assume that your company has an introduction website. In the meeting with your partners, you have no way to use the website due to its slow loading. Let’s be honest, how do you feel?
Let’s take another simple example. You want to see a post on mobile, but do you get tired and bored as it takes so much time for the site to load?
The above instances are not uncommon, which causes much annoyance and disturbance for users. They exert a direct impact on user experience during their very first visit, and even possibly drive your users away from your website.
Getting aware of the enormous influence of website load speed on user experience, Google has set website load speed as one of the criteria to evaluate SEO score by which the faster your website loads, the higher SEO rankings it gains and vice versa.
Therefore, if your website loads slowly, you need to fix it without delay. The instructions given in this article will partly help you deal with the issue.
What load speed should be?
Since different users have different experiences when making access to a website, the load speed can be either fast or slow depending on their own evaluation. So should there be a way to define whether the website is slow or not?
In general, website load speed of less than 3 seconds might be deemed good. It would be better if it takes less time. If your site can be optimized to load within less than 1 second, it will be the best.
It is noteworthy that there are 2 things that need to be differentiated on website load speed.
- Usable speed: This is the speed when a website is loaded enough to use. Normally, referring to to the website speed, we will talk to this one. This speed is calculated from the beginning to the moment when the web have loaded some above-the-fold contents (such as letters, header) and users can start to read or interact on the website.
- Speed to load full website: This speed is calculated from the beginning to the moment when all the images, scripts, icons, etc. on a website are loaded completely. Normally, this speed is a few seconds higher than the usable speed. However, it does not really affect user experience because they have been able to interact with the website already.
A few websites use lazy load technique to cut the load time at the start, which leads to increasing usable speed and better user experience.
How to measure website load speed
To determine whether a website is fast or slow, the most simple way is to experience it yourself. Let’s try opening an incognito window ( to guarantee not to be cached) and open that website. You will feel clear whether the website loads fast or slow and whether that speed is acceptable.
In order to check more carefully, you can access the website on mobile phones using 3G. Normally, the speed on mobile phones is a bit lower than that on desktops. So, the website load speed will be felt much more clearly.
Besides hands-on experience, many tools can be employed to exactly measure website load speed. There are 3 most popular tools among of which you can use any.
GTMetrix is a free tool which helps to measure the load time of websites and brings out recommendations to raise the web speed.
This tool evaluates a website in 2 ways: using PageSpeed (Google) and YSlow (Yahoo). Scores will be marked from high to low as A, B, C, etc. The above image is the load speed of vi.fitwp.com website. Normally, if your site achieves 2 A, it means your load speed is so good already.
Note: GTMetrix also gives the values of website load time. This is the amount of time your website need to finish loading all images, scripts, icons, etc. So, this value can be a bit higher, but it doesn’t matter.
PageSpeed is a tool developed by Google to analyze website speed and put forward recommendations for developers. This tool does not define a particular amount of time for a website to load. Nevertheless, it gives scores for website speed on both mobile phones and on desktops. In addition, certain suggestions are also provided to increase website speed.
My personal experience shows that PageSpeed sets quite strict and severe standards. Very few websites gain 95/100 score on both mobile phones and desktops. So, I recommend you just need to optimize your site so that it reaches “green” level (Score ≥ 80/100)!
Similar to GTMetrix, Pingdom also examines and grades website load speed. This tool has an advantage of checking web load speed from different locations. It’s such a pity that it is not available in Vietnam.
Compared with GTMetrix, Pingdom has a nicer and more eye-catching interface. In addition, it focuses on analyzing elements on a website and its load speed. However, Pingdom gives no suggestion for optimization like GTMetrix.
Personally, I use GTMetrix to receive its recommendations and follow them to better optimize my website.
There are many techniques to optimize a WordPress website for higher speed. Below I will show you a simple way to do it, which is free and effective.
Speed up WordPress website with Jetpack
Overview of Jetpack
Jetpack is a free plugin for WordPress. It was developed by Automattic – the parent company of WordPress. Initially, it was used for WordPress.com system of Automatic, but later, another version was released to serve all people.
Jetpack is a package full of features for a WordPress website such as writing by MarkDown, optimizing images, changing comments form, supporting subscription newsletter, etc. In this article, I’m going to introduce about CDN of Jetpack only. If you need more reference about Jetpack, please read this one.
Optimizing website speed with Jetpack
On November 6, 2018, Jetpack launched a very useful feature for WordPress users which is called Site Accelerator.
Notes on CDN of Jetpack
What you should also take into consideration is that if your website serves one country only, you need to check the speed from the CDN of Jetpack. Jetpack hasn’t announced its distribution of CDN servers (we can expect it to be placed in your country or somewhere close to it). It is difficult to make sure whether that the load speed from CDN is better than that of servers in your country or not. Of course, a server created specifically for CDN will be better optimized for this task than a server for web. Therefore, you had better use one of above 3 tools to recheck.
In my opinion, CDN performs very well for metabox.io website. At present, I’m using it and finding it very good.
Optimizing and speeding up a website is a great topic with various issues that draw much of discussion. This article has dealt with one aspect only. Obviously, you should not put all of your belief in the CDN of Jetpack. Instead, other techniques also need improving to optimize your website in the best way, for example, cleaning up your website, optimizing images, or choosing hosts. Hope this article can present some useful information for you and wish your website speed is of less than 1 second.