Goal: SEO for Page Load Speed of Less Than 3 Seconds
Your page load speed should be under 3 seconds, since otherwise a visitor will get bored and leave, according to a webcast I watched recently.
Note: For all plugins you install, you will
- Settings Setup – go into the settings + set up the plugin for your specifications. Often, there are recommended settings.
If you have any questions, please post them in the Comments at the bottom of this page. I will respond + also add the info to this post, so everyone can understand it better. I will probably learn something, too!
I run my own travel blog, + struggled with my page load speed for ages! I do not know the back-end very well. I can manage, but do not code or understand the cPanel, that seems to come up in most instructions for anything the least bit complicated. So, this is what I have done. Hopefully some or all works for you, too!
Getting Help with This?
If you don’t want to deal with this yourself, consider hiring Andrew Palmer of Somebody’s Hero. I write a bit more about him further down in this article, because he has helped me invaluably with my SEO. As I don’t know much about this, I needed someone willing to answer my questions and help me when I was stuck.
If someone is going to access your website to help you with this, make them an Administrative User. Here are the Add User instructions.
Some of the action items are quick, like less than 1 minute. Others take time + learning on your part. For me, it’s been really frustrating at times, but I’ve also learned a ton about SEO and the backend of my website.
SEO Tips for Beginners
Hopefully you’re better at all this than I am, or the speed testers only give you one or two little problems to resolve. Otherwise, get ready…
- If you have small kids in your home, for whom you’re still not teaching swear words, don’t work on this too much when they’re around.
- If you have a laptop, and are the type of person who throws things when very very very frustrated, visit your favorite public library and borrow a heavy desktop. (Be careful about swearing there, though!)
- Do not pull your hair out in frustration. You’ll only become more frustrated the next time you see yourself in a mirror. Calm yourself with a dancing dog.
Before Making SEO Updates
Before starting any of this, you should do these steps. If you skip any of them, you will not know if your website has improved, plus all your effort might not end with good results. I implore you: don’t mess around.
- Ensure all activated plugins are updated. Just go to your plugins page, and click ‘update’ on any for which the button appears. FREE. 5 MINUTES
- Ensure WordPress is updated to current version. FREE. 2 MINUTES
- Back up your website. Do NOT forget this. If anything ruins your website, it could be a lot of work to get it back. Use a plugin like UpDraft. FREE. 5-10 MINUTES
- Last, check your page load speed. This is your baseline, from which the time should decrease. FREE. 5 MINUTES
Upgrade to PHP 7
I had PHP5, + the upgrade to PHP 7 immediately decreased my sites load speed by a few seconds!
How do I know what PHP my website has, you ask? There is a way to check, but I could not understand the instructions.
If you are on BlueHost + started your website prior to mid-2017, you likely have PHP 5. BlueHost did not set up websites on PHP 7 until then. They do not upgrade websites automatically, because it may affect plugins. I don’t know about other hosts, so you’ll have to check with them.
Before doing this step, you should check if your plugins will be affected. This is also why your very first step was to update all plugins + back up your website. I did not know this before I upgraded, + my plugins seem unaffected. This is a plugin to check PHP compatibility with your active plugins: PHP Compatibility Checker.
The easiest way to upgrade to PHP 7 is to call or LiveChat with your hosting provider (e.g. SiteGround, BlueHost, GoDaddy), + ask them to do it for you. If your host will not or cannot upgrade you to PHP 7, find a new host. FREE. 30 SECONDS.
While you are talking to your host, have them also upgrade your website to SSL. Your website will be more secure, + is quickly becoming a standard. Your URL will now start with HTTPS instead of HTTP. FREE. 30 SECONDS. Read up more on this before moving forward and ensure that people who already access your website, can still easily get to it. Ask your host to set up a re-direct, if necessary.
How to Optimize Website
Optimize your website yourself. However, if you are already on LiveChat or the phone with your hosting service, they can do this for you. FREE. 5 MINUTES.
Many MySQL errors can be fixed by this process. It is recommended you perform the steps often so databases remain in good condition.
How to Cache Website
Use these 2 plugins in conjunction for caching your website. Caching speeds up the page speed for your website.
- W3 Total Cache: The plugin description reads “improves the SEO + user experience of your site by increasing website performance, reducing download times via features like content delivery network (CDN) integration.”
- Autoptimize makes things smaller + adds things you need.
The plugin description reads “concatenates all scripts + styles, minifies + compresses them, adds expires headers, caches them, + moves styles to the page head, + scripts (optionally) to the footer. It also minifies the HTML code itself, making your page really lightweight.”
How to Optimize Photos and Images
Optimize photos using your photo software, instead of only a plugin. This means: upload a small size of your photos, since large files slow websites down.
Steps to optimize photos for uploading
- Open Lightroom, or your software to optimize. A section in this article explains how to optimize photos for web. Just remember megabytes (MB) are bigger than kilobytes (KB). And, you want all of your photo sizes in the KB range.
- Use plugin EWWW Image Optimizer.
Steps to optimize photos for SEO keywords
While we are on the topic of photos, you should understand how to complete the various boxes when you upload a photo for SEO purposes. These two articles are a little repetitive, but together explain how to set up photos for SEO.
- Image Alt Text vs Image Title in WordPress – What’s the Difference? by WPBeginner
- Image SEO Alt Tag + Title Tag Optimization by Yoast. Yoast has so many great articles—be careful about going down the rabbit hole! If you use their free plugin, have a look at all the links to articles within the Settings menu.
My SiteGround Research
I do not yet have SiteGround, but am planning on switching over soon. They have a plugin to speed up your website + their MO is providing speed!
I have not called BlueHost yet, but someone else mentioned that BlueHost will refund a pro-rated amount, if you end their hosting service. Double-check this for yourself, since it might depend on your plan!!
SiteGround has a lot of good services included, + costs only slightly more than BlueHost, so do a price comparison for your websites needs.
The transfer from your old host will be handled by SiteGround. Apart from about 20 minutes of your time, it should be fast + easy. The transfer takes up to 24 hours on SiteGround’s side, so plan for a time when you will not be making changes to your website.
If you do not like their service, you can change away from them within 30 days + pay nothing. And, they claim to give a really fast page load speed. If you decide to change over, too, please come back and use this affiliate link. Thanks in advance!
SEO Web Guy
Andrew Palmer helped me with a lot of this. He is a web guy, for sure! His website loads in less than a second. If you are interested in Andrew’s consulting services, here are his reviews!
He explained to me that good SEO is not just about keywords + phrases. You also have to have:
- A speedy, secure website
- A great sense of what your customers are searching for, +
- You must be very, very consistent in your tone of voice.
Here is Andrew’s website, Somebody’s Hero, in case you would like to check it out or sign up for his upcoming course.
Did You Find This Helpful?
I hope you found this SEO information useful! I am glad to be able to support my fellow bloggers, even though I am new to SEO myself. Do not forget to bookmark this page, so you don’t lose it! And, keep reading to the bottom for more. First, though:
If you have a few minutes to return the favor, please share my travel blog with 2 friends! Apart from my travel stories and tips, a lot of people like this post, since it’s useful everyday, not just when traveling.
Longest Bus Rides focuses on travel way off the beaten path, where there are few tourists, and chatting with the people I meet. I love photographing with my drone, camera, + phone. Recently I spent 6 weeks in Spain, + before that 5 weeks in South Africa + Lesotho. Even earlier, I visited places like Mongolia + Myanmar.
SEO Facebook Groups + SEO Websites
I find interaction with others helpful, whether to listen and learn from questions of others to asking my own SEO questions.
Website Domain Authority – What is my websites DA?
Check your Domain Authority using Moz. Why you should know your websites DA: it’s one of the many factors that contribute to your websites ranking in Google and other search engines. Moz formulated this metric.
SEO Facebook Groups / Pages I Find Helpful
Digital Nomad Wannabe – Understand how SEO works with Google. Also discusses how to use affiliate links in depth. Offerings: Lots of free videos and materials. A Facebook group is “DNW – Making Money From Blogging”. Once you’re in, check out the Files section for tons of great info. A paid course is also available.
Make Traffic Happen – Teaches about keyword use and other SEO. Offerings: Lots of free videos and materials. A book is also on for sale.