Be sure to backup your website before attempting these
Google, Bing and Yahoo have nearly 200 ranking algorithms they use to measure your site. Speed is just one of them, but it’s a big one that’s both beneficial to you and your visitors.
Make sure to open https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ and run your site through it to see what score you get on the desktop version of your site. That’s your base score. Below are some common messages Google may tell you on this analysis. The steps below should take a total of about 2 hours to complete.
So, without further ado, here we go:
#1: Optimize Your Images
Forget installing the popular plugin “WP Smush It.” Instead, delete that plugin if you already have it and install EWWW Image Optimizer. Once installed, click activate. Then, go into the settings of the plugin. Then, click “Basic Settings Tab” Then check the box next to “remove all meta data” then click Advanced Settings Tab, then on the first option, select Level 3 and on the second option, select level 2. Then save. Then go to Bulk Optimize and this will compress your images. Depending on the amount of images you have, this may take a while. Once it says finished, then click “scan and optimize everything else.” This function will optimize all your theme images. Once it’s done, it’ll tell you it’s finished.
#2: Minify HTML, JS and CSS
Forget installing plugins such as BWP Minify or Autoptimize for this. These plugins often conflict with others and break your theme or site. Instead, go to http://htmlcompressor.com. Next, copy and paste one of your theme’s CSS files into the white space, then click “compress.” Next, the compressor will either compress your code within 1 second or tell you “it needs to be changed to CSS” or something of that nature. Click “change.” Then click compress. Do this for as many .CSS and .JS files you can. Once you see the compressed code, simply delete the old code and copy and paste the new, compressed code into your file. Do this for every file Google says needs “minified.”
#3: Cache and Compress Your Site
There are many plugins available for this. I use WP Super Cache because it’s friendly with other plugins. But, feel free to choose which one works best for you. Make sure to set your caching for a long period of time if you’re serving static content (text and images that aren’t updated often) I only update my site once per week, so I have mine set to delete cache every 500,800 seconds or so. Most cache plugins will allow you to Gzip or compress your site. Enable that.
Now you’re done.
Delete your cache and re-run the site through the Google speed test. Your score should be much better. Go to Google webmaster tools and “fetch your site” and then click “submit to index.” Do the same with Bing Webmaster Tools. Keep in mind that Yahoo owns Bing, so once you submit to Bing, Yahoo will automatically pick up the changes as well.
The above steps are just ideas. I take no liability if any of the methods break your website or cause undesired results. That’s why I urge you to backup your site before beginning any of the steps. The three methods above utilize very tame plugins and mild changes. None of methods have broken any site I’ve built for myself or my clients.
My Google Speed Score is 89. Bear in mind I started at about 56.
Justin lives in Charleston, West Virginia with his family, where he runs his business Waybright Photography, helps local businesses with online marketing and writes grants for nonprofit organizations.