wpo: Web Performance Optimization

WPO? There are many SEO factors that affect the positioning of a website in search engines, but there is one that is taking on special relevance among all of them: Web Performance Optimization.

Surely you will wonder what WPO is? Keep reading and you will find out.

Today, we live in a hectic world in which time optimization has become so commonplace that even Google has noticed it.

The network giant had already been giving clues about the changes that were taking place in its algorithm on this parameter.

And it is that for Google today the user experience is one of the basic elements of the philosophy of its search engine.

At present, the «WPO» (Web Performance Optimization) is key to positioning any website in the search engines.

So much so, that a site that does not have these parameters optimized can almost forget to reach large amounts of traffic within its market.

But what are the loading times of a website really?

What is the WPO?

Defining the WPO (or Web Performance Optimization) is talking about optimizing loading times. In a more everyday language, it is to improve the ability of a Web page to show all of its content to the user in the shortest possible time.

First of all we must know how to distinguish between a page and a website.

A website is a collection of many pages. That is, a group(domain) of different URLs… And each of them contains its own content.

Therefore, if we want to optimize loading times, we must not only take into account the HOME or main page. Undoubtedly, she is the one we have to be more aware of, but yes or yes we must optimize each and every one of the URLs on our site.

The 9 factors that affect improving the time it takes to load your web page

When working on the WPO (web performance optimization) of a site, several factors that affect it must be taken into account, either by the user or the server, and here I am going to show you what these factors are.

1# The type of server matters, and a lot

There are hundreds of companies that provide this service, hundreds of servers. And it is completely normal that most of the time we do not know where to go if we are looking for the best.

Do not get carried away by advertising or because a Hosting company is more visible than another.

What you should really look at is the technical aspects of said server.

That is, in:

  • Its storage capacity: normally, when hosting is contracted, it is shared. That is, the same disk is used by several websites. This makes storage space tight, and it is very possible that we will soon run out of space on that drive. This prevents the loading time of a website from being fast and optimal.
  • That’s why it is crucial for you to know how much storage space you require for your website, so that you don’t encounter difficulties in the future.
  • The type of disk you use: Actually there are only two, HHD and SSD. I recommend you opt for the second, since the read and write speed of an SSD disk is much higher than the HHD disk. Logically, the cost is also higher, but the truth is that it is worth it and the results are incredible, lowering the loading time of a site by up to 2 seconds.
  • RAM capacity: RAM memory is another aspect that we must take into account. Low-capacity RAM will prevent charging processes from being faster and more efficient.
  • The amount of data traffic you have – Most servers have traffic throttling. If our site has a traffic greater than that capacity, the speed in loading will depend on it, so you should keep an eye on this aspect.

Hiring a hosting with these characteristics can be more expensive than one that does not have them, but the results make it worth it.

In this blog I am using the services of Raiola Networks. Which I recommend, because among other factors, this hosting helps me to have load times of much less than 2 seconds.

2# Gzip Compression

Everyone knows that when we compress a document it becomes lighter.

Well, exactly the same thing happens with web pages.

These (since they are simply documents) can be compressed, and therefore their weight will be less and with this the speed with which they are loaded will be greater.

For this we have Gzip compression (not to be confused with ZIP) which is a format capable of compressing documents. But watch out! It is not used to store them, it only compresses them.

3# Hotlinking blocking

The hotlink technique consists of offering documents on a website (such as photos) that are actually hosted on another website and/or server.

Curiously, the problem is with the owner of the original content, since he is serving his own content on a tray – and from his server – without any control.

This, in turn, directly affects the saturation of your server, subjecting it to a longer load time, time that will surely be penalized.

Worst of all, we may not be aware of being victims of this practice. Luckily, most of the current Hostings already offer an option to block Hotlinking in Cpanel.

4# Activation of the cache

The cache memory is one that stores data on disk to be used again later (they are saved as frequently used files).

Enabling the cache is a technique that simply helps speed up the loading of a web page.

Its mechanism is the following:

  1. A user enters a page.
  2. The downloaded document is saved to your computer (or saved to the server, depending on the protocol).
  3. If the user logs back in, they don’t have to reload that page – this document is already stored on their computer.

This automation optimizes the loading time in a very effective way, since it takes much less time to open a file that already exists than to download a non-existent one.

5# Code optimization

The longer or shorter time it takes to load a website will depend directly on how its code is optimized.

The parameters that we must take into account for the optimization of your web performance optimization are the following:

  • Code “minification” – This means optimizing your code so that there are no unnecessary whitespace, indents, and bytes.
  • Code Compression – This is what we’ve talked about before, although it’s not quite the same thing. Here we refer to compressing HTML documents, JavaScripts, PHP, etc.
  • Documents must be separated according to their language: that is, an HTML document must not contain php code (for example), but must “embed” (so to speak) the document itself.

6# Optimizing resources (images or videos)

Images, videos and other resources such as infographics can slow down the loading time of an html document. Therefore, we must optimize these resources.

And how to do it?

This may help:

  • An image should not exceed, at most, 100KB
  • Other resources (such as infographics) must also be optimized, and their weight should not exceed 100KB either.

7# Host multimedia content on external services

Videos, presentations, audios etc. They are, as a general rule, multimedia content that usually takes up a lot of space.

An effective measure is to host them on external services from whose servers they will be loaded. In this way we will significantly reduce the load on our server.

In addition, most of these services are perfectly optimized to facilitate the task of being able to integrate them through a simple insertion code on our website.

8# Use a CDN

One of the best ways to reduce the loading times of your website is to use a “CDN”

A CDN basically reduces the load on your server by allowing your web resources to be available from other servers hosted in different international locations.

In addition, it “serves” our website from its servers closest to the place from which these requests are made, and that is why it helps to reduce times.

On websites whose volume of visit traffic is considerable, this is a great advantage to avoid server saturation.

There are several CDN options, both paid and free.

My recommendations are Amazon Cloudfront and Cloudflare, the latter is the most used (perhaps because it is free) and it is the easiest to configure to speed up your blog.

Among the many features that Cloudflare offers you, one of them is to avoid the Hotlinking that I mentioned before.

9# Beware of Plugins

Whether you use WordPress, Prestashop or other CMS, you must be careful with the Plugins or Modules that you install if you want to pamper your WPO “web performance optimization”.

They may be very practical and make our lives easier, but having an excessive number of plugins can considerably increase the loading times of a website.

WordPress Plugins for Web Performance Optimization

WordPress plugins, as long as your site has been created in this CMS, are perfect allies.

You will find countless plugins (most of them free) that cover all the necessary aspects to take into account for your “web performance optimization”, aspects that I have already told you about in this post.

So, below I show you a short list with some of the plugins that will be very useful for you.

► WP Optimize

WP Optimize: it is a plugin that, as its name indicates, is used to optimize WordPress, specifically its database.

Its main function is to clean our database of all those files that are unnecessary and useless but that affect the time it takes our server to load the web.

Also, it is very easy to use. It is as simple as clicking on “process” and you will already have your website’s database optimized.

► P3 Plugin Profile

P3 Plugin Profile. Earlier, if you remember, I talked about the need to optimize resources, and for this we need to know which processes are consuming the most resources.

Well, with this plugin you already have another solution in this regard. P3 does the not insignificant task of carrying out an analysis and indicating the consumption of each process so that you know where the weak points are.

► Autoptimize

Thanks to Autoptimize  you will be able, in a simple way, to make code optimization adjustments.

This tool will allow you to improve your WPO by minifying and adding javascript, CSS and HTML code.

► WP Super Cache

With the WP Super Cache plugin you will be able to carry out effective cache storage management.

It is also relatively easy to set up. When you log in, activate the “caching on” option and your site will see drastically reduced requests to the database.

► W3 Total Cache

W3 Total Cache, is another plugin to manage the Cache of your website, although it is perhaps the most advanced and complex of all when it comes to configuring.

You should know in depth how to configure it because sometimes the results may not be what you expected.

► Wordfence Security

Wordfence Security, in addition to offering security features in WordPress, also includes a cache management feature to protect your website.

It is therefore a plugin with many possibilities that well configured allows you to do without other plugins.

► EWWW Image Optimizer

With EWWW Image Optimizer  you will be able to optimize all the photos that you already have in your media library, as well as all those that you are going to upload in the future.

It reduces the weight of the images almost automatically and, despite being easy to use, it has other interesting configuration options.

► BJ Lazy Load

Although some WordPress themes already incorporate the asynchronous loading of your website’s photos, this plugin fulfills its mission very well.

With BJ Lazy Load your photos will be loaded once the user scrolls to the image, thus reducing the initial loading weight of a page and also its time.

Finally: Always Measure and Analyze

Once you have understood what the WPO is and applied all the tips to optimize your site or blog, it is time to analyze the improvements to see if you have really obtained good results.

For this, it will be essential to carry out a speed test of your website or blog.

In fact, there are many tools to perform these tests that will offer you very valuable information.

The use of these tools will provide you with essential feedback to make readjustments on the fly.

Good! We have already seen the basic factors that affect the time it takes to load your website.

Now it is up to you to optimize them or not.

But remember one thing: this has become one of the most relevant issues when it comes to positioning a page in search engines, and knowing what WPO is will surely help you do it.

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