More and more people are talking about user experience on digital platforms and its importance to businesses that want to grow vigorously and achieve their goals.
We know that there are several factors that separate a pleasurable experience from one that leaves something to be desired. A website with appealing aesthetics, tailor made content for a specific audience, and information architecture that meets visitor goals is often the end product of UX projects.
On the other hand, little is said about the ability to deliver resources, or page performance. The loading time of a website and the slowness perceived by users, although little questioned in product design projects, also play an important role in visitor behavior.
In the case of websites that use CMS WordPress as a framework, slowness can become a problem not only for end users, but also for people running the publishing and publishing routines of blog content and pages.
Slow sites are a problem when they cause damage to any of the parties that relate to the platform. If efficiency and performance are already discussed in various industries, why should we approach it differently with our website?
The perception of slowness has a lot to do with the speed of the band who accesses. We know the limitations of mobile internet in Brazil and that the signal of the networks is generally unstable in certain areas. The perception of the slowness of a page accessed by a desktop user with broadband (10mbps) is completely different by a mobile user in 3G or 4G network.
Not only for seconds of page rendering, but for what he expects, based on his previous experience with other sites. The fast desktop and internet user expects a YouTube video to load in the first few seconds; already the mobile user with 2G internet knows that under its conditions that same content will take longer to load – and this is perfectly acceptable.
The damage here is more on pages with conversion, forms or buttons to be clicked (ex .: buy, in virtual stores). When key pages are slow to load, there is the perception that something is broken, leading to withdrawal. Generally, the slower a page is, the higher your visitor abandonment rates and conversion rates are.
Another little point noticed is the impact that a slow WordPress has on the internal routines of an organization. For the operation of a blog, for example, several routines and publishing and publishing tasks of content that go through the administration interface are necessary.
Similarly, virtual stores (WooCommerce) have inventory management routines and product content updates that pass through the administration panel. This slowness causes tasks of this type to take longer to complete, and consequently spend more time on the author, publisher, or store manager. Every business should seek to correct these inefficiencies, since time is a limited resource and has a cost to the company.
The first step is to know how slow your site is. For this we have some free performance tests that provide several metrics. With them you can diagnose what technical factors are pulling the speed of your pages down and leaving the backend slow.
The main ones on the market today are Google Speed Insights, the Lighthouse (extension of Chrome) and the Performance Test (national). They work in a simple way: when you enter a URL, the tool simulates visits on the page and records some performance indicators.
See some performance metrics and understand what they mean.
In general, these insights help diagnose the causes of slowness. Testing tools also provide fix-up hints – tasks that can be performed on the site structure by a developer or infrastructure technician.
It is always possible to optimize a website (even the fastest ones can be optimized). The point is that there are corrections that, due to the expected improvement in time, may not be efficient if they are related to the resources (time and money) employed to perform the task. Fine code and structure adjustments should be made only after the basics.
The basics of optimization are tasks that have high impact on speed. See the main points that will make your pages take off.
Cheap hosting plans are an economical way to make your online business possible, but as your reach and number of visitors grows, it’s a service that deserves an upgrade.
The hosting services offered widely in the Brazilian market offer plans with old servers. Unlike a dedicated server, shared hosts have multiple sites, and when there is overhead, all sites experience variations in speed. Usually run outdated versions of frameworks necessary for the perfect functioning of WordPress – there are servers offered today that run PHP version 5, while version 7 of this framework already exists. By default, some of these services also have speed limiters.
Plan upgrades do not solve the problem. They often reflect timid improvements in some indicators (time to first byte and load), but the structure continues with its limitations in the core. There comes a point that the slowness of conventional hosting services makes hosting unviable in that environment.
To fix, migration to servers with cloud technology is indicated. Unfortunately, Brazilian hosting companies that offer this structure, do the pricing with heavy hands. It makes it much more advantageous to outsource services – even in dollars, the monthly price is very attractive and, in some cases, very close to the price of plans with shared servers.
The migration should be accompanied by an infrastructure expert, who will make the right settings for WordPress to run with high performance. You can also configure backup and security routines.
Do not underestimate the power that WordPress plugins have. In terms of performance, we recommend installing a cache plugin. This technology makes returning visitors already have many preloaded site features in their browser, providing instant loading of most requests.
One of the best today is the W3 Total Cache. In addition to caching technology, it offers the feature minification feature (HTML and JS minify), making the site also lighter (page weight). In the plugin official the following benefits are presented:
The two basic points of optimization can bring impressive improvements and that’s where we recommend that performance optimization begin.
Having done that, another easy point of optimization can be in images, which usually correspond a large part of the weight of pages, especially on pages with lots of photos. These are files that can be compressed and reduced in size by up to 90%. There are technologies that make smarter image uploads that can be explored, such as Lazy Loading and CDN.
Sites can also have features and content reviewed in a redesign that makes it simpler and more straightforward, avoiding any excess information in the layout – which, from a performance point of view, always means heavier and therefore slower pages.
Continue optimizing with fine adjustments indicated by performance tests. We can help you set priorities based on your current structure. Sites in WordPress are not slow – if there’s one thing we’ve seen over the years is that slowness problems are derived from misconfiguration, poor development and inappropriate server.