How to make your WordPress site lightning fast.

 

Why do you want a fast WordPress template?
Because you’ll lose 53% of your visitors if you take longer than 3 secs.

stopwacth2-handonlyFIX

Free and premium templates :  summary of speed tests.
Click through on the TEMPLATE column to download a fast template:

Template: click throughOverall speedTimePage sizePrice & Free
Generate Press free & premium97%2.1 sec138kFree themes
Studio Press Premium only98%2.9 secs193 k$56
Astra Themes Free and Premium84%3 secs ecomm1.02 MBFree themes

Speeds has always mattered to Google when it calculates how high to rank you.
Today, the emphasis has moved off desktop to mobile searches because
more of us are now searching our mobile than our desktops.
Of course, mobiles are slower so it's critical to tweak our pages to be as fast as possible
in order to get the best ranking we can.

Before you select a new template or have one designed it’s best to check what the speed
might be before you start laying out cash.

The latest figures show that after 3 seconds on a mobile search, people will simply
switch away from your site. 

So your first marker is 3 seconds.

We have to be below that or we risk losing enquiries and sales.

If you're doing PPC, and your site falls outside this marker, you're throwing your money away.
Be warned!!

How to check your speed

First pick a demo of the template you're about to use and run it through
our favoured tool, GTmetrix.com

  1. Logon on for a free account and be sure to select mobile LTE speed…not desktop
  2. Now run your page and look out for how long it takes to load.
  3. GTmetrix will also give you what needs fixed, prioritised by what things slow your site the most.

This is often things like

  • Big image sizes,
  • Slow files transfers,
  • Bloated coding etc.

We've highlighted a few of these easier fixes here to help you.

Remember, the aim is to keep below those 3 seconds.

If you like a template but it takes 8 seconds to load, it's going to cost you lost traffic.
You have to take into account the patience of new visitors who might not know
anything about you.
He or she is usually impatient and will click away in a heartbeat.

Let’s get started. We’ll take a free template and free page builder for you to put up your logo
and some basic info, then check your page for speed.

Generate Press Themes
Page building and speed test results

First, go to generatepress.com & download the basic generate press free theme.

The sample page here www.easymoto.com/templates  shows the basic free theme
from Generate Press with our test logo.
On the left hand side in WordPress, appearance,customise let's you set up your initial site.
Add logo, full width, backgrouds etc

    • Easy to go full screen width, with background colours behind logo, in this example.
  • Full range of editing and spacing options  etc.
    as you can see in the free Page Layer control panel screen. In WordPress you choose
    customise to get access
cusmtise_header_full_width
pagelayer_editor_for_generate_press_free_templateFIX

Generate Press free template speed check.
Our recommended speed checking tool is GTmetrix.com set to LTE for mobile testing (not desktop).

Why mobile testing?
Because 53% + of all searches are now carried out on mobile.

You need a free account at GTMetrix to set this up.

The easiest things to improve speed on, are usually:
Getting your image sizes down as small as possible.
Using solid colours for backgrounds rather than images

GTmetrix will often suggest “Keep Alive”.  Just ask your host to set this up .
It speeds up file transfers used to build your page

GZip is often recommended for compressing files . The Code goes in your htaccess file.
Get your host or your developer to do this for you as well. It's not a big ask.

Here's the blistering speed we achieved quite easily, using the above setup:

31_5_easmoto_templates_gzip_on_htaccess_138k

In this example, we tested www.easymoto.com/templates
We got the speed down to 2.1 secs and 14 requests, which is fast, especially for a free setup.

If you really want a zippy full-screen site, you can choose the premium version of Generate Pro which offers many attractive and contemporary designs.

If you buy a premium template, just follow our principles here to keep your speed low but do expect a little loss of speed.
Lightning fast Generate press templates

Studio Press Themes
Page buiding and Speed Test results

Studio Press
These are premium templates but offer great speed advantages.
For those who like to tweak their own templates, the support is excellent,
even templates you bought some time ago.
Updates remain available for years after you've bought the theme.
Why does this matter?
Because older version of themes not updated, and become security risks that hackers can attack.
The Newspro theme below, is versatile and fast. This demo clocks up at under 3 secs. It could be made even faster with some simple tweaks

GTmetrix results are below. The more images etc you add then the more the
template slows down, but you can make your key money pages fast and
informational pages slower.
Be sure to follow though on GTmetrix recommendations to get the fastest speed.

The News pro theme below is  very versatile and fast.
It could be make even faster with some simple tweaks.
GTmetrix speed results are shown below the template.
The more images you add, however the slower the page becomes.
But you can make your money pages and landing pages fast and informational pages slower.
Be sure to follow through on GTmetrix recommendations to get the fastest speed possible.

newspro_at_livingspaces
31_5_livignasapces_with_2_logos_2.9s

There's a large range of contemporary and stylish themes to choose from.
Mostly full screen width
Premium themes cost $56
These are just two examples.
Click through to see their full range.

studeipresssmaller_$56

Astra themes
Page building and Speed Test results

This company is very easy to work with.
They give you their free plugin so you can try out any of 200+ themes.
They automatically pull in free versions of your favourite page builder
so you can edit and adjust.

PLUS
They provide images in each theme  to give a good feel of what your site
will look like (on the understanding you do not have a license to actually
use these images).

The plugin is free and easy to install here
https://wordpress.org/plugins/astra-sites/

When installed, go to left hand menu Appearance, starter templates
and pick any of the themes.(Don't forget to clear out the previous one.)
You get a MUCH better view of what your site will look like, than many
other theme providers.

Our initial speed test showed 5.7 seconds and page size of 1.87mB.

After optimising in cpanel, you get to 4.3 secs and 1.29mb

organic_store_astra_finished_page

In the template we chose above, total page will reduce further to 1mb and
speed will get nearer to the critical 3 seconds on mobile phone searches.


After this there are 2 more improvements we made to save another 289k
which gets the page speed down to the critical 3 seconds level.

Astra_after_2_compressions_no_screenshot_of_site

Astra is fast, particularly for an ecommerce template.
Compared to most other ecommerce templates we have tested, it is a clear winner.

This next template below, we tested  the landing page for another ecommerce store and it
shows approx. 8 product images. There is also a very large image background, but that
is handled separately in order not to slow down the page

GTmetrix rates it very highly, as you can see in the speed table below.
3 seconds 

That's fast for an ecommerce site.

 

wpastra_speeds
astra_thempates_2
Template: click throughOverall speedTimePage sizePrice & Free
Generate Press free & premium97%2.1 sec138kFree themes
Studio Press Premium only98%2.9 secs193 k$56
Astra Themes Free and Premium84%3 secs ecomm1.02 MBFree themes