Performance Optimization

Google loves fast websites. And we know how to speed them up.

Performance Optimization

Google loves fast websites. And we know how to speed them up.

The benefits of a fast-loading website

 

It’s so much more than just a race to get perfect grades in Pingdom and GTMetrix. There are valuable reasons why your website should load fast. Here are a few of them.

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Better SEO

Google rewards websites that load fast by ranking them higher in the SERPS. (Search engine results pages.) Google does not like slow websites. If you want your SEO to outperform your competitors’, having a fast website is non-negotiable.

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Lower Bounce Rates

Users won’t stick around if your website is taking 5/6/10 seconds to load. Instead, they’ll ‘bounce’. A slow-loading website usually results in a high bounce rate. You know what doesn’t happen when you have a high bounce rate? Sales.

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Higher Conversion Rates

Google rewards websites that load fast by ranking them higher in the SERPS. (Search engine results pages.) Google does not like slow websites. You can find solid (and surprising) data backing this up

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Longer On-Site Time

Google rewards websites that load fast by ranking them higher in the SERPS. (Search engine results pages.) Google does not like slow websites. 

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Greater Pageviews

Google rewards websites that load fast by ranking them higher in the SERPS. (Search engine results pages.) Google does not like slow websites. So let’s speed things up. 

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Better User Experience

You know who else doesn’t like slow-loading websites? People. There’s a reason why Google penalizes slow websites, and it’s because Google knows people don’t like them either. 

How we measure up.

Below you’ll see our stats for cowbelly.com, with Google’s notoriously-picky Lighthouse audit seen below on the left.

Our homepage (and entire website), is loaded with big, detailed, full-width photos, and lots of icons and content (resulting in a 1.5mb page size), so we did a lot of work to get these results.

We are still working on the accessibility part, but are loathe to part with our teal on white titles, which Google does not like as far as accessibility is concerned. (Google is picky).

As long as our big, heavy pages filled with icons and photos load fast, that’s all we need to be happy. Although we are sharing ours here, we do not base our performance optimization success, for ourselves or our clients, on scores. (Ask us more about this when you reach out.)

Curious to know how fast (or slow) your own website is loading? Get in touch for a free performance audit.

Our Holistic Approach

Our approach to performance optimization goes beyond making tweaks in order to get perfect grades in the speed test tools. A website for a dog photographer will need very different things than a well-established ecommerce website selling pet toys for example. 

We look at what each website needs, painstakingly tweak images and fonts, manage assets from themes, plugins and builders, adjust caching settings on the server, adjust caching settings in the wp admin, preload resources, serve files locally, etc etc (etc). 

Whatever your specific website needs, we will do. Our results focus on user experience vs. perfect grades.

  • Image Optimization
  • Asset Management
  • Caching Setup
  • Plugin, Theme and Settings Tweaks
  • Resource preloading
  • Local resource serving

This service is right for you if…

#1

You have a business website

#2

You want more customers

#3

You want better engagement

#4

You want increased revenue

If you aren’t ready to make dramatic improvements to your website, your conversions, and your bottom line, you should wait for this service until you can answer “heck yes!” to all of the above.

Answers to Your Burning Questions

How much does the service cost?

Because we take a holistic approach to each website that needs performance optimization services, the rates vary based on the specific work we need to do. The price for the service usually falls between $499-$1499 (not including plugins and/or 3rd party services), with lower rates for smaller and/or newer websites, and higher rates for bigger sites with lots of pages and content and/or large e-commerce sites. Get in touch and we’ll provide you with a quote.

How long does it take?

We book you in our calendar ahead of time to make sure we have the time to be fully mentally present in the work, and once we get into the backend of your site we can usually accomplish all the work within 1-3 days, depending on scope.

I found a service that’s promising to make my speed scores perfect, and/or get me great grades in Google’s Pagespeed Insights for only $149. Should I trust them?

First- Ignore the scores.

Second- never use Pagespeed Insights. It’s a very unreliable tool, and Google’s own pages for web developers don’t even get good scores (which we think is pretty funny).

GTMetrix and Pingdom are our recommended tools. (Although we think that Pingdom’s results can be a bit ‘generous’.)

But, that said, speed test scores, like what you get from a GTMetrix or Pingdom report, are meaningless vanity metrics.

The only thing that’s really important is page load time, and whether or not all scripts and resources are loading as they should. Yes, it’s important to please Google with a fast website, but the user experience should also be top-of mind.

For this reason, it may not be possible to remove resources that are impacting scores. This is especially true with ecommerce stores that rely on plugins to extend functionality. Removing functionality in order to get a better grade is a waste of time, and may even be a waste of money if it means you can no longer track ad performance, connect your store to Facebook, etc.

Unlike most cheap performance optimization services, we never take a one-size-fits-all approach.

We carefully evaluate each website, and then do whatever work is necessary for that particular site.

This may mean downloading and resizing three photos in Photoshop, adding a blur to the background areas of the photo in order to further reduce the size, compressing them one more time with additional software, and then uploading them back to the site. And then using an image compression plugin.

Or it may mean painstakingly disabling assets on one very important landing or sales page.

Or talking to your web designer in order to understand what theme and/or builder functionality they used, so we can disable the rest.

Installing caching and photo optimization plugins, and setting up a CDN are just a small part of the work we do. In fact, sometimes we don’t even use a CDN because it can (ironically) make the website load slower.

No two websites are alike, so their needs can’t possibly be identical.

We treat each website like the unique, special and dynamic creature that they are.

You’ve worked hard on your website. Isn’t that how you would want it to be treated?

We promise to invest the same level of care and attention to detail that we would with our own site.

How will I know if the performance optimization you did works?

We send you detailed audit reports both before and after the work, so you can clearly see the results. You’ll be able to use the same free tool to run your own (before and after) performance reports, and drill down the data to analyze the results. You’ll also notice the difference just using your website, and you can get feedback from customers, employees and stakeholders.

How do I know if I need this service?

Contact us for a free performance audit. 

We’ll create a report that shows us, in detail, what elements need to be changed and improved in order to make your site load faster. 

My site is loading really slowly, and I have a feeling it’s a mess, but I’m on a limited budget. But I really need to fix this like right now because I’m worried I’m losing revenue. What can I do??

We have great news for you.

When we create proposals for our Performance Optimization service, we prioritze the work starting with the lowest-hanging fruit that will provide the most bang for your buck, and end with the ‘big-ticket’ items like a redesign with a new custom theme (for example).

We take a very pragmatic approach to each project. 

For example: maybe you have one single script that’s loading slowly on your homepage, and fixing that would offer a great performance benefit. That would be one single task that has a great payoff.

We also put all the tasks that are ideal to do, but can wait, in an ‘optional’ section of our estimate. (That’s where ‘big’ work like a site redesign would go. And don’t worry, we never try and ‘upsell’ you to that service.)

The estimate is itemized, so you can see each task we intend to do.

Together we can decide what to start with, and what can wait.

We can give you as much technical information as you need to understand and make decisions. 

There may be 25 things that really need to be done, but we may start with 5-7, and then move forward as your budget allows.

My WordPress website hasn’t been updated in a long time, and there are warning messages all over my dashboard. Do you fix that as part of the performance optimization service?

No. Updates aren’t part of the performance optimization service. 

When updating themes, plugins and core WordPress files that haven’t been updated in a long time, websites can and do ‘go sideways’. (E.g. break.) Sometimes they can break badly, and require hours of troubleshooting trying to get everything to play nicely together again. 

Sometimes you can update everything and not have a single problem. You just never really know. (And it’s always best to do this work on what we call a ‘staging’ site, not the live website.)

We require that your backend ‘stuff’ is all updated before we do the work. If you have a couple/few plugins that you have decided not to extend the license on that have updates available that you can’t do, that’s fine. But we won’t do work on sites that are in need of loads of updates. 

If you don’t have anyone to update your website, and you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, get in touch with us and let us know your situation, and we may be able to help with that work too. 

 

I’m interested! How do I get started?

Click the button below to shoot us a message that includes your email address and domain name, and we’ll send you a free performance audit.

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