Improve Your GTMetrix Score In Under 30 Minutes

Web Development & Design/ 23rd May 2017/Jamie Hoyles

GTMetrix is a tool that helps users optimise their site for both speed and SEO purposes. A slow website will frustrate visitors, sending them elsewhere. A faster and more responsive website will keep them more engaged and focused on the page content.

In addition, Google use page speed in their ranking algorithms. Therefore, a faster performing site may rank higher in search engine results.

This article advises of a few simple steps that will see your GTMetrix score increase dramatically.

BeforeGTMetrix Before

I’ve quickly put together a simple home page using WordPress. The page has a few images and a social media plug-in. It is based on the Customizr theme.

The GTMetrix scores are typical of a site that hasn’t been optimised – I am now going to implement 4 steps that should see those scores rise…

Step 1 – Optimise Images

There are 4 images on the homepage – these will be contributing to the large Total Page Size and have an impact on the page load time.

A plugin such as WP-Smush or ShortPixel Image Optimizer allows the website owner to compress images after they’ve been added to the site – Simply download the plug-in, install then optimise.

After Optimising Images

As you can see we have vastly reduced the page size by almost 2MB. This has had a knock on effect with the page load time improving.

Step 2 – Enable Caching

There are many caching plugins available for WordPress. I recommend WP Fastest Cache. Download and activate. You will now want to enable the following options:

Cache System
Minify HTML
Minify Css
Combine Css
Gzip
Browser Caching

After Enabling Caching

The caching plugin has greatly improved the PageSpeed & YSlow scores. It has also knocked a couple of seconds off the page load time and again reduced the page size.

Step 3 – Combine CSS & Javascript

I’ve trialed many plugins that claim to do this efficiently but the majority result in a page that loses it’s functionality once the CSS code has been optimised. However, Autoptimize is a great plugin and works with a few clicks. Again, download and activate then in the settings enable the following:

Optimize HTML Code
Optimize JavaScript Code
Optimize CSS Code

After Combining Scripts

Another great step. We have a near perfect PageSpeed Score, the YSlow score has increased whilst the loading time, page size and number of requests has also improved.

 Step 4 – Activate a Content Delivery Network

A content delivery network (CDN) is a system of servers spread over multiple data centres located around the world. When a user visits your site they will be served content from the server closest to them.

The most popular CDN is Cloudflare – to activate you will need to sign up and add your site to a free plan. Once this is done you will need to change your nameservers so the domain looks towards Cloudflare. This can take upto 24 hours for the DNS to update but is usually much quicker.

After Adding a CDN

Our final addition has seen the YSlow Score improve and the page load time decrease further.

These 4 simple steps took less than half an hour to implement but have seen a massive improvement to the GTMetrix score. In turn this should have a positive effect on Google rankings along with a decrease in visitor bounce rate.

The scores were achieved on our standard shared hosting and whilst a page with more content, widgets and plugins may not obtain as high a rating, the steps above should put you on the right track.

If you have an accounts query it is likely Jamie will be the one to help you resolve it...! Away from the office he is a condemned supporter of Blackburn Rovers, enjoys watching and playing cricket and appreciates a good meal out.
We have a very strong team here at Clook and we build on everyone's strengths and weaknesses, you have to be able to make a good brew too!

Chris James

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