January is a time for setting goals and establishing priorities for your website and online business. As you do that, I encourage you to prioritize improving the speed of your website.
Twenty Twenty-One is the year when site speed becomes critical to your online success. You will no longer be able to slide by with a slow website.
Why Website Speed Is A Priority In 2021
Unsurprisingly, Google is driving the move to speed up the web.
Google is on a quest to improve the user experience for searchers (that’s you and me — but also the people who use Google to find our websites).
A big part of user experience on the web is related to site speed. When users leave your site after visiting a single page, that’s called a bounce. Studies have found that bounce rates increase with each fraction of a second that users wait for a site to load.
Google wants us to find the best results when we search for something, but they also want to ensure we have a good experience after clicking on a search link.
Google’s New Speed Standard
In the coming months, you’re going to hear quite a bit about Core Web Vitals — Google’s new system for measuring site speed. I call it a system because Core Web Vitals measures more than just the time it takes to load a web page.
Google has announced that Core Web Vitals will be a ranking factor by May 2021. They’ve even hinted that fast sites might get some special label on search results.
If your site doesn’t measure up to this new speed standard, you’re not alone. A recent study found that fewer than 15% of websites pass the Core Web Vitals test.
How To Find Out If Your Website Is Slow
If you’re like most website owners, you want to solve your site speed problems. But first, you have to figure out how bad your problem is.
There are many online tools for measuring site speed, but GTMetrix is the one I like best. GTMetrix recently updated its service to guide site owners on complying with Google’s Core Web Vitals.
I encourage you to test your site speed on GTMetrix. It’s free, and it takes just a couple of minutes to see your results. When the analysis is finished, you’ll get a report card for your website, along with recommendations on things you can do to improve your grade.
Solve Your WordPress Speed Problems
I created the WordPress Speed Clinic to help site owners find and fix their website performance issues. The course provides step-by-step instructions and documents the optimization of a (very slow) real-world website. If you’re struggling to speed up your WordPress site, the Speed Clinic provides the guidance you need to boost your site performance.