Slow websites make customers head for the back button quicker than Usain Bolt heading off to a KFC.
Yet, website speed is a difficult thing to get right for the regular small-medium business that wants a good looking, functional website on a low budget.
Low-cost hosting is typically slow. I say typically, they are all slow.
Yet, lots of page builders are full of bloat and compound the issue.
Divi, the popular page builder/theme that I have always used is probably the worst culprit. Elemementor, Beaver Builder and Oxygen perform a lot better but are not completely innocent in all of this.
The issue is this bloat allows websites to be put together relatively quickly and as a result more economically for the customer.
Last year I moved all of my sites to shared hosting because I was relatively inactive following a bout of illness.
Slow. So Slow.
I thought I’d use one of my sites, built with DIVI, as a case study to show you can have a fast site built with DIVI on shared hosting.
I set about doing what I knew about speed optimisation.
Then I googled the shit out of it to see what I could do to improve the speed.
It was nigh on impossible to get the site to load below 4 seconds, with a speed score of C on GT Metrix.
Not to mention low page speed scores on Google Page Speed, and Pingdom.
It was driving me crazy.
I broke the site a few times.
N.B. I broke a clients site once trying to optimise their site. I received a phone call on my way to a conference in North Wales and couldn’t fix it. Luckily, they had the wherewithal to restore a backup of the site. Never been so stressed in all my life.
You see, it’s not that easy to speed up websites. Especially, on low cost hosting and using DIVI.
Fed up and annoyed. I decided to try and recreate one of my websites with a different them.
I remembered that I had an account with Generate Press, which is widely regarded as one on the fastest WordPress themes on the planet.
The theme and premium plugin, just give you the bare bones of what you need. The rest was always down to some HTML CSS which I’m comfortable with but not necessarily quick at.
The theme creators had also just released the Generate Blocks Plugin so I thought I’d give it a go.
What a difference it made.
Development was probably a little bit slower than what I cab do with DIVI. Bit more CSS to add.
But the site almost looks completely identical, apart from some changes I had made and some laziness with creating some fancy effects that come as part of the Divi theme (bloat).
But the biggest difference is the speed.
On the left, you have the new site. On the right the old site.
Same design. Same cheap hosting. Different theme.
What does this mean for clients?
Firstly, for those clients who don’t want to pay heaven and earth for hosting, that’s OK. We can get you a fast-loading, well-presented site on budget hosting.
For those that want a website with razzle-dazzle with a decent budget and the willingness to pay a premium for hosting. We got you covered.
I think the biggest takeaway from this is, you can get whatever you want from your website… as long as your budget allows.
Yes, this is always the case.
But, in the case of speed and SEO- it’s vitally important