I started this post approximately 4 years ago! I thought it would be good to finish it off and also update it slightly...
I have realised site speed is more important than what I thought 4 years ago, both for SEO benefits and also to improve the usability of the site. Reflecting positively on conversion rate and revenue. Majority of the mobile networks have 4G, but people still don't like pulling the "buffer face" while waiting for the page to load! If a page takes too long for me I just click off and find another link. I might as well mention the new buzz word used at the recent SMX conference... "Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)". This is mainly used for News/Blog type sites (the ones with the lightning bolt icon next to them) at the moment. There is not much information on eCommerce AMP apart from eBay using AMP for category pages.
So does AMP improve rankings... Yes...
...that must mean AMP is a Google Ranking Factor Signal??? NO!
It is merely a fast page load speed that is a ranking signal for Google. I don't think AMP is there for the eCommerce market just yet, well at least for me anyway. I'll wait a little while to see what happens.
So back to my original post:
Site Speed is something Google takes into consideration... you don't believe me? then why would they create a 'Site Speed' feature within Google Analytics... (I did say it was a 4 year old post)
I have had plenty of experience building websites in Magento and WordPress and I'll describe the setups that have worked the best for me below.
Magento 1.9 CE
- AWS Server - selecting the correct setup on reliable Amazon servers
- CDN - host images, css, js for parallel downloads
- Fishpig Minify JS, HTML, CSS - as it says it minify's things!
- Fishpig Magento Full Page Cache Plugin - this little beauty is awesome, a must have plugin!
- Fishpig Cache Warmer - pre-loads pages into the cache from a set of URL's
Whilst I have't configured Fishpig Cache Warmer on the Live site just yet, but I have completed this on a development site. Its really simple you just tell it what URL's you want it to pre-load into the cache and how often. For me I would purge the cache at say 4am and then run this at 4:30am ready for the visitors in the morning. I shall update this post once it has been installed on the Live environment.
This is a lot easier than the above, as Magento is extremely heavy and involves a lot more "stuff" and "tweaks" to make it work to its optimum.
W3 Total Cache - that is it you don't need anything else!!
I must say this transforms your site, this is currently installed on farhanhussain.co.uk (this site) on a standard shared hosting platform so nothing special. With a few hours work i got full page load from 4.7sec down to approx 700ms, which isn't too shabby even if i say so myself (especially for a site using a template theme).
It allows you to configure pretty much anything to get your Page Speed score to a near 100. I mainly use Pingdom Website Speed Test to analyse website/webpage speeds. This post wasn't intended to explain how to use Pingdom as it is fairly self explanatory at highlighting issues and telling you what to do to fix them. All of the fixes are simple tickboxes to activate in W3 Total Cache, so it makes it really easy when using this combined with Pingdom/GTmetrix.
Speed matters!!!! I've seen conversion rate go up by 70% when going from 8-9sec page load speed to a 2.5sec page load speed on a Magento setup. It is one of the easiest/hardest changes if that makes sense. Well what i'm trying to say is you have a tool that you can use to tell you if you've done it correctly and you can keep making changes until its right, then you can just sit back reap the rewards. Keeerrrrrrcchhhiing!!