Why Speed is the Website Metric You Can’t Afford to Skimp On

Why Speed is the Website Metric You Can’t Afford to Skimp On

Why Speed is the Website Metric You Can’t Afford to Skimp On

The problem with choosing the best WordPress host for your site often comes down to confusion. There are a lot of choices―and opinions about how to host a WordPress site, and it can be hard to separate the truth from a clever sales pitch. When it comes to the major players, let’s take a look at how they compare.

Rapid SEO Host is a managed WordPress hosting service that takes care of the essentials to bring you speed and security with an effortless experience. Many businesses have opted to move their WordPress hosting in-house in order to gain control and security, and that usually ends up being a mistake. With providers like Rapid SEO Host, there is another option.

Why Speed is the Website Metric You Can’t Afford to Skimp On

Every blogging guru, web designer, hosting service, and self-proclaimed tech whiz will tell you that speed is everything when it comes to your website. And it is true—speed can make or break your website. But let’s take a deeper dive into who cares about speed and why it is so important.

Google owns the lion’s share of the internet. They control what users see when they search for content on the web, and that basically allows them to make the rules for how websites behave. And Google has spoken, citing their internal studies, that speedy websites equal happy customers. So their algorithms, almost obsessively, favor fast websites.

So, there it is… the bottom line is that your website directly improves your search result ranking, making it easier (for faster websites) and more challenging (for slower websites) to get found through organic search. And the other side of that coin is that fast speeds improve the user experience, giving your search engine ranking and brand image another useful boost.

Optimizing for Google Core Web Vitals

Now that we have established that Google sets the precedents for website speed and other design elements, let’s talk about how website owners can get reliable information and use it to optimize the performance of their sites. Web vitals is a Google initiative to provide guidance on creating user-friendly websites.

Google has an abundance of tools for developers and website owners. And technical familiarity plays a big role in how useful each of their tools is for optimizing websites. Some developers with expert-level experience with their tools find them invaluable, while newer tech-challenged website owners learning as they go find them to be more trouble than they are worth.

Google Web Vitals aims to bridge the gap, so that website owners don’t have to be tech-savvy experts to understand how to create good user experiences. In short, web vitals applies to all web pages and provides useful information for all website owners.

Core Metrics

Google’s core web vitals will continue to evolve as the pace of technology, and user demands shape the future of the internet. As of 2020, these metrics focus on loading speeds, interactivity, and visual stability.

Loading speeds refer to how long it takes a website to load once a user clicks on the link or submits a query for a direct web URL. Google says that your website should load within 2.5 seconds. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for error, but after that window, your bounce rate goes up dramatically as users give up and go elsewhere.

Interactivity measures how quickly features within the website respond to user’s inputs. This could be internal links, embedded media, or menu navigation. Officially, this measurement is called First Input Delay (FID) and is measured in milliseconds. If you thought users were impatient with loading speeds, you can expect them to be even less lenient with interactivity. Google says that your website should have an FID score of 100 milliseconds or less.

The third metric, visual stability, refers to the spatial positioning of text and images on your web pages. Have you browsed an unstable page where links seem to jump just as you try to click on them or without warning, lines shift? Obviously, this is frustrating and makes for a pretty poor user experience. Google expects that websites maintain a CSL score of 0.1 or less.

Making the Case for Optimizing Speed

Equipped with the information that Google looks at, website owners can begin to track performance and optimize their websites. But while some people are focusing on a hamster wheel o oversaturated keywords, and others are treading water trying to build enough links, the best place to put your focus is on speed.

Companies like Amazon, U-Pack, and Google’s internal studies have documented proof that potentially insignificant speed differences have a dramatic impact on sales (positive or negative). In one case, trimming down page dynamics for a modest boost in loading speeds led to a 15% increase in sales conversions.

Site Speed and Search Engine Ranking

Google is not shy about sharing the fact that speed is important and almost certainly has a direct impact on your page ranking. Faster loading times increase page rank and visibility, resulting in more traffic. But by the same token, they also claim that less than 1% of searches are affected by speed.

Let’s put that into perspective. There are around 3.5 billion searches performed every single day. One percent is still 35 million searches, so it is nothing to shy away from. In fact, some estimates say that one second can cost an e-commerce website 7% in lost sales revenue. For a site that generates $50,000 in sales every day, that is 1.2 million in lost revenue. Or, a site that generates $100 in revenue per day, that is $2,500 in lost sales.

Creating a Good User Experience

At least 47% of users expect a website to load in two seconds or less. That is probably why bounce rates rise dramatically at 2.5 seconds. When your pages load fast, and your website functions the way that impatient users expect, your website is rewarded with more traffic and increased conversions. And by extension, it also lowers the bounce rate. All of these metrics tell search engines that your site is reputable and deserves higher page rankings. So a good user experience is great for the end-users your website is designed for and even better for search engine algorithms.

What Causes Slow Speeds?

There are many things that can cause slow speeds, and it is likely that your problems are plagued by the cumulative effect of multiple causes. However, the most common cause and the first place you should check is your host. Rapid SEO Host never uses shared hosting. Our managed WordPress hosting only uses dedicated servers to offer you performance-boosting speeds to get the most out of your website. Learn more about our services today!

Host Speeds

Hands down, the most common (and affordable) hosting option used shared services. While it is a practical option for many startups and small-scale websites, shared hosting is notoriously slower than other options. And what’s more, is that some hosting providers are out to make a quick buck with low-end equipment that doesn’t offer speed as a selling point. If you are on one of those cut-throat hosting plans, it is time to switch. Saving $10 a month in hosting fees isn’t worth losing $100 in sales. Rapid SEO Host uses dedicated hosting to deliver a hassle-free managed WordPress experience. With these services, you can get all of the security and speed benefits of dedicated hosting with zero technical knowledge.

Other Backend Problems that Cause Slow Speeds

If you use a managed hosting solution, you can rely on your provider for help analyzing and addressing dozens of additional backend factors like:
  • Too Many (or Too Heavy) Plugins: Some plugins or widgets have a tendency to kill page speed. Identify and remove any plugins that are weighing your website down and find lighter alternatives.
  • Too Many Ads: Monetizing is fun once you start getting enough traffic to make money, but it requires a delicate balance. If the ads are hurting the user experience, they cost you money too.
  • Image Overload: High-resolution images are typically a good thing for user experience, but if they are slowing your load speed down, then it is time to rethink your strategy.
  • Incompatible Browsers: Make sure the tools on your website, like Flash players work well with major browsers like Google Chrome.
  • Clunky Themes: Your theme is the framework for your site. A good theme makes a great site, but a bad theme can cause your website to bleed traffic slowly.
  • Extraneous Code: As you add snippets code to track different metrics on your site, your speed is impacted. The same goes for forms code and affiliate programs code.
Hosts like Rapid SEO Host staff the tech geeks that know what works and what doesn’t. They can usually provide solid advice on what should stay and what needs to go.

Other SEO Housekeeping Tasks that Can Improve Page Speed

Your host has a lot of influence over your site speed. From hosting speeds to backend maintenance tasks, the first step is to make sure that they are doing everything they can to help your site run efficiently. After all of your I’s are dotted, and t’s are crossed, it is time to move the focus on developing good front-end habits that will improve site speed.
Here is what you can do:
  • Limit Redirects
  • Compress and Optimize Images
  • Always Include the Trailing Slash in URLs
  • Limit Extra Page Elements
  • Clean Up Your Code
Redirects, although sometimes necessary, should be avoided if possible. The more redirects a page goes through, the longer it takes to load. By the same token, making a choice whether or not to use a trailing slash on a page URL can have a similar effect because of how the directory recognizes the page. Your URLs should look like: www.yourwebsite.com/page/ not www.yourwebsite.com. Images are a terrific visual element. And nobody is arguing against using high-quality images. But large file sizes take a long time to load, so get into the habit of compressing and optimizing every image when it is uploaded to conserve space and protect speeds. As mentioned previously in the backend maintenance, some plugins slow your site down significantly. So be stingy about which page elements and plugins you use and make sure there is a justifiable reason to keep them. While you are practicing lean methods of site design, use the same principles in your HTML or CSS code, making sure to eliminate extra spaces or unneeded snippets.

The Best Tools to Check Your Speed

There are dozens of tools that you can use to run a quick speed test on your website. While they won’t tell you why your site is slowing down, knowing where you are at is half of the battle. In addition to using these tools to get a cursory measurement of your site speed, there are additional tests that can be performed. For example, when making changes to your website, make it a best practice to always run an A/B test to analyze the impact of the changes on site speed. Play around with ad placement on your pages—test different layouts for desktops, laptops, and mobile devices. Look at browser extensions, antivirus software, and any other input that may contribute to website speeds. Technology has come a long way in the last 20 years, and users are no longer understanding of bulky, slow, or choppy websites. If your pages take longer than the blink of an eye, it is hurting your business’s reputation. Although not having a digital presence in 2021 is damaging enough, having a poorly designed website can be even worse. It is up to you to put together a professional, polished digital presence for your business. This includes carefully selected page elements and testing every piece to make sure that it works. Although code changes may not be your fault as Google and other tech developers are constantly changing things, your visitors will always attribute a clunky site with your brand.

The Bottom Line

Rapid SEO Host is your solution for boosting site speeds using a robust managed WordPress hosting solution. Our services include a completely hands-off managed solution that makes it easy for anyone to get the most out of their WordPress site. Learn more today!
How Rapid SEO Host Wins Against the Competition

How Rapid SEO Host Wins Against the Competition

How Rapid SEO Host Wins Against the Competition

The problem with choosing the best WordPress host for your site often comes down to confusion. There are a lot of choices―and opinions about how to host a WordPress site, and it can be hard to separate the truth from a clever sales pitch. When it comes to the major players, let’s take a look at how they compare.

Rapid SEO Host is a managed WordPress hosting service that takes care of the essentials to bring you speed and security with an effortless experience. Many businesses have opted to move their WordPress hosting in-house in order to gain control and security, and that usually ends up being a mistake. With providers like Rapid SEO Host, there is another option.

Breaking Down the Myths of Web Hosting

Many web hosts offer an add-on service like peddling domain names. When a new business buys a domain, they often purchase hosting from the same company. In many cases, they may even receive a discount for the additional purchase. Some people mistakenly assume that they are stuck with the same hosting service once the deal is done.

However, the domain name is just a web address. Once you own it, you can point it to any hosting service of your choosing. Now that you know you can keep your domain name, there are probably some things that your current host can do better.

Even if you have signed up with a name-brand hosting service, you still may not have the right service or the right provider. Every hosting provider offers a little something different in terms of pricing, features, and capabilities. And every business has different needs. A small start-up business is likely content with a budget-friendly shared hosting option. But growing businesses need much more, especially if their website contains significant e-commerce or content features.

How do you know when it is time to start shopping for a new web hosting service? If you have any concerns about the speed, security, or performance of your current hosting plan, it is time to see what else is out there.

How to Choose a Trustworthy Hosting Company

There are as many fly-by-night hosting companies out there as there are unscrupulous home repair contractors knocking on doors after a big storm. Some of the companies can even pull off a reasonably professional image. But the problem is that these companies are only designed for one thing―to make money. When you need help or need to scale your services as your business grows, they make you jump through a bunch of hoops.

Look for a company that offers flexibility. While competitors like Go Daddy and BlueHost gloss over the details and make it seem easy, Rapid SEO Host wants you to know there is a whole more to good hosting than checking a few boxes. They also want you to know that their geeks behind the scenes take care of it all for a completely hands-free hosting experience.

How Much Does Managed WordPress Hosting Cost?

Comparing hosting plans is far from apples to apples. Every provider includes different services in their plans. Some are even as low as just a few dollars a month. When it comes to hosting services, you typically get exactly what you pay for.

Providers tailor their pricing plans based on the level of security, support, and speed provided. In an effort to offer multiple price points, some providers offer gutted versions of their full-service plans. With Rapid SEO Host, you don’t need to be a technical whiz. There is no too good to be true offer of full-service, managed WordPress hosting for $5 a month. But they do tell you exactly what you get at each price point, and they offer it for a reasonable price.

Bluehost WP Pro packages start at $19.99 per month (introductory offer) with a three-year commitment and then go up to $29.95 per month. That cheap price is a trade-off for shaky support, a long-term commitment, and less than incredible speeds on a shared server.

By comparison, Rapid SEO Host starts at $80 per month. Putting the sticker shock aside, you actually get quite a bit more with their lowest tier plan. For one, your website is hosted on a dedicated server for noticeable security and speed enhancements.

What are the Different Types of Hosting?

The biggest reason that it is hard to compare different hosting services is that each provider seems to be offering something a little different. Let’s take a look at the different hosting options and see how they compare.

Managed WordPress Hosting

Managed WordPress hosting is a service that takes the technical details out of hosting. It is great for pretty much anyone who wants a hands-off, stress-free experience. Unless you nerd out on backend stuff, or consider yourself a control freak, these services can be a no-brainer choice. Managed WordPress hosting is offered by WP Engine and Rapid SEO Host.

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is the most economical option, but it isn’t going to blow your socks off in terms of performance. Shared hosting shares the resources on a server with multiple websites. And when one of those sites experienced a sharp uptick in traffic, it can negatively affect all of the sites on the server. Anyone with a reputation for the cheapest prices in hosting is probably using shared hosting. For example, BlueHost uses shared servers for both its WP Pro and standard packages.

Virtual Private Server Hosting (VPS)

VPS hosting is the middle ground between shared and private. With a VPS host, your website is allocated a dedicated section of server resources. While multiple websites still use the same server, your website is not compromised by traffic or security changes on the other sites. VPS hosting also offers root access for manipulating the technical aspects. It can be a good compromise for anyone who wants to have some control over the maintenance of hosting a website. SiteGround and BlueHost both offer VPS hosting options.

Dedicated Hosting

If you want the option to maximize server resources to run a complex website, dedicated hosting is a requirement. However, be prepared to pay for this performance. Dedicated hosting typically costs several hundred or even several thousand dollars per month, depending on your needs. This type of hosting can also be limiting to scale for future growth based upon the capacities of the server technology.

Rapid SEO Host uses dedicated hosting to deliver a hassle-free managed WordPress experience. With these services, you can get all of the security and speed benefits of dedicated hosting with zero technical knowledge.

What You Need to Know About Host Security

There are two main selling points when it comes to choosing a web hosting service: speed and security. Both are important, but if we have to choose one security where you should pay the most attention. Part of running a legitimate online business is providing reasonable assurances to your customers that any data they share with you is safe.

Data security aims to protect your website against two main threats. The first is data hackers. These are malignant sources out to steal valuable information from your website. Some hackers exploit companies for big paydays, and others are data mining to perpetrate identity theft. The second type of threat is disruptors.

This is another type of mischievous, but dangerous hackers that want to interfere with your website. Sometimes their goal is money, holding your website hostage for a payday. And sometimes, they are just tagging you. In either case, your website is vulnerable to these security threats without layers of protection.

Rapid SEO Host uses dedicated servers for maximum protection of user data. This provides you with the flexibility to add additional layers of protection depending on your needs. On shared hosting services, you are typically limited by what the provider is willing to allow.

SEO-Friendly Web Hosting

Your web host has a big impact on your customer’s experience. But one key skill that some hosting providers offer with clear value over their competitors is a helping hand when it comes to search engine optimization. If you are knee-deep in optimizing your website, you may know that there are front-end and backend factors that affect page rank.

The quality of your web host inherently has a big impact on your SEO, but when your host manually updates your managed WordPress site, and they happen to also have a good grasp on SEO best practices, your organic traffic benefits in big ways.

Go Daddy, a household name in hosting whose strategy seems to be a one-stop-shop model, offers SEO services alongside its hosting packages. With WP Engine, there is plenty of expert advice to go around, but they don’t offer specific SEO services. Rapid SEO Host not only offers SEO services, but the company’s co-founders offer the perfect blend of tech geek and marketing guru to make your SEO strategy shine.

Measuring the Competition

When it comes to choosing a reliable web hosting service, there are several big names that have been around for a while. Go Daddy, Bluehost, and WP Engine consistently rank among the top three. But newer opportunities for managed WordPress hosting are giving these old stand-ins a run for their money.

Go Daddy

Go Daddy is one of the original web hosting services They have carved out a niche for themselves by providing user-friendly, low-cost services. They also specialize in being a one-stop shop, so although they have low rates, they make money by capitalizing on quantity.

What they do well:

  • Offers and inexpensive hosting option with easy setup.
  • Reliable service with 99.97% uptime.
  • Excellent customer service.
  • Unlimited website hosting.

What to consider:

  • Prices increase significantly after the initial offer.
  • Backend maintenance is difficult.
  • No free backups and added fees to restore lost data.

Bluehost

Bluehost made a name for itself by offering bargain-basement shared hosting plans. However, as managed WordPress providers edge in on the market, they have come up with their own take on this service. For a little bit more money, users can enjoy WP Pro plans from Bluehost.

What they do well:

  • Unlimited sites and storage.
  • Daily backups.
  • Low cost.
  • No caps on traffic.

What to consider:

  • Speed and performance lag behind competitors.
  • Spotty support coverage.

WP Engine

WP Engine gets a lot of goodwill from users. With 24/7 access to support and plenty of performance, this hosting provider is easily a top choice. They offer a variety of pricing levels that are a little higher than competitors like Bluehost but may be well worth the extra dollars.

What they do well:

  • Dedicated, expert support.
  • Solid performance.
  • Simple setup.

What to consider:

  • Managed hosting is only available on shared servers.
  • Pricing is higher than other shared services.

Rapid SEO Host

Rapid SEO Host is a robust managed WordPress solution that utilizes dedicated servers for maximum speed and security. The team at Rapid SEO Host are search engine experts. They handle all of the backend technical tasks, so you can benefit from top-performing, optimized websites without being a computer whiz.

What they do well:

  • Dedicated server hosting with layers of added security.
  • WordPress Plugin coding and removal.
  • Quick website updates.

What to consider:

  • More expensive than shared options, but comes with plenty of value.
  • Newer than the household brands in web hosting.

The Bottom Line

If you are in the market for a WordPress hosting solution, the decision comes down to deciding how much work you want to put in. If you want a fast, secure website that is totally hands-off when it comes to maintaining the code and making changes, then it is hard to beat the services provided by Rapid SEO Host. However, if the backend stuff is what you live and breathe for, you can get along just fine with WP Engine, Bluehost, or even Go Daddy.

Are you ready to put your website in the hands of qualified, SEO-focused hosting experts? Our team at Rapid SEO Host believes in making your life easier by taking care of the hard stuff. Sign up today and get started.