As they announced earlier today, the Facebook News Feed algorithm will now favor posts that link through to fast-loading websites with an update coming in the next few months. With “as many as 40% of website visitors abandon a site after three seconds of delay,” Facebook has decided to make the change to continue serving users a higher quality experience with fast access to information they want to see.
Facebook says that “if signals indicate the webpage will load quickly, the link to that webpage might appear higher in your feed.” Meaning, page load time and site performance will now be more important than ever to big brands including publishers, higher education institutes, enterprise and anyone else using Facebook as a primary marketing channel.
With slower sites seeing less referral traffic from Facebook in the months to come, we’re sharing ways to optimize your site for mobile, the WordPress plugins you need for speed optimization and how a superior tech stack can help you speed things up so you don’t get stung by Facebook’s new algorithm.
Optimize Your Website for Mobile
Mobile traffic accounts for a large percentage of Facebook users, with almost 80% of time spent on social media platforms happening on phones and tablets. That said, making sure the layout of your website is responsive to mobile is no longer the most important way to optimize. Speed, ease of use and small screen designs are now coming into play more and more.
Now, more than ever, the most important thing you can do is to speed your site it up. Not only can faster load times increase conversions and lower your bounce rates but, as we learned today, it will also help you stay higher on a user’s Facebook News Feed (and Google search, for that matter). Get going with these three quick speed fixes as a good place to start:
Reduce Image Size & Instances
Take a good look at your site and audit it for any excess images that aren’t necessary to tell your story. Excess images can increase page load times and shouldn’t be included just to make things look pretty. Be strategic with your image placement and remove the ones that aren’t necessary.
With the ones you’ve kept on the page, use a tool like Imagify to compress your images without decreasing their quality.
Optimize Your Plugins & Themes on WordPress
WordPress users benefit from certain optimizations that already exist in WP core, like responsive images, and there are many more fixes you can employ for speed. One of those fixes is your plugins and theme code. Take some time right now to do an overall update of your theme, plugins, and core which could quickly help to fix a slowdown.
Consider Your Web Host
A managed web host has things like caching and server infrastructure already in place that will make your site faster right off the bat. In an environment like this, things that affect speed (like caching) are already heavily optimized so you can take that off your plate simply by employing a quality host. Inexpensive shared hosting sometimes seems like a decent option, but take into account that could be affecting your speed issues as well.
For more on optimizing your site for mobile, outside if speed optimization, head over to this page.
WordPress Plugins You Need for Speed Optimization
Lazy loading plugins will prioritize loading the images that appear at the top of your website when a user first lands on your page. Images farther down the page will load just before a user gets there, which will help to speed your site up when they first land on it. Here are some great Lazy Loading Plugins:
- BJ Lazy Load (free)
- Rocket Lazy Load (free)
- Unveil Lazy Load (free)
These are more plugins that will decrease the size of your image files, without sacrificing the quality of the image itself. This is an important practice to employ with every image on your site, as you could be wasting space just by uploading larger images that could easily be compressed. Here they are:
- WP Smush (free)
- EWWW Image Optimizer (free)
- WP Smush PRO (from $19/month)
Database Storage Optimization
WordPress will automatically hold onto clutter and store it in your database. By clearing this out you’ll notice an immediate decrease in load times. These are great options:
- Optimize Database after Deleting Revisions (free)
- Revision Control (free)
A Superior Tech Stack
The Pagely Managed WordPress hosting stack is built upon Amazon Web Services which helps us to leverage a near-infinite amount of resources and advanced tooling to scale, support and speed up your WordPress website.
One of the most important tools for speed is your content delivery network (CDN), which can literally slow things down if servers are physically too far away from a machine looking to load your site.
We’ve built our own called PressCDN, which is powered by backend providers that include MaxCDN. That means your static assets are served according to the provider which has the closest location to your site’s particular visitor. Since Pagely’s tech stack is built upon AWS, customers may request to be placed in any of 11 Amazon data centers. This means that no matter where your customers are, you can be located close to them which ensures faster load times. More specific details on how PressCDN will make your site fly here.
Another important aspect for speed, as we’ve touched on a few times already here, is caching. Since we love to build things over at Pagely, we’ve gone ahead and built our own tool for this called PressCACHE. It’s a global WordPress acceleration system available that works much like a CDN, but is specifically designed to cache and serve WordPress page output.
As the Facebook News Feed algorithm updates news hits, and you need to make fast adjustments to your site, let us email you a video walkthrough explaining our service and how we can help you right now. Contact us here to stay ahead of the Facebook News Feed algorithm updates.
“After making the switch, speed wise, our site became much faster and could handle more traffic– which increased by about 10-20% when we moved to Pagely. You can actually see in Google Analytics exactly when we started using the service.” Karoline Hassfurter – Communications Officer, UNICEF
Want more tips on getting the most out of Facebook? Read How to Use Facebook Debugger to Control How Your Site Looks on Facebook.