How I got 100/100 Google Pagespeed score on my Anime Blog

How to get a high Google Speed score on a website.

A faster site is a must to achieve high conversions rate and a better user experience. Google PageSpeed Insights is the tool developed by Google to provide a speed index for a website. Google has focused a lot to guarantee a fluent and smooth experience to the users. In fact, the Google PageSpeed Insight constitutes a ranking factor in searching results. This post focuses the attention on how to achieve an high score on Google PageSpeed Insight for a WordPress website blog. The actions taken do not require coding knowledge and can be performed by even a new wordpress users.

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The Google PageSpeed Insight Score of my anime blog.

After a number of attempts, we managed to achieve a Google Pagespeed Score near to 100/100 on my anime blog (99/100 Lighthouse score actually). In general, a speed score above 85 is considered positive for reduced load times and increase the time spent by the users on  the page. Here below the test case for one of my anime review blog.

There are a least 3 main areas to concentrate on in order to improve the load time, first contentful paint and speed index of a website:

  • Get a performing hosting server for your website (in our website we use Cloudways).
  • Use a premium theme and reduce the number of plugin installed (you can check the most used WordPress themes in this page)
  • Use a cache plugin which allow to reduce the https requests, load times and minimize scripts.
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The value recorded by Google Pagespeed Insight for my anime blog

Get a performing hosting at low price.

The hosting servers your website is running on is a crucial point for improving the speed index of a website. In order not to waste time on the followig steps, it’s a good point to start from a solid basis from the hardware side.

In general, the most popular hosting companies (like Namecheap, Bluehost and Siteground) offer to their customers a shared hosting plan which comes at the cost between 5-20$/month till the promotional period come to an end. In fact, after the first period expires the prices tends to double to maintain the same hosting plan. Among the above mentioned companies, one of the most trusted is Siteground, in case you’re interested you can read an post about here.

What is the drawback of a shared hosting?

Shared hosting is a type of web hosting where a single physical server hosts multiple sites. Users each get a section of a server in which they can host their website files. Shared servers can hosts hundreds of users. Each customer using the shared hosting platform’s server has access to features like databases, monthly traffic, disk space, email accounts, FTP accounts and other add-ons offered by the host. System resources are shared on-demand by customers on the server, and each gets a percentage of everything from RAM and CPU, and other elements such as the single MySQL server, Apache server, and mail server.

The problems of shared hosting.

Even though shared hosting can appear as a cost-effective choice, a few performance related problems arise. In fact, whenever your website runs out of its ‘dedicated’ resources (which is likely to happen during the peak of traffic), the shared company will inform you that you have better upgrade your plan. In case you don’t upgrade your website-blog may appear as not available to the new users. In general, upgrading your shared-hosting plan may cause the price to double or even triplicate!

Get more speed with the same costs: Cloudways managed hosting.

A managed hosting solution is probably the best to achieve the minimum loading times and the lowest price. Managed hosting is when a hosting company handles the setup, administration, management, and support of a server and/or application. Management services vary from host to host but typically include OS updates and patching, 24/7/365 support, network infrastructure and hardware management, basic security measures including virus and spam protection, and monitoring and remediation of anything that could affect the performance of the server.

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Shared hosting vs Managed hosting to get 100/100 Google Pagespeed Score.

Let’s consider for example the basic plan of Siteground (you can check it here) and the basic one of Cloudways managed hosting (you can check it here, and starting a free trial).

The basic plan of Cloudways comes at the price of $10/month. The price is fixed and not subjected to rise after a promotional period. You can choose between multiple servers operators (Digital Ocean, Vultr, AWS, Linode ecc…). For the current example, let’s take Digital Ocean (the same that we’re using). The basic plan allows you to manage till 70’000 pageviews/month which is quite a high value for a small/medium website blog.

On the other hand, the basic plan of Siteground costs $3.99/month (during the first promotional period) while the full costs become $12.99 when the promo expires. In comparison with Cloudways, Siteground basic plan can handle only 10’000 visits/month and the loading times are much higher because of the shared hosting.

The benefits of Cloudways Managed Hosting.

Let’s look deeper what Cloudways Managed Hosting offers for the little price of $10/month. Cloudways proposes a number of feautures:

  • 1-Click launch for multiple apps (including WordPress, WooCommerce, and Magento).
  • Unlimited apps per server.
  • A choice of 5 top-notch cloud providers (AWS. Google Cloud, DigitalOcean, Linode & Vultr), all ready to launch in a single click.
  • Free SSL certificates.
  • Built-in CloudwaysCDN
  • High-performance stack for WordPress, WooCommerce and Magento
  • Pay-as-you-go pricing.
  • Built-in, free cache plugins for WordPress and Magento
  • 1-Click operations including server launch, server/app cloning, monitoring, and many more.
  • Dev-friendly staging environment.
  • Managed security and backups.
  • Effective team collaboration features.
  • Easy Github automation for developers.
  • Flexibility to scale server size.

As you may understand, Cloudways offers the same (or even more!) features available on the more commercial shared hosting. In case you want to try a free trial you can check this link.

Cloudways hosting is optimized for WordPress users and allows you to choose to the most suitable PHP version (also PHP 8 is available!).

The migration process is very easy and a step by step guide is reported here, but you can also ask the team of Cloudways to do it for you!

The second step to achieve 100/100 Google Pagespeed score: reduce plugins and javascripts.

After considering a top-performing hosting (like Cloudways hosting) you have to give a close look to your WordPress website. There are a lot of ways improving the users experience reducing the loading times of posts and pages. We’re gonna make it very simple.

Uninstall all the plugins you’re not using (or disable them).

Plugins add a lot of code (javascripts) which tends to overload the CPU of your servers. Each plugin makes a number of request increasing the blocking time and time to interactive in Google PageSpeed Insight stats. Try to limit the use of jQuery and store the Google Fonts locally. To improve the performances related to Google Fonts, you can use this plugin (OMGF – Host Google Fonts Locally).

Other plugins which are resource consuming.

Other plugins which are resource consuming are the datatables (for example used in Sporpress plugin) and the layer-slider feaures. Consider not using these elements if not strictly necessary.

Optimize your WordPress blog with Ezoic Leap.

Ezoic Leap is a very handy tool which is comes for free for Ezoic users. Ezoic Leap has helped my website blog to achieve an increadibly high score on Lighthouse/Google Page Speed Insight. With Ezoic Leap you can get ride of other specific plugins, it removes unnecessary and expensive tech including many options to make your site faster. You can register for free on Ezoic here.

Which features are necessary to improve the loading time of a WordPress blog?

Ezoic Leap covers the whole options to improve the website experience on your blog. The following features should be turned on to see your Google PageSpeed score to rise:

  • Optimize CSS (remove critical CSS)
  • Minify (it minifies Javascripts, CSS and HTML). Minification is crucial because it creates a smaller yet fast for server version of your file.
  • Optmize images reducing load times, serving and size by providing images in next gen format like WebP)
  • Static asset cache policy (this removes the warning about browser cache headers). Every time you visit a website, your browser stores downloads, such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript and images into the local cache. This makes it easy to load this website the next time it is accessed from the same browser. This reduces the delays that occur in the name of processing and rendering of the webpage.
  • Lazy load content and images

Ezoic Leap revealed to be a very powerful tool which solved me a lot of problem. First of all, I could remove the other premium cache plugins (like WP-Rocket) which are a substantial costs for very small website blog. To start using Ezoic (which is also appreciated for Ads serving since their ads give a higher revenue than Google Adsense), you have only to register your account and wait for your domain to be reviewed!

Ezoic platform provides excellent support and you can also ask the Ezoic team to setup the Ezoic Leap configuration for you!

You can test Ezoic at this page.

Speed up your website blog with a CDN and a free cache plugin.

A Content delivery network (CDN) is the transparent backbone of the Internet in charge of content delivery.

To understand why CDNs are so widely used, you first need to recognize the issue they’re designed to solve. Known as latency, it’s the annoying delay that occurs from the moment you request to load a web page to the moment its content actually appears onscreen.
Implement a CDN to speed up your website and get high google pagespeed score

Image taken from https://www.imperva.com/learn/performance/what-is-cdn-how-it-works/

That delay interval is affected by a number of factors, many being specific to a given web page. In all cases however, the delay duration is impacted by the physical distance between you and that website’s hosting server. To minimize the distance between the visitors and your website’s server, a CDN stores a cached version of its content in multiple geographical locations (a.k.a., points of presence, or PoPs). Each PoP contains a number of caching servers responsible for content delivery to visitors within its proximity.

Use a CDN to reduce loading time of a webpage.

One of the most famous CDN services is offered by Cloudfare. In case you’re interested in understanding why a CDN is useful for improving performance, reliability and to maintain the cost to low levels you can give a check to this article. In few words, a CDN provides a ‘cached’ version of your website to the visitor which assures a faster loading of the web page. Since the users experience gets better, also your Google Pagespeed Score will improve. Moreover, having a CDN enabled allows a better reliability and to reduce the bandwidth requests from the visitors (more requests = more bandwidth = more CPU resources).

Get the best CDN to boost your ranking on Google search.

Cloudways, which is very focused on the performance side without the need of too much technical knowledge offers the implementation of a CDN for as low as 1$/month addition. Cloudways CDN is based on Stackpath CDN which is a very performing one. The price is very competitive and gives the acces to 25 GB bandwidth which is quite enough for a small/medium website/blog. You can start a free trial and test Cloudways at this link.

How to easily setup a CDN to integrate with your WordPress site and get a better Google PageSpeed Score.

You may think that implementig a CDN could be difficult. In Cloudways, they’ve made it very simple. You have only to install their cache plugin Breeze. Breeze is a free, simple, powerful and user-friendly WordPress Caching Plugin developed by the Cloudways team. It offers various options to optimize WordPress performance at various levels. It works equally great with WordPress, WordPress with WooCommerce and WordPress Multisite.

The integration of the CDN with Breeze.

You can setup the CDN to work with your WordPress website in this page of the Breeze plugin. Setup-a-cdn-to-improve-google-rankingThere are also a number of performance features (as we discussed before) like CSS inline, GZIP compression, CSS and JSS (means javascripts) minifying and also the lazy-load option to speed up the page loading. You can see some of the available options on the figure below.

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Enable Varnish Cache to speed up your WordPress site up to 10x times.

Varnish cache is a web application accelerator also known as caching HTTP reverse proxy. It acts more like a middle man between your client (i.e. user) and your web server. That means, instead of your web server to directly listen to requests of specific contents all the time, Varnish will assume the responsibility.

How Varnish cache system works.

Once a request comes in for the first time, Varnish in PHP will direct it to the web server for an appropriate response. This response will be cached by Varnish in PHP before being sent to the client. Interestingly, any subsequent request for such content will just be served up directly from the Varnish cache instead of going straight to the web server. With this in place, your web application will be able to manage a huge number of concurrent requests from several users as the server will not even be started. This will result in a magical increase in performance for your application.

How to enable Varnish cache with Cloudways.

Cloudways servers and application come with the opportunity to include the Varnish cache with a single click. In fact, the Varnish cache is a part of the cache layer system offered by Cloudways hosting. You can use it freely and the costs are already included in the billing of your server (for example the $10/month we were talking about). You can enable the Varnish cache and boost your Google ranking by checking the following window. Get a free trial test of Cloudways platform at this link. how-to-enable-varnish-cache-to-improve-score

Summing things up: get a boost to your Google search ranking and to your speed in few steps.

In this post, we’ve tried to point out the essential point to increase your Google Pagespeed score and therefore your ranking on search results. As we already mentioned, Google tends to give a better ranking to the website which offer the best user experience. In general, user experience is related to low loading times, writing awesome and interesting content providing value to the Net.

The basic steps to improve your Lighthouse score.

  1. Use a reliable WordPress theme, better if it is a premium one because it is updated regularly and maintained with time. You can choose among a bunch of free and premium themes on the Envato market, one of the wider marketplace to buy themes and plugins. You can access Envato Marketplace here.
  2. Get rid of the plugins which are not useful. Use OMGF to store your Google Fonts locally.
  3. Get a faster and performing hosting like Cloudways. You can start a trial for free here.
  4. Install Breeze plugin and enalbe Varnish cache if using Cloudways. You can also decide to use the CDN (as we do in our website) to boost your ranking on Google.
  5. Use Ezoic Leap to further optimize your settings and speed up your page load. Ezoic is free to use, you have only to submit your website domain which will be reviewed by an expert. In case your website results to be compliant you can also start to monetize with Ezoic Ads (Ezoic is a premium partner of Google, so your revenue will at least double with Ezoic with respect to Google Adsense). As an Ezoic user, you can have free access to the Ezoic Leap tool. You can join Ezoic at this link.

Back to anime.

We hope that this article has been useful, since we received a number of requests about how to get a high rank on Google Pagespeed tool and to better rank on search results. In case you appreciated, please, share it. Now we come back to the main topic of our website blog: anime reviews and TCG cards. In case your’re wondering what anime to see tonight, get a glance to our related article (The Best Anime series you must see: 10+)

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