Speed up Load Speed With This One Simple Step – Website Review

Stephanie K   88

Updated on December 23, 2019

No matter how great your website is, if your visitors can’t see it, there’s no point.

Today's website review is an extreme example of what can happen if you don't keep up best practices when creating and maintaining your website.

I know, I know. 'Keeping up best practices' sounds super boring. But it's also crucially important to the smooth running of your website.

In today's review video we’re looking at IME Natural Perfume.

For this e-commerce site, ignoring one simple principle means they’ve made it virtually impossible for visitors to get to their homepage, let alone to the checkout.


Is Your Website a Slow Loader?

Test 1: Open your site in an incognito window. This stops your browser from using cookies to load the site quicker than it does for new visitors.

Test 2: Run your website through a Speed Tester. Most are free, and offer a list of areas for improvement to make your site quicker. We've found Pingdom to be the most accurate.

Image Optimization Toolkit

Use PicMonkey to resize images to the size they’ll be shown your webpage.

If you have a Thrive Themes Theme you can use the built in Image Optimization function to compress your images.

If not, you can run your images through Kraken. Just select the Try Free Web Interface option.

Here's a closer look at the before and after of the we image compressed with Kraken.

Original 540x540 Image: 203KB

Compressed 540x540 Image: 46KB

As you can see there is almost no difference to the quality, but the file size has gone from 203KB to 46KB. That's a 78% reduction.

Make Conversion a Breeze

There's a drop off rate at each step a visitor has to take to get to your conversion goal.

Keep the steps limited, clear, and easy to follow. You want to make it as easy as possible for your visitor to convert.

Using too many visual cues and distractions can have the same drop off effect. You don't want your visitor to have to search to figure out how to buy from you.

This is why we recommend never using sliders, and why simple websites are better for conversions.

If you want to dig deeper in this topic, here you can learn how to reduce your site's load time by over 50%.

Did you find the review helpful? Do you have any websites you'd like us to review? Let us know in the comments below.​

by Stephanie K  December 16, 2016


Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. We only recommend products that we believe will add value to our readers.

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  • You guys are awesome. I get NUMEROUS emails from other companies, discussing this and that, and mostly they waste my time. But from a BUSINESS point of view (I am a businessman) your information is mostly INVALUABLE and TO THE POINT and I want to thank you for your input into my online life.

    Whoever is driving your company or is the person that oversees stuff – my respect to you !! I would actually PAY to receive your helpful emails and advice. (um, please don’t charge me)

    • Hmmmm this could be a new business plan… :p Good to hear that you’re enjoying all the helpful emails and advice. It’s something we strive for at Thrive so I’m glad you’re finding it useful.

  • Excellent review! I am in the process of setting up my own e-commerce site using Thrive Themes and I will definitely keep all of these tips in mind, so that I do not make these mistakes on my site.

    • Thanks for the addition Jason! Yeah there are a lot on the web, I think it’s just a matter of finding one that works for you, then making sure to stick with the same one to test each site improvement you make.

      Each speed tester gives slightly different results so when you’re testing if your sites speed had gotten better after some changes it’s best to just stick to the one you originally tested on.

  • Another great post/video. Thanks for the useful links too.

    Is it true that another reason a blog could be slow is due to the amount of plugins that are running on a site?

    Now that I’m using Thrive content, I will need to update my posts before getting rid of some plugins. Hopefully this will speed up my site too.

    Have you heard of Woo Rank? They offer a great tool for testing websites too.

    Once again, thanks for the useful post.

    • Hi Martin,

      Thanks for the comment, and you make a good point. There were a few other areas they could have improved but we focused on the biggest lever for the video.

      We did actually take a look at the plugins they were using with ‘what wp plugin is that’ –> http://whatwpthemeisthat.com/ but they weren’t using anything excessive. One of the issues we did notice though was that the site was loading many different sizes of the same image. This is most likely a Woo-Commerce issue but it was difficult to tell without access to the back end of the site.

  • Hannah, I haven’t finished the article yet, but just wanted to let you know I have two of your posts open in tabs “to read later” and I excitedly open every email of yours. It’s made me realise how refreshing it is to receive emails that truly DO give value and aren’t selling something at the end of every email. Thank you (and Thrive Themes)!

    • Hi Melissa,

      This always happens to me too. I can never just read one article on the Thrive blog, I always end up down the rabbit hole; 5 blogs deep on conversion optimization or website reviews… Glad to hear I’m not the only one!

  • That was so helpful and eye-opening. Who knew that something like this would have such an impact of website loading and perception. Thanks

    • Hi Christy,

      The worst part is most people don’t realize their site is loading so slow. Their browser makes use of the cookies from previous visits to make the site load quicker. Thanks for the comment.

  • Excellent review and appreciate the reminder not to upload 13000KB pictures.
    Quick question. Does the Thrive Themes optimizer do the same optimization as WP Smush or other products?

    • Hi Frank,

      I don’t know about any extra features WP Smush has, but at it’s core it’s an image optimizer so it does the same thing as the Thrive Themes Optimizer.

    • Hi Sandra,

      I would recommend hosting any videos on an external site such as YouTube or Wista and then embedding them through links so they appear on your website. This way the video file size does not effect the load time of your webpage.

    • Unfortunately not, it’s built into the Thrive Themes themselves. There are a few image optimization WP plugins, so if you want to optimize images from within the WP dashboard you can install one of those (such a WP Smush mentioned in the comments above). Hope that helps!

    • Hi Alison,

      That’s perfect. It’s good you found it actually, a lot of people don’t realize the themes have that feature.

  • Hi Stephanie
    Thank you for the great review. In light of Google’s “Mobile First” policy, having a fast load website is now more important then ever.

  • Great review. Another important point is that Google has started rolling out SEO penalties for slow loading sites, particularly when they load slowly for mobile.

  • I’m just in the process of optimizing my website images so your email is very timely. I have to agree with other comments here, the information packed into these emails is invaluable and appreciated. I’m using a thrive theme but didn’t realise it had an image optimizer built in. Thanks for the tip.

    • Hi Sharon,

      That was another reason I thought this post was pretty important, most people don’t know about the inbuilt image optimizer in the Thrive Themes.

      Thankfully it’s backwards compatible though. Once you turn it on if you go into your media library and view as a list you can see all the images that still need to be compressed and compress them with one click.

      Hope that makes the process a little easier.

  • Thank you Stephanie, I will follow your advise on my website.

    By the way, do you have any preferred hosting services that will boost speed?

    I have my site hosted with fastdomain (they belong to bluehost) in a shared server. It’s ok to start, but they don’t offer any upgrades. Now I have the issue of migrating my site. I tried changing to liquidweb but the migration process was a big headache and I couldn’t conclude it.

    Any recommendations to guarantee a great speed boost and upgrade options is welcome.



  • These are good points you make here and site speed is crucial, but in most cases when I run site speed tests on my sites, it’s theme related issues that cause the problems (well, at least I think they are – I’m no techy). Now, I’m assuming Thrive can actually do something about these but maybe they can’t. Anyway, the 4 main points that come up for slow site speed are 1. Leveraging browser caching, 2. Minifying CSS, 3 Minifying html and 4. Minifying Javascript. If it’s possible for Thrive to address these issues in their themes, then the sites would be super fast. As it is, they all fail these tests, which slows the load time.

    • Hi Aaron,

      Our themes do minify CSS and we avoid using Javascript at all, in most cases. However, it’s very common for various plugins to load their own CSS and JS, in addition to the theme’s. Caching is the only point we don’t address on the theme level, as that’s better handled by a plugin.

  • As always the thrivethemes Team did an excellent work. 2 litle hacks a can add to this subject when you test your page with google speedtest at https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ he will suggest you wich images have to be optimised and you can also download the optimthat youcised version from there.

    Then i saw that the shop is on woocommerce, they exist a plug-in that you can directly link to the product and product variation. so for this site directly link from the homepage to the product.

  • Hi great video with lots of informative tips. Thanks.
    Do you guys have any advice on the other areas of marketing? I use the Thrive landing pages and they are great, but I can’t seem to see if you do anything on the stages before that, e.g. ads on Facebook or other Social Media. It would be great if there was plug in (or even some tips) that build great ads for these and other areas before they get to a website and landing pages. I am struggling to draw traffic in…any advice would be welcomed. Keep up the great work!

  • Perfect and simple like your tutorial. Ready to apply.
    P. D. I renewed my full membership because of these free tutorials, explaining how to use in a better way Thrive Themes products, otherwise I would go elsewhere.

    • Hi Juan,

      That’s great to hear. That’s one of our main goals; to provide as much value as possible along with the products, so glad you’re finding it useful 🙂

    • Hi Jay, thank you for being such an active member. I’ve seen your comments quite a few times, it’s great to have regulars like yourself. We always appreciate the feedback!

    • Hi Sinjaroji,

      I use Photoshop too, but I thought I’d mention PicMonkey instead as a free alternative (the adobe suite can get a bit pricey). Thanks for the added tip though, if you already have Photoshop that’s definitely the way to go.

  • Hi Stephanie, thanks for the heads up on image sizes. I’m new to the world of blogs and websites so I’m a little confused on some of the information in your video so I have a few questions that I hope you can clear up please.

    You used a function of ‘inspect element’ at 2.42. Can you explain this process in a little more detail? I don’t know where I am looking to find the image size.

    Is 540 x 540 pixels the optimum accepted size of an image for a WordPress blog post?

    What is the best size for an image in KB that we must try to achieve? Is 50kb too big? Is 75kb too big? Is 100kb too big? Or are we actually trying to achieve the smallest kb possible?

    Do we resize and optimise our images before they are uploaded to our wordpress media file (with images stored in a file on our desktop and then uploaded to wordpress) or do we do this resizing and optimisation within the wordpress site? I ask this because plugins such as WPSmushIt can also slow a site down so I am looking for best advise on using the best process to increase speed overall.


    • Hi Steve,

      Welcome to the world of blogging 🙂 For more details on how to use the inspect element function Shane goes into a fair amount of detail in this video: https://thrivethemes.com/image-background-lp/

      As for the acceptable size, it depends what the image is being used for. If it is a complex design, an infographic or you want people to be able to download or expand the image you will need a higher size.

      If it is just an accompanying image for a blog post then you should be fine with using the inspect element strategy to determine the max size it will be displayed at and keeping it at that.

      You don’t need to shoot for a specific file size. As long as the image is at the correct dimensions (the max size it will be shown on your site) and it has been optimized, you should be fine in terms of file size.

      If overall speed is your concern I would suggest using Kraken.io (linked in the blog post) or the built in Optimizer if you happen to have a Thrive Themes Theme installed.

      The workflow for uploading an image while using Kraken to optimize them is as follows:
      1. Determine your images max display size on your website (using inspect element on similar purposed images on your site)
      2. Resize your new image to that size using a photo editing program like PicMonkey or Photoshop
      3. Run the image through Kraken.io to optimize it, download the optimized image it produces
      4. Upload the optimized image to your WordPress site (using the media library function)

      This is if you don’t have a Thrive Themes theme and you don’t want to install a image optimizer plugin on your WordPress site. The steps are a bit of a run around but you get into a routine pretty quickly.

      Hope that answers your questions Steve. Let me know if you need clarification on anything.

  • Great Information, I learned from youtube that Using Jetpack also increase the speed of website. Because it moves the images of wordpress.org to wordpress.com blog and So it really loads faster.

    I had just set up my new website and Installed Thrive Focus Blog and Content Builder. I’m just fall in love with Thrive. Worth every penny!

  • Holy Moly!! I had no idea my site was running that slow!! That is insane. Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention. I’d love to say that I have the site under control, but given I am so far from being a web developer, I find it really hard to keep up.
    I love Thrive themes for its simplicity and easy to follow informative videos and sincerely appreciate you taking the time to help with this issue. I haven’t made the changes yet, but will aim to do this ASAP!
    Thanks Stephanie, fingers crossed I can implement the changes well. Tonia xx

    • Hi Tonia, thanks for commenting! You’re right, it’s a massive pain to change over now, but will definitely help the business in the long run. Hopefully the steps in the post make it a bit easier 🙂

  • Hi. Great article as usual from the Thrive team! I’ve noticed my site is slow to respond and yet as I’m a Thrive Member I’m pretty much 100% Thrive powered (except for the odd security and SEO plugin).

    What do you think could be the reason for my problems? The site is http://purposefulpeople.net/ and a sample blog page could be http://purposefulpeople.net/productivity-problem/

    Thanks again for a good article – and look forward to any insight you can shed!

  • Thanks Stephanie- very interesting and enlightening.
    Nice to see an Australian connection with Thrive Themes.
    Were you kind enough to make them aware of their site’s shortcomings?

    • Hi Ian,

      We sure did, she actually comment about 3 comments up from yours 🙂 and is working on improving the speed as we speak.

  • Hi Stephanie! Great article thanks! What about youtube upload on thrive. This direct upload drives Thrive websites crazy in slowing down. Any suggestions or can write article about it? Emile

    • Hi Emile,

      Not sure what you mean with “direct upload”?
      You should always upload videos on Youtube (never on your own server or site) and then use the video embed element to add the video to your site. This will not slow your site down.

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