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Website speed is an often overlooked priority for search engine optimization (SEO). While it may be obvious that if your page takes a long time to load, that might be frustrating to your website visitors. What you may not be aware is that Google punishes your search engine rankings if your website, as they announced a few years ago.

If you have a Google account, you can try their PageSpeed Insights tool, but really you want to make sure your page always loads in less than 1 second; you want to be measuring your website response time in milliseconds (ms), specifically the time to first byte or TTFB. Pingdom’s Website Speed Test will provide you a good breakdown on response times.

If you’re using WordPress, plugins are important here. Use as few plugins as possible, as some can drastically slow your website down. That being said, it’s worth checking out a couple of their cache plugins (W3 Total Cache or Super Cache), but you should only use one cache plugin, as using more than one can create conflicts.

You should also consider a 3rd party provider like Cloudflare. The disadvantage of using Cloudflare, is you have to change your DNS name server settings, which takes access and technical skills, not to mention Cloudflare now knows and logs every visitor to your website, if privacy is important.

Otherwise, Cloudflare offers a free option, and includes transport layer security (TLS) for free as well, likely speeding up your website a lot and offering a secure way to access your website.