Version 1.0.6: New Website Performance Improvements

September 23rd, 2018

We just pushed out version 1.0.6 of Elevate, and we wanted to let you know what’s included.

In general, while Elevate for WordPress is marketed as a search engine optimization and performance enhancement suite, version 1.0 bit light on the performance enhancements when it came to launch. We could have spent another month working on those features, but made the decision to release the first version and slowly iterate from there.

Why is the speed of your website important? Well in terms of search ranking, Google (and likely other search engines) use the speed of your website as a metric for ranking. So in theory, all things considered, faster websites will rank higher than slower ones. So if you have 100 posts, you could spend your time going through each one and making incremental improvements to try and elevate the ranking on all of them, or you could simply make your website faster and achieve a better ranking on all of them.

Thankfully Elevate now lets you do both.

Elevate can now automatically configure Apache

Elevate can now automatically configure Apache

In terms of this version, a new feature was added to the configuration wizard to configure your web server. As one of the steps, Elevate will automatically configure Apache (the web server most of us use) so that it will perform optimally. Whenever possible, after Elevate configures it, Apache will compress assets such as Javascript and CSS to reduce size, and also will instruct browsers to store resources (such as images, PDFs, videos, etc.) locally, so they aren’t requested on each and every page load. Google likes adjustments like that, and will usually show a fairly significant Google Page Speed increase with just those two adjustments. Which technical people often know how to add features like this themselves, most typical blog users have no idea how they would modify a .htaccess file, so we’re pleased to announce that Elevate does it automatically now.

Configuring your CDN URL in Elevate

Configuring your CDN URL in Elevate

In addition, we’ve added some settings in the administration panel to configure a content delivery network (CDN) such as CloudFront. All you need to do is setup CloudFront, or whatever CDN you decide to use, and paste the URL into Elevate. Going forward it will automatically switch out the URLs for all your images in your posts, causing them to be served from your CDN and not your own website. If you don’t know what a CDN is, it’s a content deliver network which will store your content in various locations around the world to speed up the end-user experience. If someone from Japan contacts your website, the images will come from Japan, and not wherever your server may be – this results is a much faster experience, and also makes Google happy.

On one of our test websites (in fact this website, elevatewp.io), the Google Page Speed went from around 60 to over 80 just by making these changes, so hopefully other people see similar increases. To learn, visit our knowledge-base article on how to configure CloudFront with Elevate for WordPress.

In addition we added a large amount of data logging internally which we’ll be using shortly in the dashboard – we expect the 1.1 version, hopefully coming in the next few weeks, to be a pretty important and exciting upgrade.

If anyone encounters any issues with version 1.0.6, please don’t hesitate to contact us. The next few releases should start being exciting, so stay tuned. If you have any friends or co-workers who you think would be able to use Elevate, please point them to the main Elevate SEO for WordPress page.

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