How to increase your page speed (WPO), Accessibility and Technical SEO on Renaissance

I figured once we posted that upgraded to Renaissance and we managed to performance tune it to a perfect 800 (a perfect 100 on all categories of Google’s page speed, ada, SEO, and best practices) we’d get customers asking us how we did it :slight_smile:

Here’s the announcement thread:

How can you improve your CORE Web Vitals, Speed, and Best practices?

That is exactly what this specific forum: #websites:page-speed is for! (We have one for #websites:accessibility as well.

Ok let’s dig in (or at least get the conversation started).

But before I do, I want to set some expectations here.

Trying to get a perfect score on any web platform (even Renaissance which is the best in the world as a base) is next to impossible. It takes hundreds of hours of research, learning, tweaking, testing, retesting, etc. Those last 5 points (in all boxes) pretty much can’t be done unless you have REW doing the work AND you have a very large budget.

That being said - you do not NEED a perfect score (not even close!)

The goal of your web performance optimization, ADA, and SEO efforts (from a technical side) should be to ensure you are considerably better than everyone else in your market. Not perfect, that’s not your goal.

If I were suggest a realistic target for Renaissance website users I’d say these ranges are perfectly “fine” < you’ll be better than everyone else.

Mobile: 80-89, 95, 95, 95
Desktop: 90, 98, 95, 95

And if you really want to push it (and hire experts for the last mile) your goal for “really good” should be something like:

Mobile: 85-95, 100, 100, 100
Desktop: 90-95, 100, 100, 100

I know that’s not far off 100, but trust me when I tell you, the last 5 points can cost you tens of thousands of dollars in specialist time and honestly, you don’t NEED them.

Now, let’s talk about Renaissance as a base:

If you have Renaissance (which all Real Estate Webmastes customers should) then your “base” is already overkill (it does not get any better).

Here are the default stats: (We’ve already done all this work for you)

BUT - that’s the dev site, and in the real world, you will not score that high.


Four reasons:

1: Your content (this is the biggest issue by far)
2: Third-party scripts
3: Listings
4: Your customizations

There is actually a 100+ response thread where we did a deep dive into this which you can review here if you want to learn more on the why’s of this (but I will recap here as well).

Here’s that thread

Ok, so let’s get to it then shall we?

#1: Your content. If only people were more honest in breakups. They would say “It’s not me, it’s you!” :smiley:

That’s generally the issue with respect to why your web pages are slow. And listen, it’s not your fault. You’re a Realtor® not a web designer or developer, and you’re certainly not a WPO specialist.

But the fact of the matter is, the number one reason Realtor websites are slow is because of improperly optimized content they add to them.

This is things like

  • Too large/unoptimized images. (Your images should be optimized in WebP format and SUPER light).
  • Huge embedded videos. Never a good idea. /
  • Bad markup (improperly formed HTML, inline makeup copied from the web or Microsoft word yuck)

That sort of thing. So before you ask me "why is my website so slow. You already have your answer. Go resize your images into WebP (properly) and you’ve solved over half of your problem.

2: Third party scripts: Some of these are really helpful (like Google Tag Manager and Adwords conversion tracking), some are there because you might choose to use a third party chat, or FUB Pixel, that sort of thing, and some are just garbage where someone thought it would be a good idea to use some third party widget as opposed to properly coding something.

In any event, this is your second major culprit.

The necessary ones, you need to have (but we at REW can get quite sophisticated at programmatically handling these (example code screenshot below)

But as for the other ones.

  • That widget you thought was a good idea? Ditch it, whatever it is. It sucks.
  • FUB Pixel? Use the API, Zapier or something, don’t use the pixel it’s a huge performance hit.
  • Chat - I have never seen this effectively drive strong conversion compared to the performance hit. Get rid of it
  • Facebook / LinkedIn conversion tracking pixels? Just use REW CRM and a smart list instead to track conversions.

So before you ask me (again) why is my site so slow. Go ditch all the third-party scripts on the page first. 40% of your problem is gone (just these 2 things have solved 90% of most people’s problems).

3: Listings. This is a tough one. Listings MUST be on some pages (like community pages) to drive conversion. So my vote is to keep them. But it is third-party generated IDX content, and so it can be a bit heavy/unoptimized. My recommendation is to give them just a “taste” of listings (like 6 or so) don’t overload the page with like 12 or 20 listings. It doesn’t help conversion and it weighs down the page.

4: Customizations: Even though virtually all staff at Real Estate Webmasters have access to training and have some level of WPO / ADA expertise, it is a specialized skillset. The true “masters” of WPO / ADA at REW are less than 10. In general because WPO can be so expensive it is also not estimated on custom projects, as often times the WPO of customization would cost much more than the development of the feature itself.

So it is true that “sometimes” if you request certain customizations or direct your retainer team to modify the framework, it can reduce your page speed score. That is not a failing of the developer or the project, it simply means if you want a feature, you order a feature, if you want a WPO optimized feature, you must order that feature + WPO.

#4 is almost never your issue - I can virtually guarantee if you fix #1 and #2 (which you can generally do most of yourself) you’re going to be just fine.

For those of you wondering which things might be affecting your page speed - be sure you learn how to “comment out” code (such as tracking code)

This way you don’t have to delete it in order to restest, just wrap it in the commenting tags and Google will ignore it.

The syntax looks like this:

Screen Shot 2023-04-13 at 9.49.19 PM

Go to Google page speed - run your test (make a note of the result)

Then go find what you want to test against (like getting rid fo third party script) just comment it out, go back and retest.

This won’t work for images though (like in the hero) - no need to test that, If Page speed says they are too big, they are too big. Go WebP them.

Thanks for this post! I didn’t know about the WebP image format (egad, that will be a lot of work for me).
My site is failing the “Cumulative Layout Shift” test and I’m not sure whether that is within my power to adjust? (Content) Or do I need to talk to my account manager?

Depends on what is causing the CLS - that is quite an advanced metric (one I’d focus on last)

It typically is related to fonts (where the site is pre-loading and then the font is applied, creating that slight shift that you can see for a half second).

It can also be caused by other (client-added elements) loading and causing a bump to the content.

I would suggest you fix the images first - see where that gets you (a small CLS might drive you crazy, but you’re really not far off) - probably easy to fix in an hour or two of programming since your site is not very custom.

Also since you’re Real Estate Webmasters Family I bet we can get @hatzopoulos to toss you a few free tips here on the forums.

I just realized it’s been so long since we said goodbye (we miss you very much btw) a lot of the members won’t get this reference :slight_smile:

Gerry was one of the founding members of Real Estate Webmasters (employee side)

He was one of our leaders, and truly a credit to our success and growth.

He was also my roommate when we studied liberal studies aboard in Italy (sorry about that Gerrry lol)

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Thanks Morgan. I’m currently using the FUB pixel on my site. I was considering having a 1 way sync of FUB programmed so that I could use a 3rd party chat as well (I don’t think you can have FUB pixel and 3rd party chat together)??? I’m wondering if using the API or Zapier is a better more cost effective option for me? You also have me rethinking the chat now. It seems like most top teams have some form of live chat or AI chat on their sites…

Just use Zapier Brian, at your volume level, it costs almost nothing from an integration perspective (far cheaper than coding something) and you can set it up yourself. Let us know if you need some help with that.

As for the chat - if you have ISA’s and you’re “on it” it can be somewhat valuable on higher value internal pages, but I would not put it on my high value $ pages for SEO (top of the funnel) let users get engaged and registered first, then hit them with a chat on details pages if anything (note that would require custom coding currently as we don’t have that feature - but @Rebecca we should add that to the backlog! (User story is - ability to add code to “just details pages” or “blogs wide” or “search wide” Or any combination :slight_smile:

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Feel free to test out the theory though Brian. Lot’s of chats likely have a free trial (or no contract).

Pop it on there for a week, commit to engaging on it and see what you get back from it.

Would love to hear your feedback / results of the test if you do it :slight_smile:

Also remember - “perfect” is not required. If you have a 95, and you add a chat and it takes you to 90 (and that chat is brining huge value) WORTH IT! (As long as your still well ahead of your competitors.

But if you want the best of both words, we can actually do some tricky coding stuff such as time delay, on scroll or lazy lead for your chat scripts so that they do not impact your page speed times as much (or at all) <<< That’s the secret sauce, really hard stuff that makes REW engineering / WPO special)

But only do it if you NEED that thing on your site AND you have the budget to do it.

Most people just need to follow best practices to get to the 80’s and 90’s, they don’t need to go crazy.

For me team, just doing a review of some of our internal pages - need to move on the blogs next. (We haven’t optimized that part of the platform yet)

Should look at forums too

None of them are in the “poor” category but there is an LCP issue we need to address.

@AidanC @Moriah @hatzopoulos @Phil @MattPinneo

it’s fair enough to say change the format of your images but all images coming from the idx feed for our listings aren’t optimized to fit our site, nor are they usually labelled correctly.

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That was point #3 above.

Which is a why I said:

Listings. This is a tough one. Listings MUST be on some pages (like community pages) to drive conversion. So my vote is to keep them. But it is third-party generated IDX content, and so it can be a bit heavy/unoptimized. My recommendation is to give them just a “taste” of listings (like 6 or so) don’t overload the page with like 12 or 20 listings. It doesn’t help conversion and it weighs down the page.

You need listings on a page, and you can’t always control their size, optimization etc, but there are things you can do to mitigate their impact.

You “can” however optimize “your own” listings, and we recommend that you do so :slight_smile:

In the grand scheme of your score, you don’t lose a lot from just listings, so while they may stop you from being “perfect” if you fix what you can fix, you’ll still be golden