How many times have you seen this sign and left a website?
According to Google research, a 1-second delay in mobile load times can decrease conversion rates by 20%.
“Google Speed Update” on July 2018 declared page speed as a ranking factor for searches on mobile. This update will affect web pages that deliver the slow experience to its users.
If you want to increase your sales, you have to make your site load faster. Slow page load time can create a bad user experience, resulting in lower numbers of visitors and a high bounce rate.
But don’t panic… In this article, I will share with you some tools, tips, and tricks to help your website load faster and boost traffic and search engine rankings.
So, let’s start.
What is Page Speed?
Page Speed is the amount of time a web page takes to load. It is based on many factors such as website host server, page file size, and image size. We can further describe Page Speed in the following manner:-
Fully Loaded Page: It means how much time it takes for all the resources on a page to load. Time to First Byte (TTFB): It is the amount of time it takes for a page to initiate the loading process.
First Meaningful Paint/First Contextual Paint: It is the amount of time a web page takes to load its first fold or an interactive section.
Let’s understand all the 3 terms with the help of an example:-
If you land on a web page and get a white screen for a few seconds, that is Time to First Byte (TTFB). A page takes 10 seconds to load completely but it takes only 1.5 sec to load its first fold. Therefore, even though it takes 10 seconds for the page to load its all resources, a user still has something to engage with after 1.5 seconds. So to that user, your page is fast.
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Why Page Speed is Important for SEO?
A slow loading website can hurt your search engine rankings. An average mobile site takes 15 seconds to load whereas a desktop site takes load time of around 8-11 seconds.
Slow Google site speed creates a poor User experience and every second loses you, visitors and customers. It is crucial to understand the factors responsible for slow page speed and where you can improve things to speed it up. Here’s how you can do just that.
How to Check Your Website Speed? 1. Google Page-Speed Insights
Who can give you better insights on your webpage than Google?
Google site speed insight is the best tool to check the web page speed and is hosted as part of Google Developers. It offers a detailed description of how fast your site loads on both desktop and mobile.
It gives you suggestions to improve the load time, decrease file size and server calls in the sequence of low, medium and high priority. Therefore, it helps you decide which steps to take first. If you are technically-strong, you can also try Google’s Lighthouse tool to get a detailed analysis of areas to improve on your site.
The Pingdom is a third-party tool that offers a lot of insight into how to improve your site. It gives you a list of specific fixes that you can do to improve the speed and health of your site. Pingdom Page Speed Tool is free to use and you can check your site’s speed in 7 different predefined locations.
Quick Tip- For more accurate results, always check your page load time from locations that are nearest to your server.
3. WebPage Test
WebPage Test allows you to check your website’s loading time from different devices and from different server locations. You can also check and compare page load times on different browsers.
GTmetrix gives your webpage a letter grade to show how well it loads. You can also check YSlow score, fully loaded time, total page size and number of server requests. It allows you to set automatic alerts to get notified when your site begins to load at a speed below a specific threshold.
How to Optimize Your Site Speed?
1. Enable Gzip Compression
When a visitor hits your website a call is made to your server to transfer the requested files. The larger these files are the longer it’s going to take for them to get to your browser and display on the screen.
The process of Minify involves removal of unnecessary space or characters from the code. These spaces and characters add to the size of the file and increases page load time.
New-line character Whitespace characters Block delimiters Comments 3. Decrease the number of Redirects
Whenever you redirect a web page to another page, the user spends additional time waiting for the main page to load. It is so because it takes some time for the HTTP request-response cycle to complete.
Let’s understand it with the help of an example:-
If your mobile redirect pattern appears like this: “abc.com -> www.abc.com -> m.abc.com -> m.abc.com/home,” each of those two extra redirects makes your page load slower.
For example, if you are using jQuery for what is happening below the fold, then there is no need to load it in the first fold. Hence avoiding it where it is not needed helps in page speed optimization.
5. Leverage Browser Caching for Images, CSS and JS
Leverage browser caching means that you can specify how long the web browser can keep your Images, CSS and JSS. It helps in improving the loading time of your site as the user will now download less data while visiting your site.
You can add the following lines to your .htaccess file to enable it:-
You can modify a .htaccess file via FTP, or the File Manager in cPanel.
6. Improve Server Response Time
Improving server response time can reduce the amount of time it takes for a page to initiate the loading process or Time to First Byte.
It can be achieved in the following ways:-
Choosing the right host is very important for TTFB of your webpage. Managed hosting can prove to help improve TTFB. The location of your host server also matters. So, you must choose the site of a server that is close to your targeted traffic. For example, if the majority of your traffic comes from the United States, it would make sense to host your site in the United States, not India. Another factor is the scalability. Your hosting server must be scalable if you’re expecting high traffic to your site to improve its TTFB. 7. Use a Content Distribution Network (CDN)
Using CDN is important to improve your site’s performance. It functions by spreading the server load across a number of locations and enabling the nearest server to provide data to local users. The geographical distance makes the web page to load faster.
8. Optimizing images
Larger images are one of the most important factors that affect the website speed adversely. Therefore, you must ensure that they are in the right size and format. For example,
PNG format works best for infographics with < 16 colors. JPEG format works best for photographs.
Minifying images to optimum size without affecting the quality of an image is also crucial. Use CSS sprites to combine your images into 1 large image that loads all at once (results in lower HTTP requests) and then show only the sections you want to display.
This lowers the load time by not making visitors wait for multiple images to load.
Quick Summary Page Speed is the amount of time a web page takes to load. Ideally, the loading time of your website must be less than 3 seconds. A slow website can adversely affect your search engine rankings, user experience, and retention. To find the factors responsible for slow page speed, use tools such as GTmetrix, Google Page Insights, Webpage Test, etc. Optimize your WebPage by minifying codes, reducing image sizes, getting rid of unwanted scripts and redirects, leveraging caching and improving server response. The website host server is one of the important factors on which the site speed depends. So, choosing the right one is crucial.
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Hope you find this article useful. We would love to hear your feedback. If you have any questions regarding this topic, then do leave a comment below.
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