Speed gives me what I need!
From SEO rankings to user experience, page speed optimization seems to be a part of every aspect that makes up a successful website. Investing time and resources into developing the optimal website speed plan is absolutely worth it. If done in the right way, speed optimization can help you expand your reach, increase your click-through rates, and lead to the major success of your website and business in the end.
Every aspect of digital marketing is equally important and if something is overlooked it can easily lead to a decreased ranking in search engines. And nobody wants that. Especially small new businesses.
Page speed officially became a part of the SEO team in 2010 when Google announced that it will become a ranking factor, pulling slow websites down the stairs.
SEO specialists immediately began to optimize their on-page elements in order to increase the speed of their page and in hopes of improving their search rankings. SEO experts who acted immediately were not disappointed.
In those days, web page speed was important only for conversions. But users have become, like search engines, much more sophisticated and expect only the best when surfing the net. The average user expects the page to load in less than 2 seconds! And even a one-second delay can reduce conversions by up to 7%.
In this article we are going to examine the following:
- What is page speed?
- How to speed up your website?
- What is a good average page load time?
- How can you check your website performance?
Let’s get to it.
What Is Page Speed?
What Is a Good Average Page Load Time?
A good average load time should be 100miliseconds. Which is less than 0.05 seconds. You know when someone says in a blink of an eye? That’s how fast your page load time should be. Users want it all and they want it now. We will now stop with the lyrics and musical references.
There has been research on this topic and is heavily correlated with the way our brains work. There is a part in the brain called the Occipital lobe that stores visual information as sensory memory.
And Google research suggests that page load should be in the blink of an eye because less than 0.05 seconds of load times bring an illusion of an instant load. So, for each blink of an eye a page load, because this time helps users maintain a seamless flow of thought and what’s more important they won’t get angry (like the red friend mentioned above), meaning they won’t get stressed. People already face enough stress every day, at least they can have a nice loaded web page.
You know what’s even more interesting? A typical user will spend a couple of more minutes on a website that has the ultimate page speed and irrelevant content (for them irrelevant) then wait a few more seconds for slow-loading pages with great content to respond.
Considering the fact that there are many, many websites in the sea of the Internet, users will most likely just go to another source and find the information somewhere else. This can sadly lead to potential customer losses.
But this makes perfect sense when you think about it. We live in a fast-paced world and it seems we are all afraid that we are somehow losing time or don’t have enough time. And another thing most people share is their lack of patience. People simply don’t like to wait.
Let’s illustrate this. Many countries have traffic lights at pedestrian crossings, with a small button on them that is supposed to turn the light to green (walk) much sooner.
People push the button and feel instant relief because they are in control of their environment. In fact, many of these magical buttons are just plants that serve as a calming decoy.
What did we learn from this? People want fast-loading pages.
Why Is Page Speed Important?
So, by now you probably have an idea why it definitely makes sense to improve your page speed.
One of the main reasons includes users. Potential clients/customers can get pretty frustrated if your site isn’t functioning smoothly. Furthermore in a world where everyone is competing to be on the first page users are probably already accustomed to web pages that have everything under control.
Meaning that if your webpage isn’t running smoothly and according to plan, potential customers might think your page isn’t relevant or serious enough.
Furthermore, it has a major role in boosting your search engine optimization (SEO) performance. Just like we mentioned before, there are many things that go into SEO optimization and one of them is page loading speed which is directly correlated to all the other aspects of SEO making a tight web. Get it? Web. Nevermind.
Moreover, a good user experience is one of Google’s key goals for its users. That’s why Google considers page speed as a ranking factor.
Another thing to definitely think about is to have a mobile version of your site! Phones are our own personal mini-computers and generation Z is pretty hooked on them so it’s not bad to have an optimized web page for phones.
Why Is My Website Slow?
You’ve run a site speed test and found your load time is too slow. Many things can have an impact on speed. It can be anything from image size to server load time to the number of redirects you have.
That means there are many steps you can take to improve page speed. Before you start troubleshooting to improve your website performance, you need to have something to aim for. As we mentioned, 100 milliseconds is considered a good load time, so why not make it your goal?
How Can I Speed up My Website?
Simply by optimizing it in an SEO-friendly way by optimizing images, CSS code, plugins, cache, and so on. Now we arrive at the real deal. Optimization.
We are going to cover the most common problems that websites have.
It’s no secret that larger image files take longer to load. That’s true on any electronic device even off the web. High-quality images that are large in size are hugely degrading page speed and therefore are frustrating visitors who are waiting for the page to load.
Appealing images are very important to any website so what can you do?
- Use JPGs only when high quality is a priority
- For logos, icons, illustrations, text, etc use PNG
- Avoid BMPs and TIFFs
- Match the width with your Web page template
- Use tools for image compression for larger files
- Don’t go overboard with images
Optimizing CSS and Delivery
Not everything is in decreasing in size. For the best speed optimized CSS delivery you can:
- Use fewer declarations and operations
- Don’t use browser-specific CSS hacks
- Use a lightweight and compact code
- Remove unused CSS
- Don’t use the @import call
- GZIP is a software app for file compression. Use GZIP compression to shrink your CSS file sizes larger than 50 KB.
- Reduce redirects
Use a Content Delivery Network
Content delivery network (CDN), also called content distribution network, is a network of servers that distributes the load of delivering content. When copies of your website are stored at multiple, geographically diverse data centers, users have faster and more reliable access to your website.
Have Fewer Plugins
Plugins can be quite attractive and have loads of great features like gravatar, font tools, and other fancy plugins. These plugins are usually included in themes for people that don’t want to be bothered with coding.
But they don’t contribute as much as they are weighing down your page speed. So it’s you should consider doing some of the codings manually for the best results.
Enhance Server Response Time
The software your server uses, the amount of traffic you receive, the resources each page uses, and the hosting solution you use affect your server response time.
To improve your server response time, look for performance bottlenecks such as slow routing, slow database quires, or a lack of adequate memory and fix them. Ideally, your server response time should be under 200ms.
Leverage Browser Caching
Browsers cache a lot of information so that when a visitor comes back to your site, the browser doesn’t have to reload the whole page. You can use a tool like YSlow to see if you already have an expiration date for your cache.
Then, set your “expires” header for how long you want the information to be cached. Unless your site design changes frequently, a year is often a reasonable time.
Accelerated mobile pages (AMP) is a project implemented by Google to help mobile pages load faster. It gives mobile users a more streamlined experience on mobile without unnecessary content and clunky features that don’t work well on mobile devices, making your mobile pages load almost instantly.
They don’t have much formatting. That helps them load quickly and deliver the content mobile users want to see. It’s a simplified version of the website allowing users to scroll between different stories without leaving the web page and clicking on the next.
This feature streamlines the user experience on mobile. It’s extremely effective at speeding up your site and reducing the likelihood that someone will leave when conducting mobile searches. That said, investing your time into AMP can increase your click-through rate from organic search.
AMP can significantly increase conversion rates and mobile speed, and reduce bounce rates, giving you an opportunity to score higher on search engine rankings.
How Can I Check My Website Performance?
There are many speed testing tools on the net, but we selected a few we think are the best out there. Regularly checking your website performance on some of the speed testing tools will keep you updated with SEO and UX.
Although Pingdom, unfortunately, isn’t free, it’s one of the best tools for checking your website speed and offers page speed monitoring for your site. The price ranges from $14.95 to $199 a month. But Pingdom regularly offers discounts. If you change your structure or content often, Pingdom is the right choice for you.
Google PageSpeed Insights
Google PageSpeed Insights is a free online tool that can help you find all the problems that are slowing down your site. Google PageSpeed Insights will also point out what you are doing right and what can be improved on your website.
GTMetrix is a fantastic online tool that will not only analyze the speed of your website but it will also provide you with the most important and detailed data information within a few seconds.
Sitespeed.me is another fantastic tool that will help you check your availability and page load speed across the globe. It will give you a detailed analysis of what issues you can resolve, you will find out what DNS resolution time is, and is a completely free tool.
Pagespeed will not only walk you through all the aspects when you get to their page but they also have a tool that will help you resolve all the potential problems your website might have. Pagespeed is also free.
The Bottom Line
Page speed optimization is definitely one of the most important aspects when it comes to the full optimization of your website. User experience is of vital importance because the people who are visiting your site are always potential customers.
And with first-time visitors, you only have one chance to get their attention and to get them interested in what you have to offer.
Remember to aim for smooth navigation through your website and make your potential customers stay on your page as pleasant as possible. Always have in mind that those are real people who are going through your site and that they have certain expectations of what a site should offer them.
Don’t lose the chance to impress a potential customer just because of your slow page speed. Optimize your web with these helpful tools and you won’t have to worry about a thing.