If a website is slow, it spoils the users experience. The speed at which your page loads is important, as users will leave soon if your site hasn't responded within seconds.
Google says that the probability of a visitor leaving your site increases by 32% if your page load time goes from 1 second to 3.
Therefore, this increase becomes higher the longer your page takes to load.
Before we go any further in optimizing page speed, let's then talk about what exactly page speed is.
It's a measure of how fast all the elements on your page render.
These elements include your text, images, video as well as code. Sounds simple, right?
But your page's load time is affected by more than the elements on your page. Other factors could be to blame.
One example is slow server response time. We'll explore all of these variables as we go through this article.
How is page speed measured?
Here are three common ways to measure the speed at which your page loads:
A fully loaded page is the most direct way to measure how quickly your page loads.
This calculates how long it takes all of your page's content to load. For example, it may take 8 seconds for your page to completely render.
The time to first byte (TFFB) measures how long your page takes to start rendering the elements it contains.
It basically measures how long it takes for the page to load the first byte as its name implies.
There is no way to measure the speed of your page. Every way of measuring has its advantages, but also its disadvantages. So, it is essential that you optimize page speed and these metrics can point you in the right direction.
Why is speed so important?
In addition to losing valuable traffic, page speed has become an even bigger deal for sites seeking more organic visibility.
Your webpage loads very slowly. Visitors have a bad experience, they click away and may never come back.
Do you know who else is in the business of providing a great User Experience?
That's right, search engines like Google always want to provide the best possible experience for their users.
So what does it say when visitors click away from your web page because of snail-paced speeds?
Google may de-prioritize the display of your page to visitors because your bounce rates are very high and dwell times are low.
Optimizing page speed is so vital to providing a great user experience that Google now considers your web page's speed when ranking your content.
In short, fast page speeds improve the experience of visitors to your site. Furthermore, search engines reward you for providing a great user experience.
Tools for analyzing page speed
Knowing how important page load time is, analyzing it, and optimizing it are the logical next steps for anyone. Below are some great tools to help analyze speed load times:
- GT Metrix is a free tool that you can use to analyze your page speed. It uses Google PageSpeed and Yahoo rules to run speed analysis and offers actionable steps you can take to optimize your speed. GT Metrix also has a paid version.
- Google Page Insights is a Google tool that you can use to analyze page load speed. It automatically generates tips to improve the speed of your webpage.
- Pingdom is more than a page speed monitoring tool. They also offer website performance monitoring to prevent it from slowing down. Its speed tool tests the page load time and offers suggestions on how to increase its speed.
There are many other tools to use in web page speed analysis, but these should get you started!
Mobile Page Speed Optimization
No page load time article would be complete without focusing on an often overlooked area.
Mobile traffic accounts for half of all web traffic. Many internet users rely on their smartphones to access websites, watch videos, as well as send emails, contact companies and conduct business. Your phones are the hubs of your internet activity and access.
But the speed of the mobile page has not kept up with the increase in mobile traffic. It still takes up to 15 seconds to load the average cell page.
This number sounds reasonable until you realize that more than 50% of users click if a mobile page is taking longer than 3 seconds to render.
Half of all traffic to your website will leave if your page doesn't load in less than 3 seconds.
Slow moving pages are costing many sites valuable customers, revenue and traffic. Google says many mobile sites are bloated with unnecessary elements that slow down web page speeds and thus discourage users from sticking around.
Just optimizing the speed and size of your mobile pages has reduced bounce rates for many sites.
A good practice for improving mobile web page speed is to compress images and other visual elements on the page.
This will decrease the size of the web page and increase the speed at which the page loads.
Optimization to avoid a slow website
When it comes to page speed optimization, there is always room for improvement. These simple and actionable steps can bring your website up to speed in no time!
Large images contribute to slow load times. While large files may look extra crunchy, your site doesn't need to have images of 10MB or more.
These images will slow down the page they are on as it takes longer to render them.
You can use PNGs, GIFs, JPEGs and other image formats as long as they are clear, crisp and small.
Note that the display size of your image differs from the file size.
For example, your image might be 600 x 900 pixels in display size, but your file size might be 300kb. The file size is what you need to reduce.
If you have a wordpress site, Short Pixel is a good plugin that compresses images. You can use PhotoShop and Compress to reduce file size and cropping images.
Clean and shrink your code
Like images, your code also has a file size that can be shrunk and compressed to make rendering faster.
Clean up your code to greatly speed up web pages. Remove unnecessary characters (such as spaces and commas), code comments, and unused code to make your page faster.
Reduce page redirects to prevent your site from slowing down
A page redirect occurs when a visitor to your site clicks a link that redirects them to one or more locations before getting what they originally wanted.
Page redirects add unnecessary waiting time to your page speed. You should use page redirects sparingly to prevent visitors from clicking away.
Upgrade to premium hosting
This is one of the most important steps you can take to increase page load times.
You can implement all actionable steps in this guide, but if you are using shared hosting plans, your page speed will still be poor.
Your server's response time will be slow as it has to handle requests from millions of websites.
If you're serious about having instant page rendering time, it's time to upgrade your hosting to premium or even a dedicated server.
Enable browser caching to prevent your site from slowing down
Browser cache allows visitors to your website to store parts of your page in their browser (such as Chrome, Safari or Firefox).
This allows repeat visitors to your site to experience faster load times as their browser does not need to download all of your page elements.
While this has no effect on loading speed for new visitors, it is a great way to provide a good experience for existing traffic.
You can make use of a plugin if your site is built on WordPress CMS or enable caching via the server.
Before web browsers can fully render a page, they have to read and interpret your HTML code first.
If during this process the browser encounters a script, it will pause the page rendering and run the script.
Then it will load your page. This process increases the loading time of your web page.
For example, the script for your side banners can increase how long a browser takes to render the main content on your web page.
Page speed analysis tools like Google PageSpeed Insights show you the exact scripts that are causing your page to load slowly.
You can fix this by adding the script content directly into your HTML code so your browser loads the script only when needed.
This method works for optimizing single pages as well as small scripts.
An alternative is to postpone. This means that any non-vital script only loads after the browser has made more essential components.
Improve server response time to prevent your website from slowing down
Many things can affect server response time. Common examples include the amount of traffic you receive, server software as well as page resources and hosting solutions.
Google recommends having a server response time of 200 milliseconds. That is, if the server response time is longer than recommended, you can work to improve it by fixing things like slow routing, memory, and slow database queries.
Conclusion on slow website
Website optimization is important both for creating a great user experience for visitors and for how search engines rank your website.
Taking actionable steps outlined above to improve your page speed ensures that you don't lose traffic as well as revenue from that traffic and rank well on the organic search results page.
Are you having a challenge with the more technical side of optimizing your load time? With the Colors Agency, we guarantee much more than just an attractive look and a modern layout for your website.
Our main focus is to offer companies around the world effective solutions, that is, to generate visibility on the internet.
Our agency develops SEO strategies as well as brand positioning for multinational companies, large, medium and small, all projects are important to us.