Having a great website is an essential part of running a successful business. It is one of the primary ways that consumers learn about and communicate with your organization, which is why it is so crucial that your site loads quickly.
Everyone has experienced a slow webpage before. It’s one of the most frustrating things about using the internet. When designing your website, you don’t want users to click away before your page finishes loading. They need to stay long enough to learn about your business and possibly become a customer.
Beyond user experience, having a slow page speed also affects your search engine ranking. Search engine optimization is vital for reaching a wider audience, and slow-loading pages can dramatically lower your ranking.
When users are leaving your page quickly, and your search ranking is low, you’re losing money. By improving your site speed, you can increase your bottom line and bring more traffic to your website. More traffic means more customers, which leads to higher profits.
What Is Page Speed?
Page speed refers to the amount of time it takes for a webpage to load. It can be determined by several different factors, including a site’s server, size of the page file, and image compression. There are three standard methods of measuring page speed, and each can be used as its own metric of user experience.
The first is the fully loaded page, which measures how long it takes for all resources on a page to load. This is the most straightforward method of gauging site speed, though it can be a little misleading. Users can still interact with and read content without having to load the entire page.
The time to the first byte refers to how long it takes for a page to start the loading process. When clicking a link, the white page that appears until the site begins to load is the time to the first byte.
The first meaningful paint or first contextual paint measures the amount of time it takes to load enough resources to read the content. This method better represents how users actually interact with pages, as they can read or consume content as it loads rather than waiting for the entire page to finish loading.
Instead of focusing on a single metric to measure your site speed, it is best to look at all three factors. Focus on improving the speed of every aspect of your website to get the most effective results.
Page Speed and SEO
It is widely known that page speed impacts your search engine ranking. Google considers loading time one of the most critical factors in ranking results. They place fast-loading pages higher in the results than slower pages.
Google also looks at all speed metrics. When trying to improve your SEO, you want to work on all three of the metrics mentioned above, as that is how Google will view your site. To get a better idea of your site’s loading time, use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. It measures your site speed and offers a report that includes ways to improve your loading time.
According to Google, more than half of visits are abandoned if a mobile page takes more than three seconds to load. When looking for answers, users want to find results quickly, and they care a lot about speed. That’s why Google values speed so highly as a ranking factor for both desktop and mobile searches.
When your page ranks higher in search results, you get more traffic to your site. Spending time and energy on improving your site speed allows you to reach a wider audience and bring in more customers.
How To Improve Your Site Speed
While it may seem complicated, improving your site speed is not as hard as it looks. It doesn’t require too much technical knowledge, and there are a lot of tools out there to help you. Here are six ways you can decrease your site’s loading time.
1. Compress images
Images take up a lot of space on a page, between fifty and ninety percent. The more space it takes up, the longer it takes to load. You can compress your images to make it easier for your page to load them fully.
There are a few different tools for image compression. Most use lossless compression or reduce the image quality so minimally that it’s barely noticeable. The WordPress plugin WP Smush Pro, Caesium, and Mass Image Compressor are all great options for image compression.
2. Clean and compress your code.
Bloated code takes more time to load. Clean code leads to fast loading, which is why it’s so important to ensure that your backend is easy for servers to process.
Go through your code, fix up inadequate development, and get rid of unused features. You may need some technical help here, but it’s worth it. Once you’re done, use programs like GZip to compress your code, making it easier for servers to process your page.
3. Upgrade your hosting server
If you use a public server host, your site speed could be suffering. Sharing the same server with millions of other websites puts a strain on the server’s resources and could lead to slow load times. If possible, upgrade to a premium hosting server or get a dedicated server for your site.
4. Activate browser caching
Browser caching allows users to store parts of your page in their browser cache. The next time they visit, the page will load much more quickly. Though this doesn’t help first-time visitors, it’s a great way to improve your speed for returning users.
5. Implement a CDN
A CDN is a content delivery network. Essentially, it figures out where a visitor is physically located and uses a server that’s close to them. Servers close to users typically load pages faster than those that are thousands of miles away.
6. Test your site speed
It’s essential to test your site speed with multiple tools. You want to have a good idea of how quickly your site loads for different users. The most basic test is to have people you know visit your site. Real-life user tests allow you to see how your site functions on different devices, servers, and networks in real-time. You can also see what your average visitor experience is like and gauge how you can improve your site overall.
Then, you can use tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights or WebPageTest.org. These methods offer a more technical glimpse into your site’s speed and help you figure out exactly where you need to improve your site.
Site speed is an essential factor in improving your search engine ranking. When your site ranks higher, you reach more users and bring more traffic to
your business. Putting time and effort into decreasing your site’s loading time can help you earn more money in the long run. Start improving your SEO and your bottom line by ensuring that your website is running quickly and smoothly.