Tips for Speeding Up Your Website
You may not realize it, but the time it takes for your website to load can impact your SEO ranking and conversion rates. Consequently, it’s worth the effort to measure and assess your website speed on a regular basis. Luckily there are several free tools available online to help you do so. And keep in mind that improved website speed also impacts the user experience; customers will be more likely to visit your site when they don’t have to deal with errors and long delays in loading.
How is website speed measured?
Before diving into how to improve the speed of your website, it's helpful to review some web performance basics. Website speed, or website performance, is a measure of how quickly your website pages can load when a user navigates to your URL. It's important to think about website speed across multiple devices and networks; if you need to reach consumers on the go, you'll need to ensure your website is optimized for mobile performance and can quickly load in a variety of connectivity settings.
In addition to improving user experience, a fast website can actually bolster your Google SEO ranking. In fact, site performance is an important factor in Google's quality metric ratings, particularly on mobile devices. Multiple studies have also shown that having a fast, high performance website also improves your site's conversion rate (a metric capturing how many users make a purchase or complete your desired action).
Factors That Influence Website Speed
· Large File Sizes: Websites with lots of video content, high-definition images, and large files will generally take more time to load than “lighter” sites.
· Hosting Provider: The physical location of where your content is hosted can actually impact how quickly your website loads, or the network latency. Having more local hosting providers can reduce your load times.
How to Measure Your Website's Speed
Free website speed tests are readily available online. Many of these tools can even assess which elements may be slowing down performance, pointing to an easy fix. There are several high-quality website speed testing sites you can use, including Google PageSpeed Insights and Google Chrome DevTools.
Key Techniques to Improve Your Site's Performance
Your SEO optimization strategy should not only include detailed plans on keywords, bids, and content, but should also factor in page load times. Below are a few tips you can include in your SEO strategy to speed up your website's performance.
Optimize Your Image & Video Files
After checking your site's speed you may notice that large image files take the longest time to load on your page. In addition, video, audio or animation files can also bear bulky loads and cause delays. Tackle this by optimizing your images for web display. By simply saving the image in a different format, size, or resolution, you can quickly make huge savings in your page's loading time. You can find free image optimization services online.
Switch to a Content Delivery Network
Content delivery networks, or CDN's, allow you to improve website speed by reducing the amount of time data has to travel in between servers. Instead of having to access content from a server halfway across the world, CDNs serve as an intermediary host, allowing your website to more quickly transmit and receive the data it needs to load. While this is a more complex solution, switching to a CDN can facilitate huge decreases in load times.
Identify and Reduce the Amount of HTTP Requests Needed by Your Site
When someone visits your URL, the web browser they are using runs HTTP requests to deliver images, scripts, and CSS files. More requests mean longer loading times. You can use a speed test to identify components of your site with a high HTTP request ratio, then select a faster hosting solution (such as a CDN) that can reduce request time. In addition, you may be able to consolidate hosting locations, so that HTTP requests will not have to be made to multiple, various servers.
Utilize HTTP Caching
For many years web developers have been using browser caching to enhance website loading times. A browser cache is a temporary storage tool that saves data from recently visited sites, reducing the time it takes to load content. Web developers can use browser caching for elements that don't often change, such as forms and other elements. Your site's HTTP headers will contain browser caching codes that communicate with the host server. A web developer can help you learn more about this useful technology.
Reduce External Scripts on Your Site
External scripts are webpage elements that must be loaded from another site or system. This might include “comments” sections, buttons, lead-generation pop-ups, or other features. While some of these features may be an important element in your site, they can also reduce loading speed. The key is to determine the size of the script, then identify any ways in which the site can be reengineered to reduce delays. When left unchecked, external scripts can cause your site to shift, or not load all at one time.
Limit the Use of Redirects
If you've ever landed on a site only to be directed to a new page, you've experienced a redirect. While sometimes necessary, redirects can be a frustrating element that reduce performance. Speak with your web developer to learn more about alternatives to redirects.
Still looking for guidance on how to improve your site’s performance? Get in touch with our team for more tips, tricks, and proven optimization strategies.