Page speed

Last Updated in February 2021 by Lukasz Zelezny

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How to Improve Page Load Speed

If you are wondering what is page speed optimization, then here you go. The website speed is one of the first things that someone notices about your business. Thus, it is essential to understand that user experience depends on it and you should ensure that you are able to satisfy the users.  Low website speed can be a frustrating experience for the users and can even turn them off about your resource.

Page speed helps in determining the following factors

  • Duration for which visitors are staying on your website.
  • How many of such visitors are converting into paying customers?
  • How much you need to pay CPC basis in paid search.
  • What is your rank in organic search?
High – performing websites usually have these things in common:
  • Higher number of visits,
  • Lower bounce rates,
  • High conversions,
  • Good engagement rate,
  • High ranks in the organic search, and
  • Enhanced user experience

Websites that are slow will often cost you money as well as damage the reputation at the same time. By reducing the page load time, you can create a positive impact on the marketing and sales of your business. In addition, you will automatically get better traffic and attract more leads that can be converted to customers. Here in this article, we will talk about how to improve google page speed of your website as well as its performance.

Why is my website slow?

Conducted a site speed test and in case you found out that your load time is pretty slow, you need to improve the website page speed.

There could be a number of reasons as to why the site load time is lagging. This can be as a result of the server load time or image size or the number of redirects that you might have to do.

However, this issue can be resolved by taking a bunch of steps to improve the page speed. Before you start troubleshooting for improving the performance of your website, you need to have an understanding of what you are aiming for.

Conversion. Website conversion is crucial to ensuring business success. It involves getting the visitors to do what you want them to do. For example, making them buy your product, subscribe to the newsletters, register for a webinar, or download a guide.

Faster page loading speed means higher conversion rates. In a research conducted by Hubspot, it was found that one second delay results in 7% reduction in the conversions.

Visibility: The loading time of your website also determines how easily your users can search for your website. Google takes website speed into consideration when it comes to ranking the sites. A low performing website will offer poor user experience which can eventually result in less promotion on the search results.

Google also ranks the website basis these considerations for both mobile and desktop searches. This is done to ensure that the users whose have low performance and less responsive websites are viewed by people accordingly.

Usability. Similar to the load time, and responsiveness of the website, user requests can be an important factor to gain customer loyalty. Better website performance, means better customer satisfaction. Great user experience can help in building a large customer base and build a stronger brand name.

Thus, if you are wondering how to improve page load speed and optimize the speed of your website to an acceptable level, you will get a significant advantage over your competitors.

It is recommended that you analyse the website speed after every change in order to determine the actions that should be taken for better results. It can happen that at times you feel that a particular method will work best for you, but at the end of the day there is not much positive impact. Remain flexible when it comes to website optimization and choose the method accordingly.

Here are some of the performance evaluation tools that you can try out to check how to check page load speed:

●     Google Pagespeed InsightsIt is a free tool by Google that conducts a performance test for your website and gives recommendations on the ways you can increase its performance. It works well for both mobile and desktop versions. (Shenoy and Prabhu 2016????

●     PingdomThis tool also conducts speed testing on the website and offers a large number of other useful features as well. It helps in tracking the performance history of your website, provides recommendations based on the data and helps you understand how you can improve the website speed. It also generates reports regarding the same. You will also find apps related to website speed testing for both Android and iOS. It comes with both free and paid monitoring plans.

●     YSlowIt gives recommendations related to performance improvement of the website page, gives statistics, and also summarizes all components.

●     Performance Budget CalculatorThis is a free tool that helps in figuring out the different types of content that you can use to optimally run the website.

Metrics Concerning Page Speed

If you want to understand what is my page speed and how it can affect the performance, then here you go. Page speed can prove to be a complex factor, and if you want to overcome the issues related to the same, you will see a sudden improvement in your website’s performance.

There are several metrics concerned with the page speed which are as follows to understand how can page load time can be improved:

Load time:

It is used to define the time it takes for the entire website page to load in a browser window. In order to make this happen, it is essential that all the files and script need to be loaded along with the HTTP requests.

Page size

You need to define the total size of all the resources available on a page. These elements include the scripts, code elements, images, and other files.

This factor is used to measure the time between the first byte of the information returned by the server and the request page.

Round Trip Time (RTT)

It is the time taken to complete the information request. This counts the time that the browser starts to make the request, to the time it reaches the server. It also measures the response to return back to the browser.

Measures you can take to speed up your website

When you are done testing the website speed, you can initiate optimization on it. You can make your website work faster in several different ways that you can use if you are wondering how to speed up my website load time. Here are some of the steps that you can follow:

1. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

A Content Delivery Network involves a group of web servers that are distributed in different geographical locations. These provide content to the end users depending on their location. If you are hosting your website on a single server, the user’s requests will be sent to the same hardware.

Due to this, the time that is required to process every request increase. Not only this, the load time also increases as the users tend to be physically far from the server. With this network, the user requests get redirected to the closest server. Due to this, the content gets delivered to the user quickly and the website will work faster. Although this method can prove to be expensive, it is quite an effective way to optimize the load time.

2. Move your website to a better host

Hosting is possible in three different types including:

  • Shared hosting

It is one of the most popular types of hosting that is used across the world and cheapest as well. With this, you can get your site online in a short duration of time. For this, you need to choose a fast web host that will provide better optimization. With shared hosting, it becomes easier to share disk space, CPU, and RAM along with other sites that also use this server.

  • Virtual Private Servers (VPS) hosting

Virtual Private Servers are much faster than the other two options. With VPS, you can use multiple servers for distributing content. With VPS, you get the opportunity to share the server with other users and also have your own part of the virtual server whose configurations do not affect other clients. If in case your website is receiving average traffic or there are traffic spikes on your eCommerce site with traffic spikes in some periods, then using VPS can be an effective solution for you.

  • Dedicated server

This can be an expensive hosting option for using on your physical server. In this case, you are required to pay for the server rent and hire a system administrator for its maintenance.

You can also rent a dedicated cloud resource using AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google, or any other public cloud provider. You also combine both of these approaches into a hybrid cloud. By using dedicated servers, you will be able to ensure that all resources belong to you only and get a full control of it. The cloud infrastructures also add to unlimited and on-demand scalability under different packages.

By using serverless architecture, you can also remove the maintenance and set up procedures.

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    3. Optimize the size of images on your website

    One way to approach how to optimize my page speed is to use images that are eye-catching, as they play a crucial role in attracting the customers. Especially if you are running an eCommerce site, you need to make sure that the image quality is good. By using images and graphics on the product pages, you can easily improve engagement on your website. However, one downside of using images is that because images are generally large sized, they can reduce the speed of the website.

    One way in which you can reduce the size of the images without affecting its quality is by compressing them with the help of tools that would help with the same. This entire procedure can take a bit longer but at the end it will be worth it.

    Another way in which you can reduce the image size is to make use of HTML responsive images and adjust the size of the images depending on the display properties of the user.

    4. Reduce the number of plugins

    Plugins are used on every website to add specific features that are provided by third parties. However, adding more plugins can take up more resources that are required to run them. Due to this, the website can take a lot of time to load and as a result security issues might appear.

    As time passes, the plugins keep piling up which can affect its loading speed. In such a case, it is recommended that you delete the unnecessary ones from your website. The website speed depends on the number of installed plugins as well as their quality. You should avoid using plugins that load a lot of scripts and styles and generate a large number of database queries. It is recommended that you only keep the ones that are required and ensure that they remain updated.

    5. Minimize the number of JavaScript and CSS files

    If you have a lot of JavaScript and CSS files on your website, it can be one of the reasons why there are a large number of HTTP requests on your website from the users who want to access particular files.

    As these requests are considered individually by the visitor’s browser, they can slow down website page load time. So, it is recommended that you reduce the number of JavaScript and CSS files on your website to amp up its speed.

    One way to go about it is to group all the JavaScript together and all CSS files together. With this, the overall number of HTTP requests will also reduce. To do this, you can easily find several online tools to separate the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files quickly.

    6. Implement website caching

    If you see that there are a large number of users who want to access the page at the same time, then your server will work slowly and might require more time to load the web page for the user.

    By using caching, you can store the present version of your hosting website and use this version when your website is updated. With this, your web page won’t get rendered again and again for every single user. You do not require to send database requests every time to the cached web page.

    You need to select the approach to website caching depending on the platform where you are developing your website. If you are using VPS or a dedicated server, you can also make use of caching in your general settings. When it comes to shared servers, you won’t be able to use website caching. 

    7. Use Gzip Compression

    Gzip Compression can be used in size reduction of the files. Its main function is to minimize the HTTP requests and reduce server response time. This tool compresses files before you send them out.

    When the user side is concerned, a browser will unzip the files and present its content to the user. This method works well for all the existing files on your website.  Gzip can be enabled on your website by including a few lines of the code or using a utility called gzip.

    8. Optimizing database in CMS

    Database optimization can help in increasing the website performance. If you are using a CMS or content management system that includes complex plugins, then the database size will increase and your website will work slowly.

    For example, the WordPress CMS comes with options for comments, blogs, and other related information tends to occupy a lot of data storage. Each CMS comes with its own set of optimization measures along with specific plugins.

    9. Reducing the web fonts use

    Web fonts are commonly used in website design. However, using the web fonts can have a bad impact on the speed of the rendering page. This is because web fonts tend to add additional HTTP requests to the existing external resources.

    Here are some measures that you can take to reduce the size of web font traffic:

    • Use modern formats for the new browsers;
    • Include the character sets that are needed on your website;
    • Always choose not more than the required styles
    10. Analyse the 404 errors

    404 error indicates “Page is not found”. This message is provided by the hosting website to browsers or search engine when the content that is available on the accessed page no longer exists. For detecting and solving the404 error, you are required to use error detection plugins and tools.

    It would be better to run the resource through external tools for detecting errors as additional plugins might have a negative impact on your website speed.

    Once all the 404 errors are detected, you can assess the traffic that they generate. In case these dead links are unable to bring any visits and are not consuming the server resource, then you can plan to leave them as they are. If you see that there is still no traffic on your website, you can consider fixing the internal links and setting up redirects on the external links.

    11. Reduce redirects

    Website redirects can lead to the creation of additional HTTP requests which have a negative impact on the website performance. It is advised to keep these to a minimum or remove them completely. First, you need to identify all the redirects on your website page and run a site scan. After this, you are required to check if they are serving the desired purpose and leave the ones that are critical.

    12. Use prefetching techniques

    Prefetching is a common technique that involves reading and executing instructions before it is initiated by the user. It works well if you can analyse user actions and preload relatable content or links in advance. Usually, you will find this technique accessible in modern browsers by default. However, in most of the cases, UX specialists and engineers can understand user behaviour better and draw hints related to browsers to initiate prefetching work.

    Types of prefetching:

    DNS-prefetching: The approach is used to resolve domains into IP addresses in advance.

    Link Prefetching: If there is a specific link on your page that the users will use to navigate to some other page, then you can use this approach. This particular method is useful when you are looking for actions that involve a stable user journey, such as moving to the shopping cart page once one or several items are added in it.

    Prerendering: It involves rendering an entire page or a few elements in it in advance.

    While prefetching: This method is effective and involves deep analysis of user behaviour in order to make pin-point assumptions.

    Conclusion

    In the current scenario, a common user would expect the web page to load less than 3 seconds. In case you aren’t able to meet this expectation, it can be possible that you start losing a lot of website traffic, and as a result that would affect your revenue.

    So, for this we recommend that you proceed with this simple and effective for website speed optimization and determine how fast is my site or how to optimize web page load time:

    • Consider evaluating the key factors related to the success of your website, along with visibility, conversions, and usability.
    • Test speed of your current website and give priority to the pages and features that require more attention when it comes to the three factors mentioned above.
    • Take the optimization measures considering speed-reducing aspects of your website and keep a focus on the pages that will lead to website conversion success