After quality content, page speed is the most important website feature. But all too often people think that optimizing website speed at the time they create a website or blog is wasted effort. They couldn’t be any more wrong. As the popularity of your website expands, testing for page speed becomes absolutely imperative.
In a word, search engine rankings.While optimized website speed is important from a user’s perspective, search engines reward it with higher rankings because speed is critical for robots scanning a website. If a competitor’s website loads faster than yours it will take a better position ahead of you on the search engine results page. The performance of a website is important, but so too is increasing website load time speed. Regularly monitor your website load time and take necessary measures to increase the site speed.
According to Yahoo, 85% of web page load time is spent downloading the different components of the page (e.g. images, style sheets, and scripts). An HTTP request is multiplied when there are duplicate scripts in the code. Identify and remove these duplicate scripts.
The quickest way to improve site speed is to simplify your design.
Images often contain additional comments and use unnecessary colors. Make images as small as possible so that the browser does not have to resize them.
Use image editing tools to:
Minification, the process of removing all unnecessary characters from source code without changing its functionality, helps to reduce its size and improve load time.
Eliminate extra spaces, line breaks, and indentation in your code to keep your pages as lean as possible.
Minification tools available online include:
Your pages load faster with style sheet references added to the head of your HTML document because it allows the pages to gradually render the styles. Style sheets also improve page load time.
Browsers can only download two components per hostname at any given time. Adding your scripts towards the top blocks everything below during the initial page load, and gives the impression of the page loading slower.
To avoid this situation, place your style sheet at the beginning or <Head>of the HTML document and scripts references at the end, right before closing the <Body> tag.
When you visit a web page for the first time, your browser requests all the web page image files, CSS Scripts and Java files to load from the website’s server, taking up precious page load time. Caching your website saves these file resources to the browser, and the files can be retrieved from the cached files rather than downloading them again from the network.
Caching plugins permit you to publish static rather than dynamic HTML files, reducing the time a page takes to load. Additional caching features include minification, caching of feeds, Gzipping, and Content Delivery Network (CDN) support.
Compressing your website content will have a huge impact on reducing load times. Large pages with recurring high-quality content are slow to download. The best way to speed up the load time is to zip the pages, called compression. This saves bandwidth as well as the download time it takes to view your website. It’s biggest impact is on web page load time. Be sure to configure the server to return zipped content.
Avoiding redirects increases serving speed. Every time a 301 redirect is used, it forces the browser to a new URL which increases page-loading time. The solution? Check for broken links and fix them immediately.
A site that needs plugins may slow your web page loading speed. Too many plugins create safety issues, and often cause crashes.
Try to measure server performance after disabling the plugins. This way you can identify any plugins that hamper your site speed.
Web page speed is a metric that should not be ignored if you are concerned about providing the best user experience. You can examine and check website speed through free services like Google Site Speed Test and Pingdom.
Some sites may need formal text to make the web page look attractive. However, text in the form of an image takes up a lot of the web page size and is of no SEO benefit. Don’t use text styles in CSS and keep everything in text format in its place.
Optimizing your website loading speed is an essential task because search engines reward fast loading websites. Hopefully, these best practices will be of some help. What has or hasn’t worked for you? We would love to know. Contact us now to optimize your website!