If there’s one thing that people hate when surfing the internet, it’s slow-loading websites. When they search on Google and click on the result, they expect the page to load fast. If it doesn’t, they’ll return to the result page and look for another website. It may not mean anything to the person who’s viewing the page but it’s a nightmare for the owner of the website. For the website owner, it means losing potential clients.
Just like internet users and website owners, Google dislikes slow-loading websites because it leads to poor user experience. If Google allows this to happen, users will be wasting their time waiting for pages to load. They’ll eventually look for a different search engine like Bing. When that happens, Google will lose its revenue flow from Google ads.
To prevent that from happening, Google makes sure that fast-loading websites are on top of its search result pages while those that load slowly are at the bottom of the list. Site speed has long been one of the factors that affect site ranking. If you want your website to appear on page 1 of Google, you need to improve its loading speed.
Page Speed and SEO
Simply put, page speed refers to how fast the content on your page loads. Various factors can affect your page’s loading speed including image compression, page file size, and the site’s server. Page speed is one of the factors used by Google’s algorithm to rank pages. If your page loads slowly then Google can only crawl a few pages within a specified time, which could have a negative effect on your website’s indexation. It’ll also lead to poor user experience and low conversions. As a rule of thumb, your website must load within 3 seconds to provide a good user experience and obtain higher search result rankings.
How to Test the speed of your website
There are different ways to measure the load speed of your page. Three of the most common ones are fully loaded page, time to first byte, and first meaningful paint. You can use go to gtmetrix.com and create a free account to test the speed of your website. You may also refer to Google’s PageSpeed Insights to evaluate your page speed.
How to Improve the Speed of Your Website
Use the Correct Hosting Solution
New website owners tend to go with the cheapest hosting option. That’s not a problem if you’re just starting but when your website gets more traffic, you need to consider upgrading your hosting solution.
The two hosting providers I recommend are:
Reduce Image Sizes
Given that images account for at least 50% of your page’s site, it’s important to make sure that the images in your website have the right size and file format. Having large images on your site means your server will work harder to load the media files. Since Google appreciates fast loading sites, using optimized images will make your website easier to crawl and index.
That’s why reducing the size of your image is essential. Smaller image sizes use less of your website’s disk space and bandwidth. It will make your pages lighter. Your server will communicate with your visitor’s browsers faster, and your content will load even faster. You’ll find various image compression plugins on the internet today.
But the top three ones you should consider using are:
Reduce HTTP Requests
Most of the web page load time is spent downloading different components of the page including scripts, images, and stylesheets. Your browser will send an HTTP request to a web server. One HTTP request is made for every component. So, if your page has a lot of components, it will take longer to render the page because it has more on-page components. If you’re looking for a plugin to help you minimize your page’s HTTP request, you should check out Autoptimize.
Use a cache plugin
Caching involves storing several copies of files or data in a cache or a temporary storage location so that they could be accessed faster. It’s where data for web browsers, servers, and software applications are saved temporarily so that users don’t have to download data each time to access an application or website.
The cached data includes scripts, files, and images that are stored on a device automatically when a user visits a website or opens an application for the first time. Caching your WordPress site can help it load two to four times faster.
You can use WordPress Super Cache for free or sign up for a premium account at WordPress Rocket.
Having a fast-loading website is essential. It may be a challenging undertaking but it will have a significant impact on your website’s overall performance.