In a recent google search update, the importance of page speed was increased. Now sites that load slowly on both desktop or mobile will be penalized. Now, the question of how to improve website load time is more important than ever. If you can improve website load times it will have an effect on your SEO and organic search traffic. Having a team that can help you to optimize your site and improve your rankings is the best way to do it, but if you're a do it yourselfer this guide should help.
So far, the results have been making a difference in improving the indexability of our content and helping us to rank better for important keywords. Without these improvements, you may have never found us or our content.
Why it Matters
You may not realize it, but slow page load times are costing you money. There's a lot that goes into google rankings, but website load time a big one.
Think about all of the people who aren't seeing your site because of low rankings. How many people click away from your site because a 3 second load time seems like an eternity on the internet. How many people aren't seeing your great company because your competitor's load time was 0.5 seconds faster than yours.
Typically, you want you page load time to be under 2 seconds. Obviously, the faster the better because a. Even a 1 second delay in you website load time can end up costing you millions in revenue.
How to Test Page Load Speeds
Google has an awesome utility called Google PageSpeed Insights which helps developers to test their page load speed and gives you tips on how to improve website load time.
When you first get to the utility you will be greeted with a screen asking you to enter a page URL. Enter your website URL here and click analyze. The tool will automatically begin scanning your website and generate a report for you!
As you can see, our site AfficacyMarketing is scoring at an 87 out of 100 which is not bad, but there is definitely room to improve. The biggest impact on the loading time is in the Speed Index which is how quickly the content on the page becomes visible. If we scroll down a little we will see the Opportunity section which tells us where we have room to improve and gives us advice on how to achieve better speeds.
For our site, it is telling us that we should reduce initial server response time. This is a technical aspect and has to do with hosting. After making a few adjustments and running the tool again we can see that we now have a higher score of 96 out of 100.
How to Improve Website Load Time
Improving page load speeds can be an overwhelming process, but by following the tips that the google utility gives you is a great place to start. Keep reading for some more in depth information, or scroll to the bottom and fill out the form if you want a free consultation about how we can help improve your website load times.
It's important to understand that not everybody visits the same sites as you. I bring this up because browsers will load frequently visited sites faster than new ones. This is called caching. Caching may be a huge reason why your site loads quickly for you, yet you're still getting slower load times when others visit.
One great tool that can help you get a real test on how quickly your site is loading is Word Press' speed test.
You've probably heard a lot about different plugins that you can use that can assist you with caching and improve your page load times. These can be a great tool if you use them correctly.
Just remember that if you're going to use these, make sure you're only using one at a time. Attempting to use more than one caching plugin simultaneously may create unwanted conflicts and actually impede your website load times.
Using Optimized Images
Basic SEO research will tell you that using images on your website will improve traffic to your site. What you might not realize is that these can slow down you website load time if you aren't using optimized images, which will ultimately hurt your rankings. So how do you prevent this? How do you use optimized images?
You just need to know what type of image to upload. Images come in PNG and JPEG files. So what's the difference, and why does it matter?
PNG files take up a whole lot more space on a site than JPEGs, and so they take longer to load. So use JPEG, right? Maybe not. PNGs are more detailed and generally have a higher quality than JPEGs. So using PNGs is definitely better. Right? Not necessarily.
If the image you want to use has a lot of different colors and details that may slow the overall page load time, use a JPEG. In most instances, JPEGs are likely going to be the file of choice.
But maybe you want to show off the quality of an image, and a PNG just does a better job of that. If you need that quality, and the image isn't quite as detailed, then a PNG might be just fine. Just to use a TinyPNG Optimized file.
If all you care about is speed, then you'll likely want to use Photoshop Optimized JPEGs. In the end, it's up to you. Just make sure to always speed test it to make sure you have an optimized image that is actually helping your page load times.
There are a few different tools that will help you create optimized images. Consider these ones if you want to make the best quality optimized images for your site.