What Is Page Speed?
One of the metrics used by search engines to rank websites is “Page Speed”. How fast your site pages loads determine how high you will go when it comes to ranks.
According to Google, your website content should load within 3 sec at most. 53% of visitors will abandon your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. If you are doing SEO for your website/blog, increasing your page speed is definitely one thing you must invest in too.
You have everything to gain if you do, and you have a lot to lose if you don’t.
In this article, we will talk about the following things:
- Why Website Speed need to be optimized.
- How to check your website speed.
- Things that slows down your website.
- Steps to boosting your site page speed.
- Image optimization (alt tags) [Texts should load before images] and tools.
- Videos optimization (host on another site).
- Caching the browser
- Using cloudflare
- Uninstall plugins you are not using
- Benefits of a website with good page speed.
- Final note.
Now let’s take the ride!
WHY WEBSITE SPEED NEED TO BE OPTIMIZED?
According to Google, site speed is one of the metrics used to rank websites on SERP (Search engine result pages). Even if every other parts of your SEO strategy is working well, if you exclude this one, it will have a grave impact on your SEO.
Why? Did you seriously ask why? Who likes an exotic car that moves slowly? Personally, I like my car sexy and very fast. Readers have unlimited access to other websites on the internet if yours is taking forever to load.
Let me break your heart, for readers, ‘forever’ starts from 3secs. Once your blogs start taking forever, vooooom! off they go. And what does this do; it increases your bounce rate.
And? Ok, google reads this as: “Damn, see the way people are leaving this website almost immediately they come in, it must contain shitty content that is of no use”.
Aside this, slow websites negatively affects the experience of readers. Everyone on the internet is impatient, whatever information they require, they want it fast.
This is exactly what Google and other search engines hope to do, by making sure sites that take a lot of time to load are not ranked high, regardless of how great the content therein is.
HOW TO CHECK YOUR PAGE- SPEED.
There are numerous tools out there that you can use, but personally, I use only two of the many. And that’s what I will recommend to you. Pingdom and Google Pagespeed Insight are free to use and they give you deep insights on the things making your website slow and how you can work on it to improve it.
Just type in the url of the website you want to assess, and it will be done.
Google pagespeed in particular segments the result into two; Desktop and Mobile. The speed score for mobile is often different from that of desktop.
THINGS THAT CAN SLOW DOWN YOUR WEBSITE
There are a number of things that may slow down your website. Some may be as light as the shell on a snail while some may be as heavy as that on a tortoise.
All the same, the bottom-line is that they slow down your website even though some slows it down to a greater extent than the others.
Things that may slow down your website are;
- Large, unoptimized media files (images, audios, videos, etc.).
- Too many unnecessary redirects.
- Too many HTTP requests.
- Poor server performance.
- Badly written codes.
- Location of server.
- Increased traffic.
- Too many plugins.
DO THESE TO BOOST YOUR SITE’S PAGESPEED
Statistically, it has been proved that, websites that take more than 3 seconds to load is considered slow and will lose 85% of new visitors. That is a huge loss you don’t wanna experience.
Interestingly, a lot of factors are involved when it comes to pagespeed, handling each of them, one at a time, will definitely go a long way in improving your site load time.
Let’s dive in already!
- CHOOSE A GOOD HOSTING PLAN
This is essentially crucial but, most new and upcoming bloggers can’t really avoid this. Most of us started our blogs with a low budget, the only thing some of us fully possessed was the ‘Knowledge’ and ‘Passion’.
Understandably, we seriously lacked the other resources, especially finance, needed to start excellently. That is why we settled for SHARED HOSTING. Though, at the initial stage, this may not have any effect on your blog.
But, if your dream is just like mine, to have many people (traffic) troop in to my blog on a daily basis, then this may be a very bad option for you.
By the way, let me tell you what shared hosting means in simple terms. Once you opt for shared hosting, you and some other blogs or websites using shared hosting are put on the same web server and share the same resources.
Illustratively, think of the web server as an apartment and the numerous websites as the tenants having rooms in the apartments.
Unfortunately, the downside to this is that you all have to share the available limited resources. If the traffic of the websites increase and they are all sending numerous requests to the server at the same time, these requests will be queued and attended to on first-come-first-serve basis.
For instance, in a shop where customers are being attended to, as the number of customers increase, the slower the service becomes because the numbers of workers to attend to them have not increased.
Honestly, if you can avoid shared hosting, please do. But if you can’t, at least patronize hosting companies with higher uptime (99.97%). Examples are: iPage-99.70% Uptime ($2/month), InMotion Hosting-99.97% Uptime ($2.95/month), Bluehost- 99.98% Uptime ($3.94/month).
- USE CDN LIKE CLOUDFLARE
Apart from shared hosting, the location where your server is located can actually affect your site load time.
Data travels, but very fast. For example, when sending a file from a phone to another using Bluetooth, the closer the phones, the faster it receives.
Same thing applies to the server, since browsers request for these data from the server, the closer they are (i.e. Browser and the Server), the faster the data gets delivered.
A server located in Nigeria will be fast if requests are made within Nigeria, but if the request is from USA, the data will have to travel across the Atlantic Ocean before it gets there.
Fortunately, with the advent of CDNs (Content Delivery Network), your web content can be distributed across different servers all over the world.
With this, once a request is made, the server closest to where the request is coming from supplies the required data.
CloudFlare is one CDN that can be used suitably for this purpose. It’s very simple, just create an account for free and link it to your website, then you are good to go.
- OPTIMIZE MEDIA FILES
Even if you are hosted on a dedicated web server, large media files can slow down your website. Of a truth, this is because extra time is required to load these media files, depending on how large it is.
One way around this issue is to make sure all media files are optimized and compressed. Images, Audios and Videos should be optimized and compressed before being uploaded.
I have written on how to optimize images, how to optimize videos and audios. Check them out to see the steps in details.
- WEB CACHING TECHNIQUES
Caching simply means storing the files of a web page in a place other than the server (e.g. the browser), so that it is gotten back when it is needed without having to send a new request to the server.
This method saves a lot of time because it reduces the number of HTTP requests being sent to the server, therefore reducing the pressure on it.
As a matter fact of fact, it is essential for websites to enable caching for an improved users’ experience.
Since many websites are hosted with WordPress, plugins like W3 Total Cache is a great tool to accomplish this feat.
Definitely, this is very technical and can hardly be done by a layman. Think of it this way, when programmers are writing their codes, they like to write in a neatly arranged pattern for easy readability but this can be too bulky.
By that, I mean, the extra spaces present in the codes can be an extra load that will increase the time spent implementing it.
WP Rocket is a plugin that can be used to combine and asynchronize.
- OTHER THINGS THAT CAN BE DONE.
- Deactivate and delete the plugins that are not being used.
- As your traffic increases, make sure your bandwidth is big enough to contain them.
- Avoid plugins that burden your site too much but does little work.
Site speed is a metric used for ranking websites by search engines that is usually overlooked.
Many online users are getting impatient and want information accessible in a light speed manner, hence, the need to make sure your site is meeting this standard can never be over emphasized.
As it is today, a 1-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. Why not prevent that from happening?
Is there something else I’m missing? Please let me know!