If your website is taking an eternity to load up a page, then you will be losing out on valuable business. In this guide, we’ll take a look at why site speed is so important, and what you can do to tune things up a little. Ready? Let’s kick things off straight away.
Why Page Speed Is Important
Ever since broadband Internet arrived, people have become very impatient when it comes to using the web. If you are of a certain age, you will remember the incredible length of time it used to take for a dial-up connection to load web pages onto your PC. But the problem is, those days are long gone. You have around three seconds to make a good impression online, and if that time is taken up mostly by a hanging web page, then your average customer will just go elsewhere. And that is going to affect your sales and, ultimately, your bottom line.
Speed & Search
One of Google’s main promises to its customers is that it wants to make the web faster. And, because of this, many SEO experts believe that speed will become one of the major areas that Google uses to rank your website. It is just one factor amongst many other quality indicators, but it is important. If you have a great looking website that ticks all the boxes but are let down by poor load times, it will affect you in the not-too-distant future. Check out Google’s PageSpeed Insights to find the improvements they are looking for.
Without getting technical, HTTP requests are necessary for communication between your website and the server. Every time somebody visits your site, there are thousands of minute conversations going on between it and your web host’s server. The result of which is what your visitor sees. If there are too many conversations going on, your site speed will slow. Yoast have a great guide to reducing those requests.
Every web host will claim that their service is fast, but it isn’t true, unfortunately, especially if you are using shared hosting. Shared hosting plans have a limited amount of resources available to them, so you can expect your speed to change at different times of the day. Also, when you have periods of increased traffic, the server will have to work harder, resulting in slower load times. Yahoo! have an interesting article worth reading that can explain things in more depth.
You need high-quality images to make your website look sharp, sophisticated, and professional. But they also cause problems. As SEO company WME point out, you can expect significant bottlenecks if you haven’t optimized your images properly. They recommend using tools such as ImageOptimizer.net.
Caching is a complex subject, but in general terms it exists to help your web server from having to do the same thing again and again when it loads your web page. Try using a cache plugin for your content management system of choice to help speed things up. If you use WordPress, for example, look at W3 Total Cache.
Hopefully, this has helped you understand how you can improve things. Feel free to share any other tips!