5 Reasons Why Your Site Should Have a Fast Page Speed

Page Speed | Blinkstream Web Development

Page speed for websites is more important than ever. With over 55% of web site users on mobile devices, page speed is key to keeping and engaging with your site visitors.

What is Page Speed?

There are a few terms we hear from clients, prospects and business owners revolving around how fast a web page loads. There are specific differences between some of these terms.

Page speed is often confused with “page load speed” and “site speed”. “Site speed” is actually the page speed for a sample of page views on a site. Page speed can be described as “page load time” (which is the time it takes to fully display the content on a specific page) or “time to first byte” (how long it takes for your browser to receive the first byte of information from the web server). Page Speed can be tested for any page with this page speed tool from Google

You can evaluate your page speed with Google’s PageSpeed Insights. PageSpeed Insights Speed Score incorporates data from CrUX (Chrome User Experience Report) and reports on two important speed metrics: First Contentful Paint (FCP) and DOMContentLoaded (DCL).

Everyone wants a fast web site rather than a slow one but, page load speed is more than just preference. Page load speed a key part performance, success and search-ability. Page load speed is a critical part of search and your ranking with the SERPs. Page load speed plays a key role in success with different conversions including:

  • purchases
  • generating leads
  • form conversions
  • engagement with online chat
  • and more

Page Speed Stats: Why Page Speed is Important

Page speed is critically important to user experience. Pages with a longer load time tend to have higher bounce rates and lower average time on page. Longer load times have also been shown to negatively affect conversions.

1. The longer a page takes to load, the higher the bounce rate will be. The higher the bounce rate the worse your rankings will be.

2. 1 in 4 visitors will abandon a site that takes too long to load.

3. 64% of online shoppers who are dissatisfied with their experience online will shop somewhere else next time.

4. Ecommerce shops will lose business with a 1 second delay causing up to a 16% loss in customer satisfaction.

5. 46% of users who were dissatisfied with their web experience won’t return.

Speed matters for your customer experience and success. Contact us to get a quote on a faster web site today.

Page Speed and SEO

For the last several years Google has indicated web site speed (and subsequently, page speed) is a key signal used by its algorithm to rank web sites and pages. Research has shown that Google may be measuring time to first byte as when evaluating page speed.

In addition, slow page speed means search engines can crawl fewer pages using their allocated crawl budget, and this is what could negatively impact the indexing of your pages and web site.

What You Can Do to Improve Page Speed for your Web Site

 

Enable compression

Use Gzip, a software application for file compression, to reduce the size of your CSS, HTML, and JavaScript files that are larger than 150 bytes.

Do not use gzip on image files. Instead, compress these in a program like Photoshop where you can retain control over the quality of the image. See “Optimize images” below.

Use a Content Distribution Network (CDN)

Content Distribution Networks (CDNs), also called content delivery networks. A CDN is a networks of servers that are used to distribute the load of delivering content. With a CDN, copies of your web site are stored in multiple, geographically diverse data centers so that users have faster and more reliable access to your site. Some popular CDN services available include:

  1. Cloudflare
  2. StackPath (Formerly MaxCDN)
  3. NitroPack
  4. KeyCDN

Optimize Images

Ensure your image files are as small as possible and that they are in the right file format (PNGs are generally better for graphics, while JPEGs are better for photographs) and that they are compressed for your web site. For WordPress sites there are a number of optimization plugins that can be implemented easily. Here are a few to check out for your web site.

  1. Smush
  2. Imagify
  3. EWWW Image Compression
  4. ShortPixel Image Optimizer

Minify CSS, JavaScript, and HTML

When your site’s code has been optimized (including removing spaces, commas, and other unnecessary characters), you can dramatically increase your page speed. Optimizing code also includes remove code comments, formatting, and unused code.

Some code optimizing tools include:

  1. WP SuperMinify
  2. Autoptimize
  3. WP Fastest Cache
  4. WP Total Cache
  5. Fast Velocity Minify

Google recommends using CSSNano

Reduce Redirects

Each time a page redirects to another page, your visitor faces additional time waiting for the HTTP request-response cycle to complete. For example, if your mobile redirect pattern looks like this: ‘website.com -> www.website.com -> m.website.com -> m.website.com/home,’ each of the two additional redirects makes your page load slower.

Remove Render-Blocking JavaScript

A recommendation from Google suggests avoiding and minimizing the use of blocking scripts and Javascript. Browsers build a DOM(Document Object Model) tree by parsing HTML before they can render a page. If your browser encounters a script during this process, it has to stop and execute the script and then go back to building the DOM tree.

Utilize Browser Caching

Web Browsers cache a lot of information when rendering pages. (stylesheets, images, JavaScript files, and more) This means when a visitor comes back to your site, the browser doesn’t have to reload the entire page.

Use a tool like GTMetrix and YSlow to see if you already have an expiration date set for your cache. Then set your “expires” header for how long you want that information to be cached. In many cases, unless your site design changes frequently, a year is a reasonable time period. Google has more information with their Caching checklist.

Improve Server Response Time

The amount of traffic your site receives affects your server response time. The resources each web page uses, the software your server uses, and the hosting solution you use also have an impact on your server response time.

To improve your server response time, look for performance bottlenecks like slow database queries, slow routing, or a lack of adequate memory and make adjustments to improve server performance. Optimal server response time is generally under 200ms. Improve your site ranking by optimizing your time to first byte.

Use CSS sprites to create a template for images that you use frequently on your site like buttons and icons. CSS sprites combine your images into one large image that loads all at once (which means fewer HTTP requests) and then display only the sections that you want to show. With this approach, you are saving load time by not making users wait for multiple images to load.

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