Many clients often ask how can their website speed improve. Some clients view their SEO reports and notice site speed is of significant importance.
Unfortunately, when it comes to improving website speed, there is no single solution. Instead, several areas require attention to enhance your site speed. Let's explore some of these areas and first understand why site speed is so critical.
Why is Website Speed Important?
When considering website speed, there are two main areas of focus. Both of these areas impact your conversions and lead generation, which is essential for any business.
People don't like waiting. We live in a world where we want things instantly, and this holds true when we want information from a website.
People want immediate replies to their questions, and as the internet has become faster, our expectation has increased. More than 40% of viewers will leave a website if a page does not load within 30 seconds.
Google's algorithms strongly favor fast websites. This is because Google wants to provide people who use their search engine with the best user experience. The objective of a responsive website is to provide relevant information for the user that is easy to understand and in the quickest time.
So a slow website provides a poor experience, and therefore Google is unlikely to rank this in search, meaning you will miss out on lots of potential visitors.
So what can we do to speed up a website?
There are several things that a web development provider can suggest to enhance the speed of a website.
Test your page speed
Always establish benchmarks for your website, find out how fast the current load time is. Performing page speed tests using specific responsive web design tools makes it possible to confirm your website's current load times.
After several tests on several pages, it is possible to determine the average speed for your website and look at improving this time. Ideally, the website load time should be of 2-3 seconds or faster.
Add optimized images
One of the first steps we take is optimizing your website images. Image optimization means decreasing the file size of images by compressing them. As a result, the enormous file size is significantly reduced, but the images' quality is unchanged to the human eye.
Decreasing the file sizes of website images means that the website can now load less content to the page, making it faster. Page size should typically be 1.5-6MB of data. Usually, the more data, the longer it takes to load, and the less data size, the faster it is to load.
Improve your site speed with caching
Let's take a look at what website caching is. A cache is simply a copy or impression of your website stored in your web browser for easy access.
By implementing caching on a website, a user who has previously visited your site will view a cached version of your site. Let me expand on this.
The first time the user lands on the site, their browser will request website information from the server, but after the initial visit, the browser will, instead of requesting information from the browser, use a cached or stored version. This can make a vast difference to website speed.
Note that sometimes, if the website has just been updated, the viewer may not see the update as they are viewing a cached/stored version that may not include the latest updates.
Minification and compress scripts
Think of minification or minifying as compressing data. Similar to image optimization, we are decreasing the file size.
A skilled developer should only perform this task as code may be altered or conflicts may occur. We recommend only an experienced developer engage in minifying a website to ensure nothing breaks while performing the minification process.
Let's further examine why minification is important? When a user loads your website, many pages and hundreds of different files/scripts are loaded to ensure the website is in working order.
Each time a script loads, processing time increases, adding to the website load time. So minifying a site is paramount; however, it is a challenging task that requires an experienced web developer to ensure compression is performed properly and safely.
Look for suitable hosting
The internet is ever-changing and becoming faster and faster. Older hosting cannot compete with the latest hosting solutions. Therefore choosing the correct hosting options for your website regarding its size and functionality means you can get the right speed options for your site.
Many people, especially small businesses on a tight budget, opt for the cheapest hosting provider, and doing so often results in poor hosting and a slow website.
It is worth doing some research or discussing with a quality web development company that can work out your hosting needs and make informed recommendations. Hosting is too important to cut corners on.
Hire team who understand your goals
It is always vital to work with the correct web development team who understand your business and what you are trying to achieve. For example, your audience may engage a lot with video content on your website.
Still, you don't want to place too many videos on one page. Hence, a savvy development team may spread these videos over several related pages on your site to ensure all your pages are not overloaded and remain fast.
Too many plugins, unnecessary plugins, or plugins that are not updated can all have a negative impact on your website's speed. A good developer should be able to recommend the best plugins for your site and ensure they don't impact load times.
Add website theme and platform
Finally, your website theme or platform your site is built on all influences your site load times.
Some themes visually look great and have dynamic elements moving around the webpage and are very impressive to view; however, add to the page file size and load times. Websites need to be functional and appealing but must not sacrifice speed.
At times, a compromise will have to be made to make the pages simpler and faster.
Some businesses opt for a custom site, and all too often, these sites have coding errors that result in slower page load times.
Well-known platforms like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Magento, or Shopify have thousands of themes, plugins, and added functionality options whilst being fast and free from any coding issues custom sites may entail. It is worth discussing if your site is built on the correct platform and optimized for speed.
The Final say
When selecting a development company or consultant to assist you in working on website speed, I recommend that you take a look at their website speed. If a provider you are considering using can demonstrate they have a website with fast-loading pages, this is an excellent sign.
It serves as a testament that they are skilled developers and should be able to assist you with regard to site speed. But, again, make sure they are familiar with the platform your site is built on, as web development is a specialized profession.
Is your website running slowly? Do you require a speed audit and hosting help? Contact the team at BSO Digital today to discuss the options available for your website!