Having a successful business means having a successful online presence. Regardless of whether you sell goods or services exclusively in a brick-and-mortar location or through ecommerce, people are more likely to patronize businesses with a user-friendly website. However, if you don’t optimize your site for speed, you cannot set yourself up for success.
One of the most important aspects of website performance is fast page loads. It affects your bounce rate, visitor engagement, and your website’s ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Learning how to make pages load faster can b e difficult if you don’t understand how speed affects site performance. The quickest way to improve web page loading speed is through website optimization. This article will explain everything you need to know about website speed, page loading speed, and optimizing the site to improve user experience and SERP rankings.
Why Is Your Website Slow?
Web page speed is how quickly your content loads when a visitor clicks on a page from your website. There are several reasons why your website might move slower than it should, such as:
- Unoptimized Images: Most websites with slow loading speeds have unoptimized images. Large images scaled down to size increase the web page’s size, and high-resolution images take up lots of bandwidth while loading. Both actions make sites move slower.
- Excessive Flash Content: Flash content is generally bulky, so the bigger the file, the slower the page load speed.
- Poor Caching Techniques: Caching is essential for website performance. You can cache many things like database queries and images. Failing to do so will bog the website down.
- Bad Hosting: Not all web hosts are equal. Some platforms offer better website performance and speed than others. If you try to improve your site speed and it continues to respond slowly, the issue could be with the web host.
Why Optimize Website Speed?
People expect websites and pages to load within seconds after clicking links. If content lags before loading on-screen, visitors are likely to click away to another site, which causes a high bounce rate.
A bounce rate is the percentage of website visitors who leave a web page without taking any action, like making a purchase or submitting a form. According to research from Google, visitors are 32% more likely to bounce a page that takes one to three seconds to load. With a five-second loading speed, the probability of a bounce increases to 90%.
Having a quick page loading speed increases the chance of guests staying on your page, checking out other links, and becoming more interested in the company. Speed also plays a significant role in search engine optimization or SEO.
Google has specific qualifications for websites that it ranks highly on SERPs. Page speed for mobile and desktop searches is one of them. Without sufficient web speed, your site cannot achieve a high rank, which means it will be less visible online.
What Is a Good Page Speed Load Time?
You should optimize your web pages to load as quickly as possible. Ideally, one to two seconds is enough to keep your bounce rate at a reasonable percentage and garner some attention from Google’s algorithm crawlers.
Google generally aims for loads under half a second. If your site is slower than the ideal time, the search engine might crawl your website slower, which will negatively affect your indexation.
How to Measure Page Speed
Before you can learn how to make pages load faster, you should know how your web pages perform currently. The good news is that there are many website speed testing tools available online for you to use as a gauge for your site’s performance. With the information you glean from the following programs, you can make better decisions on your site’s speed improvements.
Google PageSpeed Insights
Google PageSpeed Insights is a free speed testing tool that reports a page’s performance and offers suggestions for improvement. It will score your website on a scale of 0 to 100 based on lab data and real-world data from the Chrome User Experience Report. The higher your score, the better your web page loading speed.
An added benefit of using Google PageSpeed Insights is that it comes directly from the world’s most used search engine. By using a Google-supported tool to measure page loading speed, you can make necessary adjustments to help you meet the browser’s performance benchmarks and achieve better SERP rankings.
Pingdom is another tool that works with a scale of 0 to 100. However, it is more accessible for beginners, while Google PageSpeed Insights is better for more experienced users.
With Pingdom, you can test your site based on location. The analysis will break down your score, page load time, and page size and make suggestions for improving loading speed. If you’re an experienced user, Pingdom also offers more detailed reports to help you make improvements quickly or troubleshoot problems.
The best way to test web pages as a beginner is with GTMetrix. A free account with GTMetrix will allow you to perform multiple tests with various browsers, connections, and locations. GTMetrix will produce an easy-to-read summarized report, enable you to track your performance over time, and notify you if your web pages are moving slow.
How to Make Pages Load Faster the Right Way
Website optimization is essential for making pages load faster. However, some tactics require careful implementation. Otherwise, you could unintentionally make your web pages slower instead of faster.
Here are some of the best ways to ensure your page has the speed it needs to perform well for visitors and search engines.
It is best not to use the application on image files, though. To compress image files, run them through a photo-specific program like Photoshop to maintain picture quality.
Page redirection is the act of moving page guests to a different web page than the one they click on if the requested page is unavailable. Every time a page redirects to another, it adds wait time for visitors because the HTTP request-response cycle has to finish. Where possible, reduce redirects to prevent your pages from hitting a slow loading time.
Enable Browser Caching
See if your pages’ cache has an expiration date using an online tool like YSlow. If not, set your “expires” header for the length of time you want to cache data. Web pages that don’t often change designs can usually get away with browser caching for a year.
Improve Server Response Time
Ideally, the server response time should be under 200ms. However, several factors affect server response time, including:
- Amount of web traffic you receive
- How much resources your pages use
- Server software
- Hosting platform
You can improve server response time and help your site move quicker by looking for and fixing server performance issues. Examples of performance problems include slow routing, insufficient memory, and slow database queries.
Use a Content Distribution Network
Content distribution networks or CDNs are server networks that help distribute the load of delivering content to improve site speed. CDNs work with your website host by making and providing copies of your website’s static content on global servers.
While you have a primary server that holds your main website, you can use a CDN to distribute copies of your page’s files among specific data centers. This type of leverage will maximize your web pages’ performance because the CDN will reduce the distance data requests travel between your servers and browsers.
One of the primary causes for slow web page loading is large images. When adding photos, ensure that they are in the correct file format and compressed for web use. Remember that PNGs are best for graphics with 16 colors or fewer, while JPEGs are better for photographs.
You can use CSS sprites to create an image template for frequently used images on your site, like buttons and icons. The CSS sprites will combine your images into a single image that loads everything at once instead of loading each image separately. That way, the page will load quicker, and visitors won’t have to wait for all the images to load.
Tools That Can Help
The list above includes general tips on how to make pages load faster. It is necessary to note that no two websites are the same, so you might not need to do each of the above steps. Instead, you can use tools to precisely determine what’s causing your web pages to load slowly.
Here are some speed test tools to consider:
- WebPage Test: Like Google PageSpeed Insights, WebPage Test is a free speed testing tool that provides advanced insights and suggestions for loading speed improvements.
- Sematext: This DevOps tool mixes all aspects of performance monitoring, including debugging solutions and end-to-end visibility. Use the tool to test website speed in multiple locations and devices.
- Uptrends: Uptrends is another free tool that allows you to test your website across multiple browsers, devices, and locations. It will also provide you with your page’s Google PageSpeed score and load time, and it will tell you ways to improve your site’s performance.
- DareBoost: This application offers site speed tests and monitoring services. DareBoost can analyze over 80 types of data, so you can quickly locate areas for improvement.
- New Relic: New Relic is a paid tool that will let you know how your website performs. You can use it to conduct speed tests for desktop and mobile sites. The application will also notify you if your site’s speed drops so that you can make necessary adjustments as soon as possible.
Optimizing for Mobile
Your website should be viewable for desktop and mobile viewing to ensure the best user experience across the board. Optimizing your mobile site for loading speed should be a high priority. People use their phones and tablets on the go, so most visitors won’t wait for sites to load fully before moving on to something else.
Also, Google has a mobile-first index, which means the search engine algorithm will crawl the mobile version of a website for indexing and ranking. Since speed is a landing page factor for Google Search and mobile searches, optimizing your mobile website speed is one of the most important steps you can take.
Begin the optimization by checking your analytics to see how many visitors view your mobile site. Then, ensure that the site is responsive, which means it uses media queries to scale pages down for mobile devices automatically.
Another way to ensure that your mobile site has the best loading speed is with the Google Mobile Website Speed Testing Tool. This tool will evaluate your mobile site speed, alert you of loading times, and recommend the best ways to increase your site’s speed.
Optimizing for WordPress
If WordPress is hosting your website, you can follow the basic steps to increase page load speed, such as image optimization, using a CDN, and browser caching. The good thing about hosting on this platform is that plenty of WordPress-specific tools and plugins make it easier to improve page loading speed.
Some of the best plugins to help with page speed include:
- WP Rocket: This plugin offers excellent features like browser caching, gzip compressions, and file optimization.
- WP-Cache: As one of WordPress’s earlier plugins, WP-Cache operates as a page caching system that makes pages more responsive.
Optimizing for other Platforms
Optimization isn’t only for WordPress and mobile sites. Webflow, Shopify, and Wix are other popular platforms that require fast loading speeds. Here are some essential considerations when learning how to make pages load faster on these platforms.
- Optimize Fonts: Many users overlook fonts when optimizing Webflow sites, but you can use software like Fontforge to optimize fonts and delete unnecessary characters and symbols that your pages might not need. Optimize all fonts as .WOFF2.
- Defer Scripts: Use Project Settings custom code to set scripts to defer. This setting tells the browser to load the page while the script loads in the background.
- Clean Up Unused Interactions and Triggers: While developing your website, you likely create interactions and add triggers, but you can clean them. Open your Webflow Project. Then select interactions, clean up, and delete.
- Use AMP: More than half of online consumers use their phones to shop. Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP lets visitors access your ecommerce site quickly from mobile devices.
- Download an Appropriate Theme: Always choose a shop theme that is fast and responsive. Check for up-to-date copies of your theme, and run it through Google PageSpeed to see how to make your page with the design run faster.
- Avoid Using Multiple Fonts: Using multiple fonts on one web page adds to the loading time. Use Wix font styles wisely to make the page attractive and readable without relying on too many font types.
- Upload Images Correctly: Avoid uploading videos and images in high resolution or large files. That takes up too much Wix Gallery Space. It also takes a long time to load multiple images, which increases website loading speed.
- Limit Content in Header: Keep your Wix header clean and easy to navigate. It’s best not to include images or videos in the header because it will add to the loading speed.
Improve Your Website With Connective Web Design Today
Connective Web Design is an LA-based website design firm that knows how to make pages load faster and so much more. Our mission is to help enterprises of any size improve their online presence to generate leads, improve sales, and grow their business. Besides web design, we also offer search engine optimization, branding, and digital marketing.
Our team has years of experience applying the best digital marketing practices to every industry’s website designs. By working with our web design experts, you can be confident your site will be lightning-fast, mobile-friendly, and well laid out. If you’re ready to expand your business and develop professional credibility online, contact our team today at 818-570-5620 to schedule a consultation.