The importance of website speed.
We live in a fast-paced world where everyone wants everything now and this applies to our online habits as well.
No one wants to wait for a website to load, we want instant gratification. If a website takes too long to load, we move on to the next thing. This is why website speed is so important, and it can make or break your site.
Additionally, website loading speeds have become a key ranking factor in search engines, such as Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo.
Google particularly, wants to show users the most relevant and fastest sites in search results. Therefore, if your site is slow, you can expect to see a negative impact on your organic traffic.
In this blog post article we are going to look at how you can improve your websites loading speed, how to measure your current website speed and what you can do to improve site speed.
How to measure your websites load speed.
There are a few key things you need to know in order to measure your website’s loading time.
First, you need to identify what metric you want to use: time to first byte (TTFB), DOM content loaded, or fully loaded time. At Optimise Online we measure both TTFB and fully loaded time.
Once you have your metric and tool selected, it is time to start measuring!
Begin by testing your site with no optimisations in place so that you have a baseline to compare against. Then, start making changes and testing again until you see an improvement in load speed.
Remember, even small improvements can add up to make a big difference to website performance!
Use a CDN.
A content delivery network (CDN) is a distributed web server system that delivers webpages and other web content to users based on their geographic location. The further away a user is from the CDN server, the longer it takes for the content to travel to them.
When a user visits your website, they can download these cached files from the dedicated server closest to them, which should load faster than if they had to download all the files from your single web server.
If you have a lot of traffic coming from various parts of the world, using a CDN can also help to reduce stress on your primary server and improve overall website performance.
The number one CDN we use and recommend is Cloudflare, which offers a freemium-level service offering.
Images are a vital part of any website but can also significantly contribute to slow loading times. You can do a few simple things to optimise your media files and improve your site load time.
The first thing to do is ensure your images are as small as possible without sacrificing quality. This can be done by using the appropriate file format and compressing your image files.
Many image editing programs have built-in tools for this, or there are online services that can help you compress your images. A WordPress image optimisation plugin we use and recommend is Imagify; alternatively, you can use an online tool called Optimizilla.
The next thing to consider is using a content delivery network (CDN) for your images. A CDN can help distribute the load of serving your images and speed up your website.
Cloudflare offers image optimisation and delivery services that can help improve website speed.
Minimise HTTP requests.
One way to improve your website speed is to minimise HTTP requests. This can be done by reducing the number of files that are loaded on a page, using file compression, and using a content delivery network.
Another way to reduce HTTP requests is to optimise your images. This can be done by using image sprites, which combine multiple images into one file, or by using lazy loading, which only loads images when they are visible on the screen, opposed to the entire page.
One of the most effective ways to improve page speed is to use browser caching. Caching helps to store frequently accessed data in memory so that it can be quickly retrieved when needed. This can dramatically improve a site’s performance, especially for websites with high traffic levels.
There are a few things to keep in mind when using caching:
- Cached data will eventually expire and need to be refreshed. How often this needs to happen depends on how often the underlying data changes.
- Cache invalidation must be managed carefully to avoid performance issues.
- Caching can introduce complexity into your system, so weigh the benefits against the potential drawbacks before implementing it.
As caching your site can sometimes be challenging, we recommend working with a web developer.
Minifying your resources means reducing their size without sacrificing quality or functionality. This can be done by reducing unnecessary code, such as comments and whitespace, and by using compression techniques.
There are a few ways to minimize your files. A text editor can remove unnecessary whitespace, comments, and code. You can also use a minification tool like YUI Compressor or Google Closure Compiler. If you have built your website on WordPress, we recommend the LiteSpeed Cache and WPRocket Cache plugins.
Minifying your resources can be a bit of a hassle, but it is worth it in the end. A faster page speed will improve your user experience and help you rank higher in search engines.
As minifying your resources can sometimes be challenging, we highly recommend working with a web developer.
Benefits of improved website speed.
In conclusion, improving your website speed and load time can have several benefits for your business, and customers using your site
A faster website can lead to increased traffic and conversions with an improved user experience, leading to more satisfied customers and repeat visitors. As well as improvement in search engine ranking, because your visitors are staying on your website for longer.
Have you got anything to add or questions for us to help readers improve their website speed and load times?
We would love to hear from you!