People like fast websites. They don’t want to wait for a page to load, and understandably so. Your business works hard to get found on the search engines, so why lose them because of slow load times?
Now that 2018 is in full swing, let’s talk about the importance of page load times, how your site compares and steps you can take to improve speed.
Site Speed IS a Ranking Factor
Google likes to keep quiet about the details of its algorithm, but the search giant has admitted that site speed is a ranking factor. How big or how small, we don’t know, but the fact is that load times make a difference. Knowing that Google favors websites that deliver fast, optimized experiences, you can no longer take a relaxed attitude toward site speed.
A fast website provides a good user experience, supports strong SEO and leads to higher conversion rates. While there is some variation based on your industry and location, you should aim for load times of 2-3 seconds. Google announced that in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches. To prepare for the “Speed Update”, make sure your site is as fast as it reasonably can be.
How Fast is Your Website?
There are a lot of great tools that allow you to check the speed of your website. Here are the ones I recommend:
- WebPageTest. This tool is the industry standard for measuring site performance. It’s free and includes advanced testing if you want more insight on multi-step transactions or content blocking. Results are collected from real connection speeds.
- Pingdom. Pingdom is a simple tool that analyzes the load speed of your website. It lets you identify which pages are too big, too slow, too fast (is there such a thing?) and more. The tool is free to use.
- GTmetrix. Analyze your site’s speed and discover ways to make it faster using this tool. All page load details are included: time, size and number of requests. You can also set the tool to monitor your pages.
By running performance tests, you will get a comprehensive understanding of how your site is working, what bottlenecks need to be addressed and ways to boost speed.
Quick Tips for Making Your Site Faster
If your website has serious lags, it’s best to work with a professional web development company like Magna Technology. If you have small issues to fix or are waiting to invest money into your website, there are simple ways to improve load times.
Here are the changes we recommend making:
- Use a CDN. A CDN (content delivery network) takes a website’s files and sends them to servers that are close to the user’s physical location. The servers are nearby, so the files load quickly.
- Reduce image size. Images make your site stand out, but they also add a lot of weight. Alternate between various qualities and sizes to save on bandwidth and try out new image formats such as WebP and JPeg XR.
- Use browser caching. When a person visits your website, the cached version should be served. This way, fewer requests are made to your server, speeding up load times.
- Evaluate plugins. Plugins offer new functionalities but they can slow performance, especially if they are outdated. Assess your current plugins and get rid of those you don’t need.
- Consider a new hosting package. If you’ve made the corrections and your website is still slow, consider a new hosting package. With shared hosting accounts, the server space is shared. If this isn’t enough, dedicated hosting can make all the difference.
Is your site as fast as it could be? Contact Magna Technology to discuss your website and how to make it faster without sacrificing quality – or your budget.