Importance of Page Speed

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The Importance of Page Speed

Page speed, what is page speed? Page speed is exactly what it sounds like, the speed at which a webpage can load. It can be affected by a number of different factors and can have a number of different effects on a website. In this article, we will go through the main reasons why your webpage speed might be suffering, what this means for your website’s SEO and how to improve it’s speed.

Page Speed & SEO

To those unsure why page speed is an integral part of the website build process let me explain the importance of a quick loading page. It is estimated that for every 100ms a website takes to load the website owners lose 1% revenue. This can be a huge reduction in revenue if a page takes 4 – 8 seconds to load.

Another very important reason to invest time in improving page speed is for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Search engines such as Google want users to have the best experience possible. Page speed is a key part of this experience. A website is going to rank higher if it runs faster and meets all the key parts of a highly optimised website. Improving the speed of a website can be the difference in ranking first and ranking on the second page.

Improving webpage speed

So now we know why it’s important to improve webpage speeds, now we want to know how we do it. The first step to look at is your starting page speed. Using something like Google’s tool for page speed or a different tool like Pingdom they both show how the webpage is performing and offer solutions on how to improve speeds.

Webpage Image Size

Once you know the current speed of the page, it’s now worthwhile looking at the actual size of the webpage. If the page is over 3mb it will naturally take longer to load than a page which is 1.5mb. A fast way to reduce the size of a page is to reduce image size, images are large and naturally take up a lot of download speed. Compressing the images to be less than 200kb each is the optimum goal, finding a balance point between quality and download speed.

Server Response, Code & Caching

There is, however, a little bit more to it than just decreasing page size. Reducing the server requests and the code file size is another step that should be taken. Serve requests are when a browser request to download the web page, allowing this response to happen faster is the goal. This can be done through your hosting package and is worthwhile asking your current hosting provider. CSS, HTML and Javascript code should be compressed and minimized, therefore meaning the code isn’t having to be pulled from multiple locations on the site. If you’re using WordPress a simple plugin can be used for this.

Another area that should definitely be performed is caching, caching is when a browser, website or server keeps a previously downloaded version of the webpage, this massively increases the speed of pages. This is because instead of the browser downloading a whole new webpage again, it can look back at its previously cached sites and show the user a previously downloaded version. There are obviously issues with this if the site is updated, a user might see an out of date page. To prevent this from happening, a cache purge should be performed when the site is updated. Again if you’re using WordPress a plugin such as Super Cache or Fastest Cache is perfect. 

Concluding Page Speed

To quickly wrap up this article on page speed I thought I would run through the main areas covered in this topic. First, try and make your site user-friendly and give those users a good experience, not just for improving potential conversions, but also for SEO. Improve page speed to improve users experience by doing the following steps. Reduce image size, compress code files (CSS, HTML & Javascript) and leverage cached versions of pages.

If you need any more information on website building and improving page speed get in contact with us in the comments or on our contact us page here.