Communication with the users and their rankings in search engines depends on the site’s response speed. This is reflected in targeted traffic, conversion rates, and profitability. Learn how to speed up your website and increase income.
Why Does Site Speed Matter?
Sites of any type need to speed uploading – from simple information pages to e-commerce stores. It affects not only a positive user experience, the likelihood of re-accessing an Internet resource, ordering, but also the effectiveness of SEO. Search engine algorithms will not allow sites with low-speed indicators to be brought to the TOP.
The Faster The Site Loads, The Better The Conversion Is
According to Google statistics, a user most often leaves the site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. The vast majority of users (79%) do not revisit a slow site. Just one extra second of download reduces conversions by an average of 7%. And the less time the user spends waiting for the site to load, the higher the conversion is. At the same time, it is crucial for both desktop and mobile devices. About 85% of mobile users expect the same speed as when browsing on a PC. If the users’ expectations of a website loading speed are not met, then they leave.
What Does The Download Speed Affect
A slow website loading speed on desktop or mobile devices causes the following consequences listed below.
- Losing customers: it is easier for the user to return to the search engine and go to the next site in the list than to wait.
- Decreasing conversion: every second of download intensifies user experience.
- A negative user experience: it reduces the likelihood of re-purchase by 60%.
It is imperative to know how to speed up the site’s loading and increase its competitiveness and attractiveness for users.
Search Engines Penalize Websites That Load Slowly
Loading speed affects not only behavioral factors but also positions in search engine results. The deterioration in the site’s ranking occurs due to the long loading, which does not allow the search engine robot to index it fully. As a result, the SEO efficiency decreases. This is a fairly common problem when website owners and unscrupulous “SEO specialists” spend much time, effort, and money on promotion. But without the fast work of the web resource itself, the search results’ position will not get off the ground.
How Fast Should The Website Load
Regardless of the website type – it must load quickly on any device. Ideally, the site needs a second to load. Other indicators can be characterized as follows:
- 2-3 seconds – average, with minimal losses in conversion;
- 4-7 seconds – needs improvement;
- 8-10 – threatening, it is necessary to carry out serious work to accelerate;
- 11 or more – immediate optimization is required.
Website Loading Speed Indicators
The speed depends on several factors:
|Server response time||HTML code|
|CMS||Number and size of images|
|User location||Scope of JS and CSS files|
Server problems can be solved by optimizing the tariff or changing the hosting. Also, when choosing a server location, you need to consider the geography of the target audience. You cannot neglect to change the server if its performance is low. In most cases, the “relocation” work does not affect access to the site and is carried out unnoticed.
Visible parts of the site are the number of materials that a user needs to download to open the site and display all its content. By optimizing the size and volume of downloaded information, you can reduce the waiting time for a full download.
Five Tools To Check A Website Speed
To check the performance of the site yourself, you can use several tools:
- PageSpeed Insights is a Google tool that allows you to monitor and generate reports on desktop and mobile devices. This tool provides personalized advice on how to speed up your site. Although the reports are not very accurate, they can draw up a work plan for optimization.
- GTMetrix is a tool that helps control response time in many ways. It provides such subtle characteristics as geolocation, browser. It gives sensible recommendations and indicates vulnerabilities, shows ways to eliminate problems. Learning to use this tool is time-consuming, but it is possible to make progress with it.
- WebPageTest is suitable for an in-depth analysis. However, the service reports’ complexity and the English-language interface create specific difficulties in working with it. It’s fair to say that it produces the most accurate results across the entire domain.
- Pingdom is a more straightforward free interface to use. However, it is not distinguished by an abundance of functions.
- Load Impact is a tool for performing load testing of a website. All of these tools test only the frontend, while Load Impact works with the backend as well.
10 Ways To Speed Up Your Website
Testing with multiple tools will provide a realistic picture of response time. Correction of most of the defects in the site does not require special skills and knowledge. However, the part of the optimization related to changes in the code still needs a professional approach. Below we list the key issues affecting loading and tips on speeding up your site.
1. Reducing The Size of The HTML Code
Code has a lot to do with the speed: large files make the browser consume resources to render the site. To optimize your code, you need to remove everything you don’t need.
Clearing the code can be done in 2 ways: manually or with additional software. The second method is faster, and its use does not imply the use of layout skills. Before optimization, it is recommended to make a backup of the documents. Daruse will help with optimization, compressing the code without breaking the function. The Better WordPress Minify plugin optimizes WordPress sites.
2. Optimizing Images
Most of the web resources are overloaded with images. About 45% of the resources involved in loading the site are allocated to process graphic elements. You can optimize the graphic part by compressing images using cloud-based tools – Compressor or Kraken or using a set of plugins included in the CMS, enabling massive optimization of all images.
3. Using Web-Adapted Formats
WebP and JPEG offer high image quality at a small size. The disadvantages of using such formats are that not all browsers support them, and not all search engines index them.
4. Implementation of The Lazy Loading Mechanism for Images
It is a method for deferring an image’s loading until the visitor has scrolled to it. You can quickly implement this system on the CMS with the A3 Lazy Load plugin.
5. Deactivating Unnecessary Plugins
Resources on the CMS have one indisputable advantage – the presence of all kinds of plugins that expand the Internet resource’s functionality. However, this advantage also has a “dark side”: webmasters often lose control over themselves because the prospect of increasing functionality is very tempting. Simultaneously, server resources are still consumed for plugins work, so sooner or later, this affects the download speed. To improve performance, you have to find and disable unnecessary plugins or upgrade the server itself.
6. Configuring Client Caching
This method allows the browser to save data on the user’s computer without accessing it each time. The client caching mechanism can significantly increase the download speed. It can be configured with plugins or a .htaccess file.
7. Gzip Compression
This mechanism is server-side caching. Gzip compression can reduce the amount of data sent to the user by 50-70%. This mechanism can be enabled in the following ways:
- By editing .htacces. Inclusion occurs by injecting code into the webserver configuration. The provider should be consulted to agree on a suitable syntax before making any changes.
- By plugin injection. For WordPress, it is better to use GZip Ninja Speed Compression.
- Through cPanel.
Gzip compression is the easiest and fastest way to speed up your work, but it is CPU intensive. Therefore, you should think about the rationality of its inclusion and also consult with the provider.
8. Setting Up AMP Pages on Google
Google has been using the Mobile-First Indexing method for a long time; therefore, the main focus is on the mobile version when ranking search results. Hence, SEO for AMP pages is implemented by creating separate mobile versions of pages and linking them to the main ones. Google provides an official guide on that topic.
9. Creation of Turbo Pages with Yandex
Using a special technology allows you to accelerate the download speed up to 15 times. This technology is a must for any project, but it is highly recommended for sites with optimization problems for mobile devices. The technology of creating turbo pages with Yandex is also described in their official guide.
10. Moving Video Content to External Platforms
Using video materials allows you to add value to the website and motivate its visitors. More than 60% of users decide to purchase products after watching a presentation video. Besides, the video allows you to extend the time spent on the site and reduce rejection likelihood. However, using it slows down the load and increases the load on the server. And with low bandwidth equipment, the video itself can start to slow down and sink for a long time. This will definitely reduce the quality of the content presentation. Therefore, it is better to post video materials on a third-party hosting – YouTube or Vimeo, and then add them to your page.
CDNs are content delivery networks and interconnected infrastructure of physical servers that cache and store site content in different parts of the world. This solves the problem of the user’s geographic remoteness. Such a network is necessary for sites that are not georeferenced.
Summary of Speeding Up A WordPress Website
In addition to the above methods, there is a whole set of methods and tools to speed up your WordPress site:
- Using a robust framework/theme. Standard WordPress themes are light and fast.
- Using Prefetch.
- Removing Query Strings from static resources.
- Optimization of DB, Web fonts, Font Awesome icons.
- Reducing the number of Misc HTTP requests.
- Disabling hot clicking, pingbacks, and trackbacks.
- Speeding up admin-ajax.php.
- Setting up MySQL.
- Choosing a good hosting.
Combining these methods of speeding up the resource work will significantly reduce the load time.
Site loading speed is the most important parameter, affecting both the site’s behavioral indicators (time spent on the site, conversions) and reaching the TOP of Yandex and Google. As great as a project is, slow loading can negate all efforts to develop and promote it.