Why is it essential to improve your website loading speed? When performing an SEO audit, your page loading speed is flagged up. According to Google, under three seconds is the optimal amount of time to load a page, as online audiences have little patience with loading times.
Up to 40% of people abandon a webpage that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Apart from the loss of prospective customers, what does this mean? Even with the best SEO plan, a high bounce rate will lower your rank in Google and affect your Domain Authority score.
According to Google's recent benchmark report, most sites are nowhere near their 3 seconds recommendation. Their analysis found that 70% of pages took over 7 seconds to load. This resulted in a probable bounce rate increase of 113%.
The upside to this is, if you put effort into improving your site's loading speed, you will be ahead of the competition. That is why we have written nine tips on how to improve your websites load speed performance.
1) Minimise HTTP request
To load each element of the site, an HTTP request has to be made. The more components, the longer it takes for the page to load. Since up to 80% of a web page's loading time is spent downloading the different elements e.g., images, stylesheet and script, it is vital to minimise the number of components on a page. Remove any unnecessary or repeated elements.
2) Minify and combine files
Minify and combine to reduce the number and size of the files. Remove unnecessary formatting, whitespace, and code, i.e., eliminate extra space, line breakers and indentation. The goal is to have the leanest page possible. If your site is using WordPress, it is worth looking at the Plugin: WP Rocket.
3) Use asynchronous loading
- Synchronously, loading one item at a time in the order it appears. This type of loading can be slow due to the other elements not loading until their predecessor has completely loaded.
- Asynchronously, all files will load simultaneously. This can increase loading times as the browser loads a page from top to bottom. However, if one element is struggling to load, the browser can continue loading the rest of the page.
5) Minimise time to first byte
Now you know the amount of time it takes to load a page, it is now time to understand how long it takes before a page will load.
Time to first byte (TTFB) measures the time a browser waits before getting its first byte of data from the server, Google recommends less than 200ms.
Three steps that happen between the initial request and the first byte data:
Remember, response time can be affected by internet connection, although, most common TTFB issues are caused by slow network issues, dynamic contact creation, web server configuration or traffic. Out of these four issues, there are two you have control over - dynamic content control and server configuration.
6) Reduce server response time
An important factor that can quickly reduce your page loading time is to reduce the time your DNS lookup takes. DNS (Domain Name System) is a server with a database of IP addresses and their associated hostnames. When a user types a URL into their browser, a DNS server translates that URL into the IP address. Think of DNS as a computer looking up a number in a phonebook.
If you suspect that you have a slow server time, you should contact your web agency. DNS contains very complected code that requires an advanced website developer to look at.
7) Choosing the right hosting option
There are three options for types of hosting:
- Shared hosting is a dedicated server that is shared between many different sites. You will share resources from that server. This can be a good option for a small, low trafficked website, however, the server may struggle with high traffic spikes. There is a possibility that your site could be impacted by traffic spikes from another site on the same server, as you all share the same space.
- VPS hosting – Sites still share a dedicated server, but each site has its own portion of server resources. This will protect you from other sites without the cost and maintenance of a dedicated server.
- Dedicated server – All of the resources of the server belong to you. However, all responsibilities and maintenance fall to you as well.
8) Enable browser caching
If your site used WordPress, have a look into W3 Total Cache Plugin.
9) Reducing image size
Images are incredibly useful, particularly when trying to increase your conversion rate. Salsify found that 66% of customers they asked wanted to see at least three images of a product before buying. However, image files tend to be very big, which slows downloading speeds.
Next, save the image as an appropriate file type. A file type can affect file size and quality, resulting in a slower page loading speed.
Improving website loading speeds can be a challenging undertaking but will have a significant impact on your Ranks and UX.
Are you looking for a website development company to help you improve your website's loading time and user experience? If so, contact us today, we are always happy to chat.