Page Speed Optimization
Page speed and site speed both relate to how quickly the content on your website loads, but there is a technical difference between the two terms.
Page speed refers to how quickly the content on a specific page loads. It may be defined as either:
- Page load time: How long it takes to fully display a page’s content
- Time to first byte: How long it takes a browser to receive the first byte of information from your server
Site speed is a measurement of how quickly your whole website loads. It’s calculated by taking the average page speed for a sample of page views on your site.
Website speed is a more general term used to describe how quickly your site loads and may also be used as a synonym for site speed.
Page speed, site speed, and website speed are closely related terms, and they all impact your site’s user experience and rankings.
Why are website speed optimization services important to website success?
Simple! It’s not only what your site visitors want — it’s what Google wants. There’s a connection between page speed and SEO, and it’s exactly why your pages need to load quickly.
Google’s main job is to provide users with search results that best fit their queries. Not only do search engines serve pages with content that best fits the user’s query, they also want to display websites that provide a great user experience. And you guessed it — page speed is part of a great user experience.
Other user experience factors include things like readability and ease of navigation.
Pages that load quickly appeal to site visitors decrease bounce rate — another indicator to Google whether or not your site is a good one.
When your site loads slowly, (takes longer than 3 seconds to fully load), users will become frustrated and bounce from your website to find one that provides the information they need more quickly.
If users consistently bounce from your site, Google will start to notice, and you will see a drop in search engine rankings. That’s because Google sees a correlation between high bounce rate and a bad user experience, so they subsequently drop you in the rankings.
If users don’t stay on your website long enough to read your content, Google concludes that it must not be a very good website. Little do they (or your site visitors) know that you could have one of the best websites with the best content out there, but your slow load time kept them from experiencing your website.
This makes page speed even more crucial. Website speed can keep users from entering your site in the first place, which means they won’t learn about your business, see your products and services, or read your informative, beneficial information. Most of all, they won’t convert.
What About Mobile?
In January 2018, Google announced its Speed Update, which says that mobile speed is now a ranking factors. Because of this, both your desktop and mobile rankings can change due to site speed.
This means that when dealing with website speed optimization, it’s crucial to keep mobile in mind as well.
Optimizing page speed for mobile devices works the same way as it does on a desktop. And of course, you want to ensure that your site is mobile responsive in the first place! This means that your website is effective and easy to use on smaller screens, too!
4 factors that contribute to slow load time
There are a lot of factors that can contribute to slow load time including:
1. Sloppy HTML coding
One surefire way to ensure that your pages will load slowly is by having a sloppy HTML code on the backend of your site.
HTML code is what tells your page how to look when users view it on your website. The code is made up of all sorts of tags that tell the page how to work and what to do.
Every page on your website will have a page of code, and the larger and more complex your website is, the more complex your code will be. This is where it becomes easy for your code to become jumbled and sloppy.
In order to keep your pages loading quickly, it’s essential to ensure that there are no extra tags and that everything is referenced properly. Otherwise, it will take the server longer to read the code — causing a slow-loading site.
2. Huge, unoptimized graphics
Including graphics on your site is crucial to providing a great user experience. When you offer a whole page of information, for example, it’s important to break up all that information with some images, graphics, or video to ensure that the reader doesn’t get bored.
However, all the bells and whistles that you can add to your site pages in terms of graphics and videos can weigh your site down and cause it to load slowly.
Huge, high-resolution photos are one of the biggest causes of slow-loading pages.
So how do you ensure that your site provides a great user experience with graphics while keeping page load time fast? Optimize your graphics.
3. Too many redirects
Redirects occur when you want to replace all links to an old webpage with references to a new one. The redirects are bits of code placed within your .htaccess file in the server, and you can create as many as you need when you replace old pages on your site.
However, when you have tons of redirects on the same page, your site takes the time to reference the .htaccess file to find out the new location of where the link is pointing. This is essentially like loading links twice on your page, which ramps up page load time.
4. Server location and performance
One of the easier factors to understand — the farther away your server, the longer it will take your website to load. That said, it’s important to be mindful of where your server is located. For example, if your business is based in the United States, don’t select a server in China.
In relation to server performance, you want to ensure that you have a high-quality website hosting service. Here’s how it works:
A user types your URL into their search bar, or visits your website from a search engine like Google, their browser notifies your server that they’re trying to visit your site, and asks for all the information necessary to visit your page. If your server is high-quality, the information will arrive quickly.
The quality of your server comes down to whether it’s shared or dedicated:
Are you on a shared server? If so, you are sharing server space with another website and their traffic.
Are you on a dedicated server? If so, you can ensure that you’re not sharing website traffic with another website. When you’re on a dedicated server, you’ll have a much faster loading time.
Does your website need help in the page speed department?
If your bounce rate is high and your conversion rate is low due to a slow-loading website, our team can help. There are tons of services included in each of our page speed optimization plans, and they can help your website reach its highest potential.