Rev Up Your Website Speed: Essential Strategies for Site Speed Optimisation9 min read
In such a digitally dominated era, having a fast-loading website isn’t something you can compromise on if you want to succeed online. Because, let’s be honest – no one wants to wait forever for a web page to load.
While it might not always seem like a big deal, if your competition takes website speed more seriously, you could find yourself at a disadvantage.
As well, studies show that people are more likely to abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. This can seriously harm your ability to gain customers and generate revenue. That’s why site speed optimisation and ensuring your website loads quickly is a big deal for online businesses.
In this article, we’ll discuss what site speed optimisation is, the most effective methods to speed up your site, and how to implement them into your SEO strategy to gain benefits in the long run.
What Is Site Speed Optimisation?
Site speed optimisation is all about making a website load faster and perform more efficiently. When websites are slow, it can frustrate visitors and cause them to leave. To make matters worse, search engines also disprove of slow websites, leading to lower rankings in search results.
Overall, it takes about 7 seconds for a web page to load, and during that brief time, visitors decide whether to stay or leave. So, by enhancing your website’s loading speed, you’ll not only keep people interested but also avoid any missed business opportunities.
Site optimisation involves using tools and specific strategies to improve performance, attract visitors, boost conversions, and increase revenue. More specifically, on-page optimisation is important so visitors can enjoy a seamless experience and are motivated to take action and transform into leads.
Selecting the Right Page Speed Tools to Optimise Your Site
Optimising your site speed is a smart move, but its success varies based on the tool you choose and your site’s unique requirements. Here are some commonly used tools:
- Minification Tools: Trim down code by removing unnecessary parts, making files smaller and your site faster.
- Website Analyzer Tools: Inspect your site for slowdowns and suggest recommendations for fixing them.
- Content Delivery Networks (CDNs): Use nearby servers to deliver content from closer locations to users, reducing data travel time.
- Compression Tools: Shrink file sizes, like images, to speed up loading.
- Caching Tools: Store parts of your site on users’ devices, reducing the need for constant server downloads.
While all of these tools are useful in their own regard, keep in mind that tool effectiveness varies depending on the site. For instance, a site with lots of large images benefits more from compression, while a text-heavy site may not see as much improvement. To make the most of these tools, ensure proper tool setup, integration, regular use, and site maintenance, as website speed is an ongoing task.
Optimising Your Page Speed: Expert Strategies for Optimal Performance
While we’ve explored a few tools to help enhance your website’s speed, we also want to look into some expert strategies for optimal performance.
Find And Fix 404 Errors
A 404 error is a clear sign that a webpage can’t be found. When a webpage no longer exists, your web hosting service sends out this message to web browsers and search engines. Luckily, you can easily find and fix these errors using special tools and plugins.
But since adding too many plugins can slow down your website, it’s recommended to use external tools like Xenu’s Link Sleuth, Google Webmaster Tools (GWT), or the 404 Redirected WordPress Plugin.
Once you’ve pinpointed these errors, take a moment to assess their visitor traffic. If they essentially have zero traffic, you can let them be. However, if they’re still attracting traffic, consider redirecting external links and updating internal ones to keep your website running smoothly.
Reduce HTTP Requests
Reducing the number of requests your website makes to the server can significantly improve your site’s loading speed. Requests happen when a webpage loads images, stylesheets, and scripts.
Everyone appreciates visual appeal, especially on e-commerce websites where it’s all about aesthetics. Having a range of photos and graphics on your product pages can tremendously improve user engagement. Yet, there’s also a drawback: they often come with large file sizes, slowing down your website.
When optimising images, pay attention to three key factors:
- Size: Before uploading images to your webpage, consider resizing them to optimise the page’s loading speed. You can also use image compression tools like ImageOptim or Kraken to resize without compromising quality.
- Format: Opt for JPEGs for images and reserve GIFs for small and animated graphics – or better yet, incorporate videos instead.
- “src” Attribute: Implement HTML’s responsive image attributes, such as “src” and “size,” which automatically adjust image dimensions based on the user’s display properties.
Font subsetting is an effective way to optimise your website’s font usage. Instead of loading the entire font file, you can create a customized subset containing only the necessary fonts. Here are some tips for font subsetting:
- Use modern formats like WOFF2 for better browser compatibility.
- Include only the character sets your site uses.
- Select only the necessary font styles to minimize loading times.
But how do you know which fonts your website uses? Here’s a simple two-step solution:
- Identify the Font Range: Determine which fonts your website uses using Glyphhanger.
- Create a Subset: Once you know the fonts you need, use a tool like Transformers to generate a tailored font subset. Upload your chosen fonts, input the Unicode font range, and click “convert.”
Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) strategically places a network of web servers across several geographic locations. Its main role is to deliver online information to end users based on their geographical proximity.
When a website is housed on a single server, all user requests converge on that server, causing delays in processing each request. Users located far from the server face longer page load time.
CDNs solve this issue by redirecting user requests to the nearest server, delivering content much faster, and improving website performance. Although adopting a CDN might be pricey, it’s an excellent way of improving website load speed. CDN services like Cloudflare or Akamai can help you achieve this.
Use ALT Tags For Images
When building a website, you need to consider everyone – which includes people with visual impairments who rely on screen readers. To ensure your website is fully accessible, incorporate ALT tags for all the images on your site.
ALT tags allow screen readers to describe important image content so those with disabilities can understand what the picture seeks to depict. For instance, if an image contains text, it’s essential to include that text within the ALT text. However, if an image only serves a decorative purpose and doesn’t add meaningful information, you can skip adding ALT text to avoid user distractions.
Adding ALT tags doesn’t just benefit people with visual impairments either – it also offers the secondary advantage of improving your website’s SEO, particularly in the context of site speed optimisation. Search engines favour text over images, so attaching ALT text to your images will help your website perform better in relevant web searches.
What is website speed optimisation?
Website speed optimisation is an important process that indirectly influences a company’s success. It involves improving a site’s loading time, which leads to greater user satisfaction and higher search engine rankings.
As users increasingly demand webpages to load quickly, businesses need to aim to create a better user experience by frequently monitoring and optimising website performance.
How can I improve my website speed?
To improve your website’s speed, consider implementing strategies such as:
- Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
- Choosing a reliable web host
- Reducing web fonts
- Identifying 404 errors
- Minimizing redirects
- Implementing website caching
- Optimising image size
- Limiting plugins
- Enabling Gzip compression
- Optimising your database
- Implementing prefetching techniques
Applying these strategies might help reduce the HTTP request rate, optimise your database, and improve the overall user experience.
What is the best site speed for SEO?
There’s no question that online user attention spans are short. The rule of thumb is that if a webpage takes more than 3 seconds to load, most visitors won’t wait. To gauge your performance, you can use speed testing tools like Pingdom Website Speed Test.
Is site speed an example of SEO?
Yes. Page speed is an integral part of SEO as it has a direct influence on SEO rankings. In July 2018, Google included it as a ranking element in their algorithm. Slow-loading pages tend to have a greater bounce rate, which can harm SEO rankings.
Page speed is closely related to user experience, and a sluggish website can contribute to a poor user experience, potentially hindering sales. That means faster page speeds can lead to higher conversion rates and better brand reputation, influencing SEO indirectly through user feedback and engagement.
What is a good page speed for SEO?
According to Google Page Speed Insights, scores between 50 and 89 signal a need for improvement.
Sites with scores above 75 indicate they provide a satisfactory user experience even under the most difficult device and network conditions. They also boast high-quality content, credible sources, and substantial traffic.
A good SEO page speed score will require you to aim higher. A page speed score of 90+ indicates a solid and healthy performance. These sites are typically amongst the most popular and frequently visited online platforms.
When your website score is within this range, it meets the highest quality criteria for search engine optimisation on various levels, including technical SEO, content, user experience, and mobile usability.
Regarding the influence of page speed on SEO, the ideal site loading time is three seconds or less.
How important is page load speed for SEO?
Page speed is important for SEO as it directly impacts the overall user experience, search engine rankings, and conversion rates.
Slow-loading pages are likely to cause frustration and higher bounce rates, negatively impacting search engines. In contrast, websites that load faster are more likely to rank higher in search engine results pages, leading to a better user experience.
Page performance is equally important for both mobile and desktop devices, as Google considers mobile friendliness and speed when ranking websites. Having fast websites that are device-compatible improves user engagement and reduces bounce rates, which benefits SEO efforts.
What is page speed, and why does it matter for SEO?
As the online world is so fast-paced, instant access to information matters. Page speed refers to the time it takes for a web page to load and fully display its content. It matters for SEO because if your website doesn’t deliver content within seconds, it can lead to a negative user experience and adversely affect both your sales and search engine rankings. Google prioritizes user satisfaction, and slow-loading pages are more likely to lead to a high bounce rate and decreased dwell time, which are both negative signals for SEO.