Website Speed and Google Speed
Are you wondering “Is website speed important?” or “Can I improve my load time?” Today, I am here to answer those questions. In the summer of this year, Google decided to release a new search engine algorithm update, which some users are now calling “Google speed update”. Google now considers a website’s loading speed a key factor when deciding what pages to return for certain queries, especially in mobile search. As a result, business owners who’s main source of lead generation is through their websites (or Google My Business) are scrambling to increase their websites speed.
Does Website Speed Matter?
For those of you with slow loading speeds (I assume that’s why you are here) might be wondering “Why has google forsaken me?” Quite the contrary. In fact, Google rolled out this update with its user in mind. When deciding what to show on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) google asks itself two questions; Am I displaying the answer the user is searching for? And will the results I am displaying give the user a good experience?. Google tries its best to put its users first, and google realized people are inpatient.
Gone are the days of 5Kbps dial-up modems and waiting 5 minutes for a web page to load (and that was on a good day), now we have speeds of up to 5Gbps. People aren’t willing to wait 5 minutes for a website to load like in the 1999s, that’s why Google recommends a page load time of 200 milliseconds. According to kissmetrics, 40 percent of users leave a website after waiting just 3 seconds for it to load. That’s 40 percent of your potential business or viewers gone. Google already figured this out, so its forcing website owners to speed up their website not only to improve user experience but to prevent your customers from leaving your site.
How To Improve A Website’s load speed?
Now that we know why we should speed up our site, here are 6 ways you can improve your web pages load time on both desktop and mobile devices:
CDN (content delivery network)
If you are not just a local business and your targeted audience are in a different geographical location (for example an e-commerce website) then you would benefit from a CDN. CDNs hosts the resource intensive area of your website on their servers located all over the world. They redirect your visitors to one of their nearest servers, this will greatly reduce server response time.
Images usually take up the most memory when calculating a webpages total size. Each time someone visits your website their browser sends a request to download the content on the website before displaying it. The bigger the images the more time it will take for the page to lead. There are a few plugins you could use, but the best solution I have found is using Google itself. When you run a page insight test google will give you the option to download a compressed version of images on your website. Once you download the compression versions just replace the original images.
This is one of the main issues affecting websites, bloat. A bloated website is any website that has unnecessary scripts/code, plugins (WordPress) or modules (Drupal). This causes the website to be slow and sluggish when visitors try to navigate it. Do a quick audit of your website and remove all unnecessary codes and add-ons. If your website is powered by a CMS it’s also a good idea to update all your add-ons.
AMP Pages (Mobile)
We have sat there with excruciating anxiety as our phone tries to load a page frame by frame, introducing amp pages. Amp pages are essentially regular pages that are stripped off all special elements. They are an exact duplicate of another page on your website that has been optimized to the core for mobile devices. Because these pages require minimal resources they load a lot faster than traditional pages.
Depending on whos hosting your website the underlying issue could be the hosting server. Most hosting company cram all their customers on a single server, so every website on that server will be fighting for resources. You can reduce your websites load by updating to php7.1, enable gzip, optimizing your database, and enabling FastCGI. If your website is still slow after completing all optimization then you should try upgrading your hosting plan from shared to Cloud, VPS or dedicated server.
As a fellow website/business owner who developed, design, and host his own website, I can tell you with confidence all 6 of these methods work. I have tried each method first hand and have seen a tremendous increase in my website’s speed. Not only will your potential customer like the increase in your website’s speed but google will as well.
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