As a leading SEO agency, we know that website speed is one of the important factors affecting your Google page ranking.
Web page loading time is one of the most important SEO factors for search engines like Google. So, if your website isn’t loading within a few seconds, you can face a ranking penalty from Google.
Google gives top priority to its users. And, a slow-loading website offers a bad user experience.
Not sure whether your website loads fast enough? Or, want to speed up your web pages? This article has everything you need.
By the end of this guide, you’d be able to confidently implement the techniques and prevent your visitors from bouncing back.
Let’s first see what a good page load time is.
What is a Good Page Load Time?
Before trying to speed up your pages, it’s important that you set a goal. While you can go as fast as half a second, you need to keep things realistic.
Google-recommended page load time is around 3 seconds. However, most sites don’t even come near that. And, 53% of site visitors bounce back if your mobile site takes more than 3 seconds to load.
So, you’d have to put in the work to not only make people stay on your site, but also climb up the Google rankings.
How to Test Your Web Page Loading Speed?
Before jumping into the action, it’s important to have an idea of where your site stands. To know your current website speed, you can hop onto Google PageSpeed Insights and type in your URL.
The tool will tell you where your site stands in terms of loading speed. Google PageSpeed Insights also tells you the areas of your website that need improvement.
Let’s now dig into the strategies that can make your site faster.
How to Speed Up Web Page Loading Time?
1. Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network)
One reason for a slow loading site is the high number of visits. The higher the website visits, the more time your hosting server will need to process those requests.
A higher number of requests can make your site load slower. Moreover, you can also see a drop in your site’s speed for users that visit your site far from your hosting server.
A content delivery network can solve these predicaments. When you use a CDN, you essentially use a global network of servers that can fetch content for a user and deliver it quickly.
The result is a faster-loading web page.
2. Consider Shifting to a Different Hosting Server
There are different types of servers that you can use to host your website. The most common one of them is a shared hosting server.
A shared server hosts multiple websites on it, hence the name “Shared”. Then comes a virtual private server (VPS). This is faster than a shared server as you get a private space for your website.
Then comes the most expensive option: A dedicated server. Basically, it’s a “Dedicated” space just for your website.
The faster your hosting servers are, the more expensive they would likely be.
3. Optimize Website Images
Your website’s images should be optimized for size. Bulky large files tend to weigh down a web page. So, reducing the size of your site’s images while maintaining quality is imperative to keep it loading fast.
If you are using WordPress, you can use a popular plugin like EWWW Image Optimizer.
If you are on an HTML website, you can use a web-based image compressor to reduce your images’ size.
4. Only Use Necessary Plugins
Plugins add functionality to your site, which is great. However, you don’t want to exhaust your resources by burdening your website with too many plugins.
Doing so can easily make your website load slower.
So, it’s always a good idea to ensure every plugin on your website has a necessary function. If not, uninstalling them would be the right thing to do.
5. Use Caching
Website caching is a phenomenon that can make your website lightning-fast for repeat visitors. What happens in caching is that when a visitor visits your site for the first time, their browser stores a cookie.
This means your browser doesn’t have to send an HTTP request to the server or load your website’s content for subsequent visits.
If you are on WordPress, W3 Total Cache is an effective plugin to implement browser caching on your site.
6. Use Gzip Compression
Your website’s files need to be as small as possible if you want them to load fast. Implementing Gzip compression can effectively achieve that.
Luckily, there isn’t much you’d have to do to use Gzip compression on your WordPress site. You’d just have to enable the Gzip compression option in the W3 Total Cache plugin.
7. Minimize the Use of Redirects
Web page redirects increase HTTP requests, which can reduce your site’s speed. You don’t want that, right?
So, make sure to avoid redirects as much as you can. Your first step should be to check how many redirects you have, and which ones are necessary.
You can use Screaming Frog to identify redirects on your site.
The more you burden your website with heavy files and unnecessary code, the slower it’ll load. Plus, the higher the number of these files, the more HTTP requests your site will have to generate.
What you can do is, minify and combine your files. This can reduce the size of individual files and the number of total files on your site.
If you are on WordPress, you can use a plugin to do the heavy lifting for you. The free version of WP Fastest Cache is one of the best out there for this purpose.
If you are on WordPress, you can use the WP-Rocket Plugin to defer JS pages and speed up your web pages.
You’d just have to tick-mark the “Load JS files deferred” in the plugin’s settings.
10.Minimize Time to First Byte (TTFB)
Other than reducing the time your website takes to load fully, it’s also important to keep the time it takes to start loading to the minimum.
Time to first byte (TTFB) is the time a browser waits for your server to deliver the first byte of data. The lesser this time, the faster your website starts loading its content.
Google recommends that you keep TTFB to less than 200ms. Many webmasters don’t bother about the server-side factors and keep focusing on the front-end performance of their site.
By optimizing your site for TTFB, you’d be getting ahead of most of your competitors, at least for one server-side concern.
What you can do is, use Chrome’s Developer Tools and check your site’s TTFB. It’s important to note that your internet connection can also impact this time. So, make sure it is working smoothly.
You can also use a third-party application to detect your TTFB. WebPageTest is a helpful resource for that.
Just enter your web page’s URL into the search bar and start the test.
If your score is less than 200ms, you have nothing to work on. If not, you can improve it by doing the following:
- Use a faster web host
- Use a CDN
- Implement caching
11. Use External Hosting for Videos
In addition to using a CDN for your content, to improve the loading speed of a website, host your videos on an external platform.
What it will do is, take off the burden from your hosting provider. This can help the web page’s loading speed as there would be less content to load.
Probably the best way to go about it is by hosting your videos on YouTube and embed those videos into your blog/website. You can also use other video hosting platforms like VIMEO or Dailymotion if you want.
If you upload your videos on your hosting server, your visitors may experience pauses and lags. And, you might know how annoying video buffering is.
So, first, upload your videos on a video host like YouTube and then embed those videos into your website. This can significantly improve your site’s loading time.
Fast-loading pages aren’t only user-friendly, they also help your site’s Google ranking. Plus, the ever-dwindling attention spans of people make it necessary for you to optimize your pages for speed.
You don’t want to lose your conversions just because your landing page takes more than 3 – 4 seconds to start loading.
However, it’s important that you realize this: You don’t need to implement all of these tactics to speed up page loading time.
If your website isn’t loading as fast as you would like, find out the loopholes by using the methods discussed in this article. Focus on the ones that need your attention and have a relatively higher impact on your site’s speed.