Monday, January 14, 2019

Complete Guide To Improve Your Page Speed

You definitely want conversions from your website but a slow site can literally kill conversions. 

Starting July 2018, page speed became a ranking factor for mobile searches. It was already a ranking factor for desktop searches since 2010


People often get confused between page speed and site speed but in reality, page speed is the individual loading time for a particular web page while site speed is the average load speed of the pages contained in your site. 

Both site speed and page speed are important because users want search results that load faster.

What Is The Ideal Loading Time For A Website?

The ideal load time for a website is 2 seconds. The longer the wait, the higher the chances of user bouncing back and the lesser the conversions.

Besides, the average time to first byte should be under 1.3 seconds and the total size for a mobile webpage should be less than 500 KB

Tools To Check Your Site/Page Speed

The following tools are helpful in checking the site/page speed in order to improve the overall user experience.

1- Google Page Speed Insights - This tool analyzes the content of your webpage and provides suggestions to improve the speed in the form of opportunities and diagnostics. 

2- Mobile Site Speed Checker - In order to check the loading time of your website on mobile devices, you can use this tool from Google. This tool tests the site speed on a 3G connection because around 78% of mobile devices still run on a 3G connection. Besides, this tool analyzes the HTML and JavaScript in order to provide you with the best suggestions to improve your page load speed.

How to Improve Site Speed?

In order to improve the overall performance of your website loading time, I would recommend you to follow the below suggestions:

1- Enable Compression

File compression allows developers to compress one or more files into a smaller file. This reduces the overall file size thereby reducing the bandwidth and enabling the page to load faster.

2- Minify HTML, CSS and JS

It is always better to minify HTML, CSS, and Javascript because it can drastically improve the performance of your website. Use the below tools to minify your page resources:

- UglifyJS2 to minify JS.
- HTML minifier to minify HTML.
- CSS Nano to minify CSS.

3- Minimize Redirect Chains

In order to reduce the burden on Googlebot and to improve the wait time, it is recommended to minimize the number of HTTP or WWW redirects. Besides, it is recommended to use 301 permanent redirects instead of 302.

GTMetrix is a great tool that identifies the type of redirects and provides suggestions to optimize them. 

4- Improve Time To First Byte (TTFB) 

Your server is the most important part of your website. A faster server takes less time to process requests and returns faster results to the user. On the other hand, a slow server often takes a lot of time to return the first byte of information and thereby decreases the site speed. Hence, it is important to choose the right web hosting because your hosting service provider will play a deciding role in optimizing TTFB and keeping your site faster. 

5- Leverage Browser Caching 

You need to change the request headers of your resources to leverage browser caching. When you add a small piece of code in the .htaccess file in order to leverage browser caching then the webpage gets stored in the local computer whenever the resource is visited. When the user visits the page next time, the site loads much faster because it is already stored on the local computer. Leveraging browser caching can be extremely useful in improving the performance of your web pages.

6- Perform Compression Audit

Perform a compression audit by taking a Gzip test. This tool tests whether you have Gzip compression enabled. Enabling Gzip compression will let you minimize bandwidth by up to 70%, therefore, improving your site loading speed.

In order to enable Gzip compression, just place the below code in the .htaccess file (works with apache):

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html
   AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain
   AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml
   AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-javascript
   AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript
   AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/javascript
   AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/x-js
   AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css

   # Highest 9 - Lowest 1
   DeflateCompressionLevel 9

   # Skip browsers with known problems
   BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4 gzip-only-text/html
   BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4\.0[678] no-gzip
   BrowserMatch \bMSIE !no-gzip !gzip-only-text/html

7- Fix All Broken Links

Broken links can be really annoying because it wastes your bandwidth. Hence, it is extremely important to fix all the broken links on your website. 

You can find all the broken links with the help of tools like Broken Link Checker or with the help of the Google Search Console

8- Use Image Sprites 

Image sprites is a technique by which all the images are combined to form a single image. This image is known as the “Sprite Sheet” image. Here is a sample code for creating image sprites:

sprite-sheet {
  background-image: url(sprite-sheet.png);
  width: 40px;
  height: 25px;
}

.google-logo {
  width: 125px;
  height: 45px;
  background-position: -190px -170px;
}

.gmail {
  background-position: -150px -210px;
}

.maps {
  height: 40px;
  background-position: -120px -165px;
}
Using image sprites can significantly improve your page speed. Besides, you can also consider lazy loading that delays rendering of images unless needed. 

Final Thoughts

Website speed is a decisive factor when it comes to attaining higher organic rankings on Google and other search engines. Especially, in the case of mobile, website speed plays a crucial role. Google prefers sites that load quickly (in less than 3 seconds) because this drastically improves the user experience. Check your site speed using the tools suggested in this article and implement the suggestions in order to have a faster and user-friendly website. 

Also See:

Page Speed Important for Ranking
Google Search Quality Updates
mod Page Speed for Apache
Search Experience Optimization
Google Shares Views on Guest Blogging and Links
EMD Update
Page Layout Algorithm

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