How to Improve Your Website Speed and Why a Fast Website is Important

Good SEO and Web Design Mean Little if Your Website Doesn’t Load Fast

You don’t need a study to tell you that consumers will abandon a website and move on to another if the pages don’t load fast, but plenty of studies confirm this. In your own experience you’ve probably come across website content that just didn’t load fast enough and you quickly navigated away before seeing what the site had to offer. No matter what your digital marketing goals a good quality, fast and easy to navigate website should be at the core.

What if it is your business website that is slow? Today’s almost universally impatient customers aren’t going to wait. Not only does this process naturally reduce your website traffic, but Google and others know we don’t like to wait! They take that into consideration when it comes to rewarding or punishing your website in search engine results. Google Ads and other PPC advertising will also be negatively impacted with poor website speed. All other things being equal, if your website loads slower than your competitors you’re likely going to pay more per click. 

So how can we compare our websites to others and what can we do to speed up a slow website?

Is your website slow?

There’s several great, free tools out there to test your website quickly and easily. Most of them will also provide suggestions about how you can improve your website to make it load faster.

Here are some of the best tools for measuring page speed we’ve found and used:

Google still has a pretty substantial hold on the search engine market share so we tend to stick with Google PageSpeed Insights, since we’re most concerned with satisfying their algorithms.

Most Common and Effective Optimizations to Speed Up Your Site

  • Website caching: Enabling caching on your website improves user experience by allowing your customer’s browser to store files that will be used for multiple pages of your website as well as when they return to your website in the future. By storing some information on your customers browser they will not have to wait for all elements of your website to download each time they visit a page. If you have a WordPress website you will find an array of plugins that will enable caching for you. Many will also have additional features designed to enhance page speed.
  • Reduce Image File Sizes: When your website loads on a user’s computer their wait time depends on how much information has to transfer from your server to their computer. We see it all the time with images: You want your photos to look great on your website so you upload them straight from your camera or cell phone. The problem is that these files are often more than a megabyte (MB), and sometimes up to 8 MB in size. In reality you can typically get images that look clear and crisp on all device screens with a file size of less than 1/10th of a megabyte (or 100kb) and for logos and smaller images often substantially less than that. Every little bit counts and it’s incredible what 1 large photo can do to slow down your web page. Photoshop has a “save for web” option and there are also plugins available for WordPress websites that will automatically reduce your media files for you.
  • Upgrade Hosting: You get what you pay for. Often you sacrifice speed when you opt for the cheapest hosting option. There are additional pros and cons to different types of web hosting which is more than we’ll get into here, but you can find a relatively succinct breakdown from Web Hosting Secret Revealed.
  • Minify CSS and Javascript: This sounds difficult but it’s really fairly straightforward. The goal is to reduce your CSS and Javascript files to the bare minimum number of characters by removing spaces, comments, line breaks, and block delimiters from the files. WordPress has multiple plugins for this. It will be necessary to test your website before and after to ensure that nothing is broken with the changes.

SEO, Digital Marketing and Web Design in the Bay Area

These above are just some of the things you can do to improve your website speed, user experience, and ultimately get the SEO benefits that come with a better, faster website. If you’re considering improving your website, revamping your website or starting a new website from scratch we can help. Let’s get started today! Call 510-276-9904 or contact us today.