THE TOP 5 AWESOME POINTS YOU MUST KNOW ABOUT WEBSITE SPEED OPTIMIZATION
We get it – there’s tons of fancy “tech terms” floating around these days. Website Speed Optimization is one of them.
And this term is DEFINITELY worth knowing about. Especially if you have a website that you want to rank high on search engines.
In this article, we will explain to the novice user the importance of website speed optimization. To make things simple, we will divide the article into several sections. Let’s quickly begin! (no pun intended)
Table of Contents
- What is Website Speed Optimization? And why does it matter?
- Website Speed affects Search Engines Ranking
- Tools to test your Website Speed
- Tools to optimize your website speed
- Technical terms about website speed optimization
1. What is Website Speed Optimization? And why does it matter?
In the age of Google’s HummingBird and Panda, Page Load Speed is a ranking factor in search results (which we will talk about later). However, in this part we will explain in detail what website speed optimization means.
First of all, let’s agree on the fact that no one likes a website that takes forever to load – or maybe much less than forever! Believe it or not, no one likes a page if it takes more than 5 seconds.
When a user visits your website and it takes them more than 5 seconds, they will leave ! And trust me, the odds of them returning are slim to none. With that said, you want an average page load time of your website to be less than 2 seconds. The truth is, we live in an age of people with very short attention spans.
That’s enough bad news. Let’s get some “informative” news.
Your website’s page load time depends on many factors. The top 5 are as follows :
- Your Hosting’s Server Capabilities: Maybe you were excited to start your new website and your budget was not the highest. Or for any other reason, you decided to go for the cheaper option of purchasing shared hosting. If that’s the case, then this will be the first step you need to work on. To explain further, shared hosting means you share the server’s resources with other websites. If one of the shared websites gets peak of traffic, yours will receive less resources. Ultimately, this means your website will find it very difficult to respond, and will take much longer to load.
- Your Website’s HTML Code: If your developer or your website development company did not do a very job at optimizing the HTML Code, then you will not be in the best position to claim the extra 2 seconds of your website’s page load speed. This also includes the positioning of code, which is equally as important.
- Set up of Browser Caching for your website’s files: There is an awesome feature in modern internet browsers (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, etc) that allow websites to store their files in the browser’s memory. With that said, if ME the user, visits YOUR website for the first time, it will take the WHOLE time it needs to load each file. Whereas if I visit the website for the second time, it will take MUCH LESS time to load. The reason being because my browser stored some of the files (images, and assets files), only because you have cache set up for your website. Overall, website cache will affect website speed, so it’s best to take care of it.
- Your website’s Images’ sizes: This has to be one of the most important and most obvious factor. If you want your website’s load speed to be significantly reduced, then you need to take care of the images’ sizes. Each image should be compressed by an online or non-online tool. Therefore, when it gets uploaded on your site, it has a small enough size to load fast.
In short, your website page load speed depends on many factors, with SIZE being the main center point. However, to get a better page load speed, you will need to do Optimization.
2. Website Speed Optimization affects Search Engines Ranking
If you have been around the website and internet marketing scene for awhile, you will know that a better ranking on search engines is the ultimate goal you can strive for.
Let’s be honest here, you want to be SEEN ! You want your website to get traffic (visitors). And unless you have gazillion dollars in your budget to purchase paid ads, you will NEED to do SEO – Search Engine Optimization -.
Hopefully we have been very convincing in describing the importance of good search engine presence for your website. We are now eager to tell you Why Website Speed Optimization is CRUCIAL for Search Engine Optimization.
One of the biggest ranking factors for Search Engines is page load speed. Actually, it goes deeper than that, with a term called Bounce Rate. In simple terms, Bounce Rate is calculation of how long the visitor will stay on your website. If your website is slow, then visitors will “jump” and “bounce” off your website very fast !
Bouncing rate is a high ranking factor too, so you’re hitting two birds with one stone. The problem is, you lose with this hit.
It goes without saying, if you want to be on the search engines good side, make sure you have a very fast website.
3. Tools to Test Your Website Speed
To test your website speed in factual numbers, you will have to use one of these tools :
- Google Page Speed Test: This has to be the first and most important tool to give you accurate results. However, it will not give you the accurate results about the website speed. Instead, it gives you an idea about what you can DO to optimize your website. We always use google page speed test as first assessment for the website.
- Pingdoom Tools – Website Speed Test: Pingdom tool for website speed testing has been around for a long time, and is very simple. It is the tool that runs your website on a server of many servers, owned by the company all over the globe. It gives an accurate reading to see how many seconds / milli-seconds it takes to load. It then gives you a small report of what is causing the lag. With that said, Google page speed test report is more thorough and more important.
- WebPage Test: This has to be one of the oldest tools out there to measure web pages load time. It also offers a full timeline of loading per each file.
- Gtmetrix: This has to be our favourite tool of the list, and that’s why it comes last. The GTMetrix tool assesses your website’s load time by running it through one of its servers (same as pingdoom). At the same time, it runs the google page speed test report ( but google’s one is more thorough and accurate ). Furthermore, it adds the waterfall feature to accurately determine how long it takes to load each file (similar to webpage test’s, but less accurate ). In short, gtmetrix gives you a broader idea about your website’s speed state.
4. Tools to optimize your website speed
After we laid out the tools to check if the speed of your website is hot or not, it is now time to bring to your attention to the tools you will need to make your website lightning fast.
First, we need to determine the technology you are using for your website. Are you using a CMS ? Or perhaps you’re using a subscription fee website builder service ?
Technical terms about website speed optimization
The following terms are always used when the discussion about page load times optimization start.
- Gzip Compression: The GZIP Compression is a technique performed to compress your website files before sending them to the browser. It is performed on the server side. And it is essential for your website speed optimization arsenal.
- Content Delivery Network (CDN): To make sure that your assets ( images, CSS and JS files ) are being served to everywhere in the globe without delays, or without any interruptions ( when your server goes down). You are better off with a subscription of one of the Content Delivery Network providers, where they server your site’s assets from several servers all over the globe.
- User Experience (UX):
- TTL (Time to Live ): In general, TTL, is the time taken for a packet of network to live (lifespan). This is used to determine if the server should stop propagating the DNS record or not.
- Responsive Design: A responsive web design, means the website is “fluid” on all screens. So if you browse a website on your mobile phone, the width,height and all other dimensions in your website, will decrease to be suitable for smaller screens.
- User Interface (UI): User interface is the front-end design of the website.
- Images Optimization: Images optimization is the process of decreasing the size of the images and compressing them to be smaller in size. As long as images are smaller in size, means it will load faster, which will have positive results on the whole website speed optimization. You can check the Kings Of The Web’s tool about images compression.