Page Speed Optimization: Best Practices for Speeding Up Your Website
Face it! Nobody Will Wait for Your Slow Website
How fast does your website load? Both search engines and human consumers require websites and e-commerce stores to load in 3 seconds or less. Unfortunately, many consumer websites fall well short of that mark, which leaves you precisely one option: website page speed optimization. Let’s take a look at what website page optimization means, how it works, what business and website owners need to consider, and how to get started. The rest is up to you. Better hurry! Consumers are waiting!
Does this sound familiar?
You come across this link to a website that features content that interests you. You can’t wait to see more. But the damn site is not loading. Of yes, you get that little spinner thingy! But that’s not what you want, is it? You want the actual site content. Somewhat patiently, you wait and wait, and after about 4-8 seconds, you end up leaving. And that website you were trying to open? That just became another victim of lacking website page speed optimization!
The average time it takes to load the average mobile landing page is 22 seconds. However, research also indicates 53% of people will leave a mobile page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Google
Here is what’s going on. Google considers page speed as one of its search ranking factors. Simply put, slow websites are going to drop down so far in rankings as to be virtually useless. It does not matter how awesomely cool, super innovative, or fantastically awesome your website and content are. If your site does not load visitors will not see it, will they? That is why website page speed optimization is essential if you want to meet your business objectives.
What Makes a Slow Website?
There are many reasons why a website or page is loading slowly. Among the most common are:
- Hosting provider
- Server configuration
- Website theme or framework
- Plugins and extensions
- Unoptimized website content
Luckily for you, there are several free tools you can use to check on your website page speed and fix any shortcomings and bottlenecks. I recommend any of the following: GTMetrix, Google Pagespeed Insights, and Pingdom.
The Benefits of Website Page Speed Optimization
Boosting website page speed will provide you with two main benefits. What I mean by that is that you can measure the results. For one, improving your website page speed will improve your overall search rankings, and potentially this can be quite a dramatic improvement. The other key benefit of website page speed optimization is improved user experience. A faster site makes it easier for website visitors to consume more content.
Based on the analysis of 150,000 websites, 82.89% have issues that negatively affect page speed. SEMRush
And there is one more benefit of website page speed optimization that many website owners do not realize. By analyzing what exactly is slowing down your website, you can frequently find both outdated content and functionality. Removing the obsolete content will make your site appear fresh and relevant. And by eliminating or updating outdated functionality, you once again provide a better user experience for your website visitors.
How to Start Website Page Speed Optimization
Many website owners and business marketers believe that building and launching their business website is the end of it. It is only the beginning. As I like to say, launching a website is like giving birth to a baby. If you want it to grow, you need to support and maintain it, which is where ongoing website maintenance comes in.
Website page speed optimization can be a lengthy process. There are many different strategies and methods, and not all work equally well for every site or play well together at all. In some cases, website page speed optimization comes at a cost. Here at the innovative web design agency, we were ecstatic when our page load speed dropped to .32 seconds! Until we realized none of our contact forms were loading. Yikes!
My first recommendation for website page speed optimization is to start slowly and to have a plan. The first thing you should do is to make a complete website backup! That way, you are covered in case your contact forms go missing as well. Once you have that initial backup, you can take the first real steps in your website page speed optimization. Yes, this could take a while!
Website Page Speed Optimization Best Practices
You see, there are several different parts to website page speed optimization you need to consider. Many website owners I talk to are not optimizing their website images, and that can drag down your page load speed. Other websites are utilizing outdated templates and frameworks. Many sites do not optimize their hosting environment, and others are simply too bloated to be fast. The list goes on and on!
So, where can the average website or business owner even begin their website page speed optimization? Good question. I took some time to look into this and found this excellent infographic from TechWyse. It shows you the best practices to boost your website page load speed. This cheat sheet is a must for internet marketers or anyone who wants to improve their site’s performance and rankings.
Website Page Speed Optimization
Infographic courtesy of TechWyse
A Few WordPress Tools for Website Page Speed Optimization
Here at the innovative web design agency, we specialize in mobile-first WordPress websites and e-commerce stores. As a result, we have quite a bit of experience in optimizing WordPress page load speed. And over the years, we discovered several WordPress plugins that will make WordPress website page speed optimization easier, if not necessarily a breeze. Here are a few favorites:
WordPress experts recognize WP Rocket as the most effective WordPress caching plugin. It provides many advanced features and tools for website page speed optimization. While there are many configuration options for advanced users, it also offers simple setup options for less experienced users.
Autoptimize makes optimizing your site simple. It can aggregate, minify and cache scripts and styles, injects CSS in the page head by default (but can also defer), moves and defers scripts to the footer, and minifies HTML.
This plugin extends Autoptimize to create critical CSS rules automatically. These rules inject the correct critical CSS in different types of pages to ensure these pages are rendered even before the full CSS is loaded, improving the “start to render time” and user experience.
Increase your website’s SEO ranking, the number of visitors, and, ultimately, your sales by optimizing any image or PDF document on your website. ShortPixel is an easy to use, lightweight, install-and-forget-about-it image optimization plugin that can compress all your past images and PDF documents with a single click. New photos are automatically resized/rescaled and optimized on the fly, in the background.
Another aspect of website page speed optimization is your actual website hosting. Especially if you have a WordPress website, you should look into optimized WordPress hosting. Here is a comparison of WordPress website hosting providers to help you decide.
You can also receive two months of free hosting through WPEngine, our preferred WordPress hosting provider. Simply select the appropriate plan for your business, and you are on your way to savings and a faster website. Score!
A Note of Caution
Before you begin website page speed optimization, you may want to check in with your current or intended hosting provider. Some managed hosting providers place limitations on page speed optimization software or plugins as they can interfere with their optimization protocols. These conflicts can render your site inoperable, so proceed with caution!
Need Help with Your Website Page Speed Optimization?
Of course, we would be happy to help you add and implement any or all of our tips for speeding up your website. We are experts at carefully crafting fast-loading mobile-first websites and online stores to meet mobile user expectations.
Here at PixoLabo, we offer a full range of mobile-first business website consulting and design services, including mobile-first web design and development, e-commerce solutions, search engine optimization, brand strategy, and design, and business website hosting and maintenance.
And if you are still not sure exactly how website page speed optimization will improve your mobile user experience, don’t worry! Simply reach out and contact us. Our expert team will listen to you, answer your questions, and determine the best way for your website to provide your users with the fast-loading user experience they expect. That is one of our specialties, after all!
How Did Website Page Speed Optimization Work for You?
How did you do with your own website page speed optimization? Which obstacles or shortcomings were you trying to resolve. Did you achieve measurable results, and were they what you expected? Or is this entire website page speed optimization still a big mystery for you?
Keep in mind that no single page speed optimization strategy or tool will work equally well under all circumstances. You may need to adjust for your page speed optimization to provide the results YOU require. Feel free to let us know what works and doesn’t work for you.
Here are some additional conversion rate optimization tips if you find yourself in need of higher search rankings and more conversions. You can also find more website optimization and other innovative web design tips on our blog.
Now, go and build your search rankings, get more search traffic, engage a new audience, you know where I am going with this, right!
Thank you! We appreciate your help to end bad business websites, one pixel at a time!