Everyone’s in a rush, right?
After all, there’s lots to do in modern life:
Send that email, write up that document, binge watch the latest Netflix series.
So when it comes to browsing the web, site speed matters.
In this post, I’ll cover seven easy fixes you can make on your website to improve your site speed and keep your users (and Google) happy.
What is a good page load time (and why should I care)?
According to Google, best practice for a good page load time is three seconds.
In fact, according to its recent benchmark report findings, as page load time goes from one to 10 seconds, the probability of a mobile user bouncing increases by 123%.
And it makes sense.
Because let’s be honest, a slow site is annoying (and not only for returning visitors).
It can also lead to a loss in subscribers, customers and even conversions.
Just a few extra seconds could have a huge impact on your ability to engage visitors and turn them into customers.
Studies have shown a one-second delay in page load time can result in:
- 11% fewer pageviews
- 16% decrease in customer satisfaction
- 7% loss in conversions
How to check your site speed
Head over to Google’s PageSpeed Insights to check your site speed.
Just type in your domain, hit “Analyze” and wait for the results to show up.
If you’re a Monitor Backlinks user, there’s another super quick and easy way to check your website’s speed.
Head over to your dashboard and check out the quick stats across the top. You’ll see your page speed right there along with your number of backlinks, Domain Authority, Spam Score and more.
You can even hover over it to get more info about your page speed, or click on it to be taken directly to the PageSpeed Insights analysis for your website.
If you’re not a Monitor Backlinks user, you can still take advantage of everything it has to offer by signing up for a free trial. No credit card required.
How to Improve Site Speed: 7 Simple Fixes for a Faster Website
Now you know the importance of site speed and how to check it, let’s jump in and learn how to improve it.
Here are the seven things to fix on your website for an immediate speed boost:
Your homepage is often the first impression people get and should be directly related to the goal of your website.
After all, getting homepage backlinks is what’s going to get a good amount of people visiting your site in the first place.
So it goes without saying:
If your homepage is slow to load, you’re going to have a problem.
Here are a few things you can do to make sure that your homepage loads quickly:
- Show excerpts instead of full posts.
- Reduce the number of posts on the page.
- Remove unnecessary sharing widgets.
- Remove inactive plugins that you don’t need.
- Keep it minimal! Readers are here for your content.
Overall, keeping your homepage design clean and focused will not only help your site load faster, but will also make it look better too!
When it comes to images, larger files generally take longer to download than small files.
In fact, according to HTTP Archive, images make up on average 66% of a total webpage’s space.
Simply put, page load time depends on the total size of images being downloaded from hosting servers to the requesting browser.
So you know those high-quality images you have on your site?
Well, they’re the biggest contributor to webpage size, slowing sites down and annoying visitors by making them wait for the page to load.
Try these quick image optimizations to help reduce any impact on your website’s speed:
- If image quality is a high priority, use JPG format. If you’re uploading icons, logos, illustrations etc., go for PNG format.
- Match the dimensions of your image to your webpage. Browser resizing capabilities can make images responsive by setting fixed-width and auto-height instructions.
- Compress images to get the right balance between image size and quality.
- Keep the number of images to a minimum overall and try to only use them when they add something to the page.
If you want to dig deeper into optimizing your images (and you’re on WordPress), then check out the guide we put together right here.
It wasn’t that long ago that 30KB was considered as the perfect webpage size.
(And that included images, content, graphics and code!)
Boy, have things changed. Now the average webpage size is over 2MB—that’s quite an increase.
- Use less declarations and operators to reduce the size of your code.
- Keep CSS code light and simple for servers to download and process efficiently.
If you were to load CSS outside of this section, it would prevent web browsers from displaying CSS content right after downloading it. No one wants that.
When it comes to plugins, less is more!
Because with the additional website functionality that plugins bring, often site speed is the trade off.
It’s tempting to use lots of plugins to jam-pack your site with features. It’s also handy to avoid having to do any manual coding.
Plugins serve a purpose, but don’t get clog up your website with too many just because you think they sound cool.
When selecting plugins, keep these questions in mind:
- Does the plugin perform complex operations?
- Does it load lots of content assets and scripts?
- Does it increase the number of database queries?
- Does it perform requests using external APIs?
If the answer to all these questions is “yes”… don’t install that plugin!
A web cache is a way of temporarily storing copies of web content. It lets users request web data from the cache database when specific conditions are met.
This reduces the number of client-server requests taken in delivering website content to requesting browsers.
(AKA it gives users what they want faster.)
Either check with your hosting service about server-side caching, or enable it yourself using one of the following plugins:
#6. Content Delivery Networks (CDN)
CDN stands for content delivery network.
There are a few different CDNs available, some of the most popular include:
When starting out with hosting, a shared host might seem like a bargain.
However, it comes at a cost:
Slow site speed.
If your site gets periods of high traffic, expect to see downtime. You get what you pay for.
If you plan on publishing content and driving traffic to your site, shared hosting could severely slow down your site.
Just imagine scoring a few great backlinks and picking up momentum only for your site to crash because the server can’t handle all the new visitors.
Doesn’t sound so good, does it?
So, do your research when it comes to choosing your hosting provider. The best ones will have all their bases covered when it comes to three things: speed, support and security.
Make the investment into a good hosting service and keep your site running smoothly.
Page speed + SEO = 👍
Every year search engines continue to push the importance of site speed.
Having a fast site is essential.
Not just for ranking well with Google, but for keeping your users engaged and your site profitable, too.