Website Page Speed Optimization – Best Practices for Speeding Up Your Website
Face it! Nobody Will Wait for Your Slow Website
Does this sound familiar?
You come across this link to a website that features content that really 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 fully 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 their key search ranking factors. Simply put, slow websites are simply going to drop down so far in rankings as to be virtually useless. No matter how awesomely cool, super innovative, or fantastically awesome your website and content are; if your site does not load nobody will actually see it, will they? Which makes website page speed optimization essential if you want to meet your business objectives.
What Makes a Slow Website?
There are any number of 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
Lucky for you there are a number of free tools you can use to check on your own 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 actually 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 are not aware of. By analyzing what exactly is slowing down your website you can frequently find both outdated content and functionality. Removing the outdated content will make your website appear fresh and relevant. And by removing 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 and business owners believe that building and launching their business website is the end of it. Actually, 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 process. Yes, this could take a while!
Website Page Speed Optimization Best Practices
You see, there are a number of different website page speed optimization you need to consider. Many website owners I talk to are not optimizing their website images, and that can really drag down your page load speed. Other websites are utilizing outdated templates and frameworks. Many websites 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 Website Page Speed Optimization Tools
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 a number of WordPress plugins that will make WordPress website page speed optimization easier, if not necessarily a breeze. Here are a few favorites:
Autoptimize makes optimizing your site really easy. 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 automatically create critical CSS rules. 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, 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 images 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.
Or you can get up to 4 months free hosting through WPEngine, our preferred WordPress hosting provider. Simply select the appropriate plan and link below, and you are on your way to savings and a faster website. Score!
Up to 4 Months FREE Hosting!
Startup Plan – One site
Growth Plan – Up to 5 sites
Scale Plan – Up to 15 sites
A Note of Caution
Before you begin your own website page speed optimization process you may want to check in with your current or in tended hosting provider. Some managed hosting providers place limitations on page speed optimization software or plugins as they can interfere with their own optimization protocols. These conflicts can render your site inoperable, so proceed with caution!
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?
Business and website owners can take the first steps to optimize their page load speed, but this process can quickly get technical. And yes, there are plenty of opportunities to break things on your site during the process. Therefore I recommend that before you dive too far into website page speed optimization you at least consult with a professional web designer to help you plan and take the next steps.
Keep in mind that no single website page speed optimization strategy or tool will work equally well under all circumstances. You may need to adjust for your own page speed optimization to provide the results YOU are looking for. Feel free to let me 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!
Thanks, we appreciate your help in eradicating bad business websites!
By Gregor Schmidt
Co-Founder / Creative Technologist