The very important reason you need to make sure your website web pages are fast-loading include:
1. SEO – Google ranking
A slow website is bad for SEO. Another thing to be aware of is the Google doesn’t like web pages that load slowly and hence tend to favor faster websites.
The SEO implication of this is that slow-loading sites drop in Google ranking while fast-loading sites get a ranking boost.
Of course, page speed alone is not the only ranking factor Google uses but it plays a very critical role.
In this post, I want to show you the effective ways you can improve your website speed (make the pages load faster).
2. Bounce rate
Slow websites result in higher bounce rates. To retain your visitors you have to make the pages faster.
3. User experience
Obviously, no one likes slow websites. Most people will leave your site if it takes longer than expected to load. And some will remember the site name that next time they see it on Google search result they won’t click… This will also affect the page ranking on Google.
Check your website speed
The first step you might want to take is to see how fast or slowly your pages are loading. Interestingly there are great tools to check web pages loading speed for free and see where your pages need improvements.
Website speed optimization techniques
- Use a fast, SEO optimized theme
- Reduce image sizes
- Install and configure caching plugin
- Minimize the number of widgets and plugins
- Minify HTML, JS and CSS files
- Enable GZIP compression
- Choose a better web hosting
Use a fast/light-weight theme
Some themes are not only poorly but have little or no optimization for SEO. Also, themes with too many fancy features are often slower because of various elements bundled into it.
Ever wondered why Google web pages are simple and fast? They focus on simplicity and user experience and not on cool features. A better design for websites is to keep it nice and simple.
So when choosing a theme for your site don’t get carried away by awesome features that are oftentimes not even necessary. Go for speed and user experience.
Reduce image sizes
Thinks about 100BK and 1MB (1024KB) images, which will load faster? You guessed right… The 100KB file will load faster!
Reducing image sizes is like the easiest thing to do but I notice that many websites (especially bloggers) don’t do it.
Before inserting an image in your post, check if the size is big and use an image editing tool (I often use Fotor for Windows) to edit the image and reduce its size.
The cool thing about this is that you can reduce image size by up to 70% while still maintaining good quality and the same (or large enough) dimensions.
Use a caching plugin
Web browsers can store web pages – HTML, Images and other components so that they are quickly loaded from there (instead of the server) next time you open the page on the browser. You can read the technical details about caching here.
There are SEO plugins that will handle caching for your site. So you don’t need to understand the technicalities behind caching before you can implement it on your site.
If you are on WordPress then W3Total cache or WP Super Cache can do this for you. See this step by step guide on how to configure W3Total cache plugin.
Minimize the number of widgets and plugins
More plugins and widgets mean more components to load… and the result is a slow-loading page.
There are thousands of plugins in the WordPress repository and we all know how plugins can make things easy for our sites.
But too many plugins can significantly slow down your site. So pick only those few must use plugins your site needs so you keep things at the barest minimum.
Minify HTML, JS and CSS files
There are activate-and-go plugins for this. For example, the W3Total plugin already mentioned in this post has the feature for minifying your scripts.
See the link I provided above on how to configure W3Total cache for WordPress.
Enable GZIP compression
GZIP compression reduces the size of your text, HTML, JS and CSS files. By reducing the sizes of these text files compression adds to the speed of your site.
For WordPress sites see how to enable GZIP compression with a plugin OR by pasting a code in your .htaccess file:
Choose a better web hosting
Some web hosting are slow. This is why it pays to read reviews about the hosting provider before purchasing their hosting plan.
But if you are already using a bad, slow hosting you can migrate to a better one. I can migrate your site if you don’t want to go through the headache. Just contact me and I will handle the migration for you.
Apply other SEO techniques
And here are some final words: take action and improve the overall SEO for your website. This comprehensive SEO tutorial will go a log well to help you acheieve that.