Turbo Charge Your Website – Top Tips From The Experts

Page speed is frequently considered to be the same as site speed, but according to Sarah Ellis who works for The Search Equation, there is a notable difference between the two.

What is Site Speed?

Site speed measures how quickly your website responds to requests. For example, how quickly a contact form might be sent, or a calculation made. Kind of, when you do this how long does it take for the site to do that!

What is Page Speed?

Page speed is a measurement solely how long it takes for the page to fully load and initially hit the first byte.

How Slow Page Loading Times Affect Your Customers

Research shows that slow pages have a bigger bounce rate. Basically, people get bored waiting and in a modern world, we all know that patience is no longer a viable virtue. People want the info and they want it now.

How Slow Page Loading Times Affect Your Site’s Indexing

While Google does not give away all its secrets with regards to the complex algorithms they use to decide what websites get the top spots on their results pages, it has implied that page speed and site speed are certainly important factors. SEO research seems to be indicating that how long it takes to git that first byte. This would make sense because a slow page speed means their bots take longer to access your content. As each site has an allocated ‘time budget’ a slow load means certain areas of your site might not get indexed at all.

To Evaluate Your Website Page Speed Go to Google PageSpeed Insights Page

This useful tool from Google helps developers reduce page speed loading times by analyzing it and then giving tips on how to reduce those times based on the results.

Some of the Quickest Ways to Increase your Page Speed Load Times

Enable Gzip Compression on Your Server

Gzip is a file compression software recommended for all e-commerce websites by Gareth Jones from Best Freelance SEO. Gzip works from your server side. It will compress any CSS, HTML or JavaScript files more than one hundred and fifty bytes. Not all servers have this enabled automatically. Another plus with Gzip is it can reduce bandwidth.

Minifying CSS, HTML & JavaScript Files

Websites are built using a combination of CSS, HTML & Javascript files to work. Many templates, plugins, module and component files are not compressed. When they are updated by developers it is not unusual for them to simply comma out large pieces of code that are now obsolete after the update – instead of removing them. Minifying can remove spaces, commas and obsolete code. Minifying can quite considerably increase loading times. There is free software that will do this for you online.

Reduce or Remove Redirects

Redirects add to waiting times. The direct route is always going to be faster – plane, train or webpage. Simple!

Render-blocking JavaScript

When you land on a page your browser begins to load the codes on that page. Javascripts need to be ‘executed’ and this can cause quite a delay as the browser stops loading the code and waits for the script to finish. Most developers today try to avoid them altogether. However, some might be essential to the functioning of your website. Indeed, it is best to avoid them altogether (using latest code alternatives) or at least keep them to the absolute essentials.

Leverage Browser Caching

Cache times should be the last thing you set if your website is still in development. When someone visits your site the lever browser caching sets how long images, javascript and stylesheets are saved in the browser. People ae often confused with how long is a ‘good time’ to set these times – Google has some good information here that can help you get it right for your website.

Improve server response time

Slow servers (underpowered) and slow databases can really slow up your page and site speed. Ensure you have a decent server with enough memory and good DB routing to stop bottlenecking and so improve server response time. Using a Content distribution network (CDN) can also help.

Optimize images

PNG images are best for graphics with less than sixteen colours. JPEGs are best for photographs. Never use an image larger than it needs to be. Sprites can be used to reduce loading times. All images should be compressed using software like Photoshop or one of the free online image compressors. There are plugins available to compress images automatically but they can be ‘off’ when it comes to quality.

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Rita Wells Author