The very idea of a site loading faster sounds good in itself, but the underlying benefits that can come about from upping site speed are just short of amazing. Let’s face it, most people today don’t have the patience to wait for more than a couple of seconds for a site to load. Apart from the general appeal, site speed also influences rankings in Google’s search engine results as it directly impacts the availability to copious amounts of mobile users around the world. There are a few steps that can be taken to boost site speed, which can always be analyzed with Google PageSpeed Insights.
Leverage your browser caching
Caching essentially comes down to saving static files included in your page on the user’s end to make repeat visits faster. Well, another way to improve load speeds is to set up what is known as a Content Delivery Network or CDN. A CDN basically stores copies of a static version of a site across all of its servers. Then, when someone tries to access your site, the content is loaded from the server closest to them, boosting load times. This might seem like a small change, but in today’s society, time is money. Every second counts.
Image-heavy sites usually do this by default, ever wondered why photos on Facebook never retain their original resolution? Taking up the bulk of any site’s load time, images require the most care. Even if a particular landing page uses only two to three images, there are still valuable kilobytes that can be trimmed off. Fret not, tools like TinyPNG are free and deliver precisely what most of us need. The reduction can be as high as 80% without affecting image quality too much. With every image rendered at precisely the resolution needed on site, load times skyrocket.
Render-blocking is the equivalent of a bouncer outside a club. It prevents the display of already rendered content until the entirety of certain elements of your script and CSS are fully loaded in. This, as one might imagine, impacts load times and makes little to no sense. A page can be 90% loaded in, but because of one element that is still being processed, it will get clogged up and take valuable seconds away from user load times. This process can be a bit tricky to deal with, simply because it requires more insight into the inner-workings of a page, but is still manageable with the right guidelines.
Optimize for mobile
Taking special care of how a site behaves on mobile devices is one of the most important steps to take for SEO. Apart from AMP technology, there are ways to improve a site’s rating with nothing more than access to Google Chrome. The testing and adaptation of sites for various mobile devices hinge on three main points of interest: phone resolution, font choice, and navigation. By focusing on these three and testing different options, mobile load times improve – thereby improving SEO scores and visitor counts. With the market shifting towards mobile more and more, this could possibly be the most important step.
There is no shame in admitting that some of these areas simply aren’t within our area of expertise, and that is perfectly fine. Whenever unsure about any of these, professionals are an email or Skype message away. Who better to advocate the importance of page load speeds than the people in web design who face these problems every day. Apart from offering insight, these individuals often have unique solutions to these problems that can end up saving valuable time and resources.
As mentioned above, page load speeds greatly impact the traffic a certain site gets, both by the user’s trying to connect and the site’s very appearance on Google searches. The steps needed are more tedious than anything else, but offer way more bang for your proverbial buck. In this day where people have the patience of a squirrel with ADHD and expect everything to be a second away, every millisecond that can be shaved off of load times is a plus. Rodent comparisons aside, it all comes down to internet traffic. Speed leads to internet traffic, and traffic leads to income.