Page speed refers to how long it takes web pages or media content to downloaded from the website hosting servers and show on the requesting web browser.
Page load time is the duration between clicking the link and displaying the entire content from the web page on the requesting browser. There are three core aspects necessary to understand page speed in the context of user experience and website performance:
- View time to deliver the material with the accompanying HTML content to the browser.
- Browser response to page load requests.
- The view of end-users as the requested web page renders on the browser.
A critical factor in maximizing website performance is to focus on page speed optimization from its base. Performance optimization plugins, server-side scripts, and final tweaks have a minimal however noticeable impact on page speed and load times. Yet, Web developers and online business owners tend to overlook page load times in their website development and design strategies.
Why Are Page Speed Optimization Services Important to Website Success?
Google views the speed of your page as an important metric to rank your site among your competitors. Google’s main job is to provide users with search results that best fit their searches.
Not only do search engines serve pages with content that best fits the user’s query, but they also want to display websites that provide a great user experience. And you guessed it, page speed is part of a great user experience.
While page speed is important there are other factors that affect your bound rate such as readability and ease of navigation. Pages that load quickly appeal to site visitors and help to decrease bounce rate, another indicator to Google whether or not your site is a good one. When your site loads slowly, users will become frustrated and leave your website to find a site that will be quicker at getting them the information they need.
If consumers are consistently leaving your site, Google will notice and will drop your site in search engine rankings. If you have a high bounce rate, Google views your site as having a bad user experience, so they subsequently drop you in the rankings.
This means that if users don’t stay on your website long enough to read your content, Google believes that it must not be very good content or not what the user was looking for. You could have the best website and content out there, but your slow load time kept them from experiencing your website.
Factors That Contribute to Slow Load Time
There are a lot of factors that can contribute to slow load time including:
1.) Poor HTML coding
One way that your pages will load slowly is by having a poorly constructed HTML code on the backend of your website. HTML code is the brain behind the website, essentially it’s responsible for telling each page how to look when users view it on your website.
The code is made up of all sorts of tags that tell the page how to work and what to do. Every page on your website will have a page of code, and the larger and more complex your website is, the more complex your code will be. This is where it becomes easy for your code to become jumbled.
In order to keep your pages loading quickly, it’s important to ensure that there are no extra tags, and that everything is referenced properly. Otherwise, it will take the server longer to read the code causing a slow-loading site.
2.) Unoptimized graphics
Having good graphics on your site helps to provide a great user experience for your visitors. When you are providing a lot of information, it helps to break up the massive sea of text with a graphic that coincides with the topic of the information, this provides the viewer more context as well as a piece to keep them from getting bored. However, all graphics that you can add to your site pages can weigh your site down and cause it to load slowly.
Large, high-resolution photos are one of the biggest reasons that a page loads slowly. To make sure that your site has great graphics while also having a quick load time for a good user experience, you need to optimize your graphics.
Consider condensing your image files so that they’re not so bulky. It won’t change the visual size of the image but condense the file size so that it doesn’t take as long to load on your website.
3.) Overload of redirects
The job of a redirect is to replace all links to an old webpage with references to a new one. The redirects are bits of code that are placed within your .htaccess file in the server, and you can create as many as you need when you replace old pages on your site.
However, when you have tons of redirects on the same page, your site takes the time to reference the .htaccess file to find out the new location of where the link is pointing. This is essentially like loading links twice on your page which ramps up page load time. To reduce the number of redirects, remove all previous redirects for that link, and only keep the latest one.
Tools For Page Speed Optimization
Wondering how you can get started optimizing your page speed? Here are a few of our favorite web optimization tools to help you gauge your site’s page speed and figure out what you need to do to improve it.
1.) Google Search Console
When it comes to free tools to help you in your page speed optimization efforts, Google Search Console is probably the best of the best. It gives you all the valuable information to measure your website traffic and to understand your site’s performance.
TestMySite contains a speed scorecard where you can evaluate your speed vs. competitors. It has an impact calculator so you can estimate the impact speed is having on your business and allows you to build a report that includes these and some recommendations on things to focus on.