How to Improve Website Page Loading Times
In April of 2010, Google employees Matt Cutts and Amit Singhal stated:
“You may have heard that here at Google we’re obsessed with speed, in our products and on the web. As part of that effort, today we’re including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed. Site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests.”
Search engine rankings greatly rely on page loading times. The slower your website’s pages take to load, the more likely potential customers will get frustrated and leave before knowing what you have to offer them. Most likely you will be frustrated visiting your own site as well! So how can you speed up your website’s pages? Is it even possible to do it yourself?
The answer is yes, you have the power to fix the slowness found on your website. In today’s blog post, we’ll show you ways you can test the speed of your website and some tips on how to solve the speed problems if there are any.
Testing Your Site’s Speed
There are many resources you can use to test the speed of your website, but we’ll only list a couple of them on this blog. The first is Web Page Test (http://www.webpagetest.org/). You simply put in your website’s URL and fill out the rest of the short form before pushing the yellow “Start Test” button. We’ll test the speed for the Digital Trike website using this tool.
Then you wait a few minutes before seeing your results.
Once you get your results, you’ll be able to see your site’s speed by comparing the original site to the optimized site. Optimized will usually always be faster when it comes to speed.
Click on “View Test” underneath each column to see a grade report for each part that takes up loading time on your page.
As you can see, Digital Trike has A’s in all but one of the categories listed for its optimized website. You can continue to scroll down to see additional detailed graphs and charts of your website’s speed performance.
You can even view a video to compare the original loading time vs. the optimized loading time!
Another tool you can use is Pingdom (http://tools.pingdom.com/). This site doesn’t take as long to test your website’s speed. Just put in your website’s URL and click “Test Now” to see your results!
Digital Trike scored an 83/100 on this speed test. There will be four tabs you can click on to see additional information on your website.
Same as the other website, our browser caching on our new website needs some work!
How to Improve Your Website’s Speed
Here are some simple steps for what you can do to improve your page load times if your speed testing showed that your site is performing poorly.
Install a Caching Plugin to WordPress Sites
If you have WordPress site, a website caching plugin is important to have. Rather than generating pages dynamically each time a new visitor lands on your website, caching plugins enable your site to store copies of web pages. This reduces load times and speeds up the performance of your site. W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache are two good free options that you can install for your WordPress site.
Reduce File Sizes
File sizes can have a huge impact on your site’s loading time. Storing large image files on your site can dramatically slow page load times, as can large files of any type (including PDFs, Word Documents and others). If possible, reduce your image sizes and resolutions using a program like Photoshop and consider storing large documents in zip files. If you’re storing sensitive documents, this has an additional SEO benefit, as zip files aren’t indexed by the search engines and, therefore, won’t be listed in the search engine results pages.
Use Plugins Wisely
With the WordPress framework, plugins are available to handle just about any task you can think of, from sending your posts to Twitter to managing galleries of pictures and videos. However, the size of these plugin files adds up, so to improve page load times, it’s smart to only use plugins you need, use plugins that handle two or more tasks at once and delete any plugins you aren’t using.
Following these guidelines will help improve your page load times and, consequently, your search engine rankings.
Additional Facts about Website Loading Times
Are you still not convinced that having a slightly slower website is a problem? We found this infographic on KissMetrics to show you just how big of a deal it can be. The facts found in this are pretty crazy!
We hope this brief blog post about improving page loading time will be helpful if you are in need of speeding up your website! If you feel you have done everything you can to speed up your site but are still finding it to be slow, there may be problems that only tech experts can fix. That’s where we come in. Contact Digital Trike today for any questions or concerns you may have with your website’s loading time. We’ll be sure to speed up your website in no time for everyone to enjoy!