Things you can do to Improve Page Load Times
Loading speeds can certainly make or break a website. In times where users are overload with options, they don’t want to wait too much for a page to load. And by too much I’m referring to about 2 to 3 seconds. Websites should be fast and optimized to better load so that the user don’t have time to think about leaving the page until it loads. If you page takes more than 6 to 7 seconds to load, chances are you are already loosing users. Fast pages lead to lower bounce rates, better retention, higher engagement and better conversions. So before risking loosing users because your page is not up to expectations, check out some things you can do to improve page load times.
Website speed is not only important to keep users and to convert better, but it is also important for Google ranking purposes – because they do consider site speed into their algorithm. And the good thing is that Google have assembled great resources to help designers/developers tackle this issue. From a tool called PageSpeed Insights that will give you suggestions on what you can do do improve your page, to a set of page speed and usability rules, they are certainly giving us a lot of information on how to speed up loading times using best practices.
Other than exploring Google’s insights to tweak your page to improve load times, there are several things you can do to about this, and we will list a few of them here.
First things first. Here are a couple tools you can use to check your website loading speed/performance.
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Some basics you need to cover to improve load times:
- Get yourself a fast and reliable web server (sometimes saving money here is not the best option)
- Make sure that your site uses clean code to reduce page file size
- Optimize your Images
- Minimize round-trip times (RTTs) – you can check out how to here
- Take advantage of caching
- Avoid Redirects
Keep in mind that you also have to remember your mobile users, so make sure to optimize your site to be faster on mobile devices too. Specially in times where mobile traffic is constantly increasing. If you want more details about improving your website for mobile devices, check out this article at Smashing Magazine: How To Make Your Websites Faster On Mobile Devices.
One more thing that you can tackle to improve loading times is start using a CDN (Content Delivery Network). If you have a good amount of traffic, investing into a CDN will certainly make your audience happy. When you use a CDN it doesn’t matter where your user is, they will always get the closest server to deliver the content to them, making loading times decrease – compared to using a single static server.
Besides checking out what to do on your page based on PageSpeed Insights from Google, you can also install their PageSpeed module on your server to speed up your site and reduce page load time.
The most important thing is to remember that by making your page faster you will also make your users happy. So instead of approaching this task thinking only about page ranks, think about it as user experience improvement. Put some effort into improving load times to show your user you care for them. And also because you want to have a killer website, not one that will drive users away.