How to Optimize Your Page's Loading Speed for Optimal Outcomes

How to Optimize Your Page's Loading Speed for Optimal Outcomes

Have you ever heard the story about the tortoise and the hare? You know, the one where the slow turtle beat the haughty, fast rabbit in a race? So, it's not true. No one ever got anywhere quickly by moving slowly. That makes sense and is smart business.

OK, you got us. Some things, like eating, getting old, and walking down steep stairs while carrying a sword, are better when done slowly. But when it comes to SEO, going slow is the worst thing you can do.

So get ready, because moving up the rankings will happen quickly.

Why is it important to have a fast site?

Would you rather wait more than two days for your package, write a letter instead of sending a text message, or play with your thumbs while a website loads? No sane person would ever want to do that. Who could do that? Certainly not the people who might buy from you.

Pages that load faster make your site run better, improve your Google PageSpeed Insights and GTmetrix scores, and help you rank higher in search results.

But how much does the speed of a page really affect SEO? A slow page load speed can cause:

  • Conversions went down by 7%.
  • 11% fewer page views.
  • a 16% drop in how happy customers are.

And with every second that goes by, these numbers get worse:

  • After just two seconds, the bounce rate can go up by a huge 103%.
  • 53 percent of people will leave a site that doesn't load in less than three seconds.
  • Because the site takes too long to load, 79% of unhappy shoppers are less likely to buy from it again.

How can I see how fast my page loads?

Several online tools can measure how fast a page loads. They can also tell you how big and resource-heavy your site is and make suggestions for changes. The best part is that you can use all of them for free.

  • Google PageSpeed Insights runs different tests for desktop and mobile, breaking load time into stages for each.
  • Just like YSlow, GTmetrix shows the size, page load time, and how resources are used.
  • GTmetrix and Pingdom both provide the same kind of service.
  • WebPageTest isn't as easy to use as the others, but it tends to give you more information. Its advanced options stand out because they look at how a site works in different browsers.
When you run these tests, choose test locations that are closest to where your audience lives. This will give you the most accurate results.

Now that you know how quickly your site's pages load, let's see if you're having a good time.

How quickly should my site load?

In general, your pages should load in less than three seconds.

If your speed is between three and five seconds, you're not in a bad spot, but by today's mobile-first standards, your pages aren't as good as they could be. Anything that takes longer than five seconds is bad. But your site could always use a boost, no matter how fast it loads.

Pay attention to your time to first byte as well (TTFB). This information can be seen on WebPageTest and PageSpeed Insights. TTFB is the amount of time it takes for a browser to accept the first bit of data from a server. Google recommends a TTFB of 200 ms or less.

Here's more about how fast a page should load:

  • Pingdom found that, on average, most pages load in less than 3.21 seconds.
  • Google says that 53% of users will only wait three seconds for a website to load on their phones before moving on to another site.
  • Akamai found that the best conversion rate is when a mobile page loads in an average of 2.4 seconds.
But how can you make your page load faster so that it takes less than three seconds?

How can I speed up the time it takes for a page to load?

Page load speed can be affected by a number of things. Some plans can be used right away and have an effect right away. Some people won't be able to see the benefits right away.

Here are some good ways to do it:

1. Enable gzip compression.

2. Optimize images.

3. Turn on caching in your browser.

4. Reduce the size of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

5. Lessen HTTP requests.

6. Make the server respond more quickly.

7. Think about using a CDN.
Plus: Make changes that are specific to WordPress.

On your mark! Get set! Boost!

1. Enable gzip Compression

Compression makes your files smaller, so they can be downloaded more quickly. It's one of the easiest and fastest ways to speed up the time it takes for a page to load. Using gzip for compression is almost the norm, though Brotli is an alternative but popular method. When turned on, gzip can shrink HTML, CSS, and JavaScript by as much as 70%. (Run a gzip test to see whether you have it enabled.)

Most performance plug-ins for WordPress that do everything give you the option to turn on compression automatically. If you are more hands-on or use a different CMS, you can add some code to your.htaccess file to turn on compression manually.

2. Optimize images

Images are often to blame for page sizes that are too large. In general, your pictures should be the right size and have the right settings according to:

  • Under 100 kilobytes.
  • Set the picture to the exact size it will be displayed.
  • Save as JPG (unless it’s transparent, in which case use PNG).
When you compress images, the quality goes down quite a bit, so don't let your desire for faster load times hurt the design of your website. But at the very least, don't upload a picture that's 2,500 pixels wide if your website is only 600 pixels wide.

Optimize images before uploading them using Photoshop (paid) or GIMP (free). For added compression, you can also utilize an online optimizer such as TinyJPG. If you want another option and use a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, Smush and EWWW Image Optimizer are good plug-ins to have. Some plug-ins also let you turn on a feature called "lazy load," which gives priority to content above the fold and only loads your pictures when a visitor scrolls down. This makes a huge difference in how many requests your server gets.

3. Turn on caching in the browser.

When visitors come back to your site, their browser redownloads files like scripts, images, and style sheets, unless you've turned on browser caching.

With browser caching, the user's browser saves files that don't change. So the next time they visit your site, they won't have to download anything again, and your page will load much faster.

If you use WordPress, it's not too hard to cache. Plug-ins like WP Rocket and W3 Total Cache show you all the steps you need to take and set everything up for you. Just make sure you don't use more than one of these plug-ins at once. Also, turning on caching by hand is a bit more difficult.

4. Minify HTML, Cascading Style Sheets, and JavaScript

Minification gets rid of extra or useless code without affecting how well it works. This means getting rid of things like code comments, long function names, extra space, etc. that the user doesn't see but slow down your load speed.

For minification, beginners can use WordPress plug-ins like WP Super Minify, WP Rocket, and W3 Total Cache. For other CMS and advanced admins, you will have to do minification by hand. Here are some things that can help:

  • HTML Minifier.
  • JSCompress or JSMin, 
  • YUI Compressor or CSS Minifier

5. Cut down on HTTP requests.

This one is big. Even though it can be hard, don't be afraid of it. The main goal of page load optimization is to reduce the number of requests. Try to keep the number of HTTP requests below or around 50.

There are a lot of things that can be done to make these requests easier and faster.

6. Make the server respond more quickly.

Changing servers is something you should do quickly and seriously. But your hosting server is a big part of how long it takes for your site to load, so it helps a lot to know if you have the best setup.

First and foremost, talk to your provider to make sure your servers are online enough, have enough bandwidth, and are close to where your target audience is. If not, you might want to switch to another hosting service.

Some other important things to keep in mind are:

PHP version
If your site is built on PHP, you should use PHP 7 or a higher version. Calling your hosting provider is the easiest way to find out which version of PHP you're using and which one needs to be updated. But please keep in mind that some WordPress themes and plug-ins may be affected by changes to PHP. If something seems wrong with your server's PHP, you can quickly fix it. 

HTTP/2 is a server-side protocol that can make a huge difference in how fast and well a site works. Not all sites that can use HTTP/2 do so. You can use different online tools to find out if your server can handle HTTP/2. Then, talk to your hosting company to find out what your options are.

Types of hosting
Most small businesses use shared servers because they are cheaper (like Bluehost, GoDaddy, and HostGator). Larger businesses with a lot of website traffic usually need virtual private servers or direct servers with more power to distribute their content. Use your budget and performance to figure out which category you belong to.

7. Consider Setting up CDN 

content delivery networks is great for websites that serve a lot of places around the world or want to make their regular hosting service faster. These paid third-party services not only give you HTTP/2 support, but they also host your files on a huge network of servers around the world, which drastically cuts down on request times.

Some unique CDN options include:

  • Cloudflare. 
  • StackPath. 
  • CacheFl
  • Google Cloud CDN

Even though GTmetrix might say that most sites need a CDN, we recommend that you try the other strategies on this list first. If your load times still need to catch up, CDN could be a good option.

Plus: Changes made just for WordPress

If you use WordPress, the time it takes for your page to load could be affected by other things. You'll need to deal with these problems in addition to the ones above.

Cut down on plug-ins

Plug-ins are great and can speed up your site in a lot of ways. But using the wrong plug-ins can cause problems, and having too many installed can cause problems and make your site run much slower.

Because of this, it's important to:

  • Update and take care of your plug-ins regularly.
  • Remove any plug-ins that aren't needed or aren't being used.
  • Check to see if there are other ways that are easier or faster.
  • Find plug-ins that do the same thing twice.
  • Take out plug-ins that do things you can easily do by hand.
Say, for instance, that you have a Google Analytics plug-in. In that case, you should add the snippet yourself, either through Google Tag Manager or with the Insert Headers and Footers plug-in (which is much smaller than the former).

A good plug-in evaluation tool like Page Performance Profiler can find out which plug-ins are slowing down your page load speed and help you find problems. (Remember to take it off when you're done.)

Sort out your database.

Over time, saved drafts, post revisions, and other things that your site doesn't need to work can clog up WordPress databases. Cleaning up this clutter once in a while can help your site load faster. Some all-in-one plug-ins for performance, like WP Rocket, can also do this, or you can use the WP-Optimize plug-in.

Change your CMS and theme.

Make sure you're always using the most recent versions of your theme and WordPress install. (Don't forget to make a copy of your site first.) If your site is still slow after you've updated it and made all of the above changes, you might want to try a new theme. Themes can make your site look better, but they can also come with a lot of extra stuff that can slow it down.

It's more important than ever that a page load quickly.

In case you missed it, Google now only works on mobile devices. It's not going to change soon, so your pages need to load as fast as possible.

Our attention spans are short, and they're getting shorter by the second. If your page doesn't load quickly, people will load cat videos instead. So, why don't you just do it? It's time to get started! Improve your page speed and user experience right now, because SERPs don't wait.

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Hey, I’m Rachid. I’m a writer. I am a fan of technology, sports, and education. I’m also interested in entrepreneurship and design.

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