When potential customers visit a website, the last thing they want is for the page to take too long to load. Pages that take a long time to load can completely disrupt a user’s experience on your site. That’s why page speed is becoming an important ranking factor — especially for mobile.
On this page, we’ll discuss the basics behind page speed as a ranking factor and seven ways to improve your page speed.
Let’s get started!
Why does page speed matter?
With the rise in mobile users, page speed is becoming even more important as a ranking factor. Mobile users are constantly on the go, so they need pages to load quickly. That’s why Google started including page speed as a ranking factor in mobile search.
Though the page speed ranking factor previously only applied to desktop searches, the update focuses on mobile searches.
Page speed is extremely important since slow-loading pages can leave visitors scrambling to hit the back button and turn to competitors for information and answers. In addition, your site’s speed impacts your search rankings, user experience, conversions, and overall satisfaction with your business. If you want your site to perform well on desktop and mobile, you need to ensure your pages load quickly.
How do I improve my page speed?
So how can you boost your page speed? Take a look at these seven tips.
1. Minimize HTTP requests
When your audience visits a page, your website takes time to load various elements like media and scripts. Each feature requires a request to load, and if you have an abundance of elements on the page, there will be more requests.
This means it will take your page longer to load and visitors might leave your site. However, you can limit the number of HTTP requests by streamlining and eliminating unnecessary site elements. More leads will remain on your site because they can access the information quicker, making both you and your audience happy.
2. Reduce server response time
Your page speed is affected by how quickly your pages load on your domain name system (DNS). A DNS is a server with a database of IP addresses and associated hostnames. With this database, the DNS translates a URL into an IP address.
If your DNS is slow, it will take time to translate the URLs. By using a faster DNS, you will improve your page load time and help visitors access information on your site faster.
To prevent this from affecting your page speed, you need to minify and combine files.
4. Host videos on an external site
Videos are a great addition to any digital marketing plan. When you incorporate videos on your site, you keep leads engaged longer and encourage them to remain on your site — a positive for your SEO rankings.
The issue arises when you have large video files since they can significantly slow down your site. Your audience will lose interest in your page before they even see the video because it will take too long to load.
You can prevent this by uploading your videos to external sites. For instance, instead of relying on your site to host the videos, you can use video hosts like YouTube or Wistia to host your video. You’ll just have to copy a snippet of code to embed the video onto your site.
By hosting your videos on external sites, you’ll help your site load quicker.
5. Reduce image file sizes
In addition to videos, you need to keep track of your image file sizes. You may use awesome, high-quality photos on your site, but it won’t matter if they take too long to load.
The best thing to do is compress your file sizes. Compressing the file size, when done correctly, won’t impact the photo’s quality. It will just create a smaller file size that loads more quickly.
This is extremely beneficial if your site is image-heavy. Images can contribute to positive user experience, but not if they take too long to load. By reducing the image size, you will help improve your site’s page speed.
6. Enable browser caching
If someone exits your site and decides to visit again, they have to wait for the information to load all over again. However, enabling browser caching can speed up your site’s load time.
Browser caching stores the information from your site if someone visited it previously. It won’t need to send another HTTP request to load your page. Instead, the information is stored in the cache to allow for easy loading the next time someone visits your page.
7. Use a content delivery network
When your site is on one server, each visitor must send an individual request to that server for the page to load. If you have hundreds of people trying to use your server at once, though, it can take forever for your pages to load.
The distance from your server matters, too. If you’re based in Harrisburg, your content may load quickly for those who live in Pennsylvania, but for people in California, it won’t load as quickly.
However, a content delivery network (CDN) fixes all these problems. When you use a CDN, your content is loaded based on the server closest to the person who accesses your site. A person in California would use a server that is closest to them rather than the server in Pennsylvania.
This means that your site will load faster and more efficiently for your audience. It’s a great way to help deliver content to your audience quickly and efficiently.
How can I speed up my site?
As a business owner, you’re often tied up with other matters of your business. You may not have time to dedicate to improving your page speed. Luckily, you can rely on a digital marketing company that offers page speed services.
With page speed services, you’ll get your page optimized to run smoothly for your audience. A digital marketing company, like WebFX, can help you run tests and address issues with your site.
The right digital marketing company will audit your page to detect issues that can be resolved. They can help you clean up your site code, optimize your images, and host your videos on external sites.
It’s a great option if you want to focus on running your business. You reap the benefits of having a page speed expert work on your site while you focus on your business. It’s a win-win situation.
Site speed is an important factor in your site and your audience. If you want your site to rank well and reach more leads, invest in improving your site’s page speed.
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