In our modern world, everything is about speed. If you are not first, you are last; and if your website is running slowly, you are not only losing your audience, but chances are, you are also losing money. It is no secret that a slow page load time decreases customer’s interest. If a website user cannot actually use your website, how much use is it? Here is where Google’s free PageSpeed Insights tool comes into the game.
Generally, our attention span is very short, and most website visitors expect a website to take no more than two seconds to load. Your site may offer the freshest content, the most creative design, and top-notch service, but if your load times are too slow, you will struggle to increase your monthly visitors. On the off chance that your pages take longer to load, a lot of users will leave and find what they were looking for somewhere else. Faster Loading times equal a better user experience (UX) and, with it, lower bounce rates.
Google PageSpeed Insights will not just help you to identify what is slowing you down; it will also give you the keys to online success and the power to take control of your website.
What is Google PageSpeed Insights?
Google PageSpeed Insights was created as a free web performance tool that can help you make your website faster and more mobile-friendly. It analyzes how your web pages run and can show you the necessary steps it needs to improve the page load time by following recommendations on best web practices.
The tool measures the performance for desktop and mobile devices and provides reports as well as an overall score of the performance of your pages. Using the information collected, it also makes suggestions on how it can be improved. The PageSpeed Insights Score ranges from 0 to 100 points, where a higher score stands for better performance.
Why do you need PageSpeed Insights?
A lot of users will abandon a page if it takes too long to load, and most will go try your competitor’s website instead of accepting any more delays. While headlines, the design of your website, or the right placement of a Call-To-Action (CTA) button are important, the page load time is absolutely essential for your conversion rate. If you do not want to deal with a high bounce rate, it is time to start using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. After you perform the tests on your site, you can make any necessary corrections needed to increase your score. The goal is to keep your web page size down and optimize everything you — or the tool — can possibly think of.
How you can improve your score
As mentioned above, the best way to increase the time a user stays on your page is by delivering a fast and enjoyable UX. The score report will present the areas where it detects loading issues in yellow and red (depending on how bad you are scoring), which shows you where you should focus your efforts.
In the following, we will explain the various error messages and give you suggestions on how you can improve your rating. Moreover, once you understand what causes the issues, it will become easier to avoid them in the future.
- Prioritize visible, above-the-fold content
Your page load time is not just determined by how quickly your page loads, it is also connected to perceived performance, which describes the feeling a user has while it loads. If the code is structured incorrectly, it can create a lag for content on top of the page, which makes the page load time appear slower. You can improve it by prioritizing the loading time of the areas that are likely most important to the user. Therefore, you should concentrate on the content above-the-fold to load first.
- Avoid landing page redirects
If your website was not created for responsive use, which means the page adjusts itself to the device that is being used, it could result in a redirect. You want to avoid that a page user is redirected to an optimized page, and the additional seconds this adds to the page load time. You can prevent this problem by opting for responsive web design.
- Enable compression
If you serve the full content of your page with uncompressed files, your page load time can go up by a lot. By enabling gzip, a file format used for file compression and decompression, the page can shrink in size and deliver much faster load times. Compressed files allow a web server to provide faster requests to your users.
- Improve the server response time
When a user opens a website, the web browser he or she uses sends a request to your server to view your content. The server response time refers to the time your server needs to begin loading the page content. It can be slowed by a number of factors like slow routing or database queries, but it mainly depends on the hosting platform you have chosen. There are some options out there, like the Secure Web Accelerator with DDoS protection from 101domain, that offers you excellent server response time with increased uptime, and protection from malicious cyberattacks.
- Optimize your images
Graphic elements like pictures, logos, or icons can harm your page speed; in fact they can be responsible for up to two-thirds of your page’s total weight. But taking care of this part of the score is relatively easy. Start by checking all the pictures that are included on your page and evaluate if you really need them. If you decide to keep them, you can use free tools to optimize the size.
- Leverage browser caching
A web browser needs to display various items to load the page completely, and this can take time. Caching allows a browser to remember what was previously loaded, which will result in a faster page load time. The more elements your browser can cache, the fewer it has to load when a user makes a request. Your best bet is to follow Google’s recommendation of a minimum of one week of caching.
Whether you like it or not, playing by Google’s speed rules will drive down your load time. Using the free tools, the company is providing, can help you improve your page speed and give you the best chance to succeed online. A recently published article from the experts of the WebDesignBooth will provide you with additional insight on how you can speed up your website’s performance even more.
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