Websites / July 13, 2018
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Having a rapidly loading website is an increasingly crucial factor of both user experience (UX) and search engine optimization (SEO).
Today’s user expect a website to load quickly, and those that don’t will likely experience negative consequences as a result. The Aberdeen Group conducted research that found a one-second delay in page load time yields 11% fewer page views, a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction and an 7% loss in conversions. Google has also indicated that site load speed is one of the signals used by its algorithm to rank pages.
As websites continue to evolve to become much more complex and content-heavy, it’s important to make sure your website is tuned to reduce page load speed as much as possible. And while there are numerous factors that affect page load speed—many requiring the aid of a proficient web development partner—there are a few actionable tweaks that can have a significant impact on reducing page load speed.
Some of THE biggest culprits increasing your webpage load time are images and video—as they take up a significant portion of a page’s overall size. And there are two distinct factors related to images and video: the size of each individual asset and the number of total assets being loaded on any given page. It’s important to address both of these factors.
Reduce the file size of all media assets
Limit the number of total assets on each page
Keep in mind that the more images and videos you place on each page, the longer it will take to load. It’s important to be cognizant of the overall “size” of each page’s assets. Website features such as sliders (or carousels), background videos, large images and background textures may add interest to the website, but they also increase page load speed. Try to find a healthy balance between the visual aesthetics and user experience.
There are a lot of factors that impact website page load speed, yet many are simply beyond the expertise of the average marketer. Fortunately, there are many helpful plugins or modules (depending on your CMS) that can assist with the technical heavy lifting. Page caching is another way to help improve your page load time. Cached pages are served up as static HTML versions of a particular page in order to avoid time-consuming queries to your website’s database. A cached web page loads much quicker—while decreasing server load by up to 80%. WordPress users can easily install one of the many popular page caching plugins such as W3 Total Cache.
A robust page speed solution for WordPress websites such as WP Rocket can not only handle page caching (replacing the need for a plugin like W3 Total Cache) but also a slew of other page-speed optimization methods such as:
Note: While there are many options available in a page speed solution such as WP Rocket, be advised that there are potential risks. Deactivate options if you notice any visually broken items on your website.
The quality of your web hosting package can have a significant impact on your website’s page load speed—whether positive or negative. Especially for larger, more resource-intensive websites, and websites that generate a lot of traffic. While using an inexpensive, shared (or grid) hosting platform can be tempting, investing in a high-performing VPS, managed or dedicated web hosting platform should be a priority. These packages often use much faster technology stacks, as well as featuring dedicated resources and a host of important options to fine tune your server.
As previously stated, there are many, many factors that affect your website’s page load speed. While some are within your control, many require the expertise and assistance of a savvy web development partner. Here are several other considerations for improving your website page loading speed: