How Can You Increase Loading Speed of Your Website?
One important thing to consider when optimizing a website is page speed. It has a significant effect on the success of any website since it can affect several important metrics. This makes it necessary to optimize the speed of your website to ensure the success of your optimization activities.
This is where the challenge comes in. Increasing page speed is not as easy as putting the pedal to the metal. But before we go technical and talk about things that may be confusing later on, let us look at how a webpage loads.
Loading of Webpages
The information about your website is stored in your host server. When someone wants to access your website, a user types in the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) of your website on a browser. The browser will send a Domain Name Server (DNS) request to your host. After the host responds, your webpage and its resources or files are downloaded into the computer of the user. At this point, the web browser will rebuild the webpage on the screen of the user so the website will be displayed properly. The downloading process is critical since it will essentially show the speed of your webpage. Users who may be impatient may not want to wait for your website to load and simply move to another website that loads faster. So you need to ensure that the downloading of the necessary files is not delayed to ensure the website loads faster.
Factors Affecting Website Loading
Several factors can affect the loading speed of your website.
- Size of the images on the website. The bigger the image, the slower the loading time of the webpages
- Third-party apps and plugins can also affect the loading speed of your website.
- Unnecessary redirects on the webpage also affect the loading time of the website. Page rendering time is delayed for every page redirect to the website.
- Website themes with large files can also slow down page speed
- Similar to image files, large video files can also slow down page speed.
- Internet issues on the side of the user can also slow down the loading speed of your website. This would include the internet service provider (ISP) of the user. Similarly, your own host may also be the source of some lag in the loading time of your website.
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Site Speed Metrics
While simply looking at how fast your website loads gives you an idea of its loading speed, there are site speed metrics that you can use to know how you can improve it. These metrics are accepted throughout the industry or they are used by everyone looking to improve the loading speed of their websites.
- Page Load Time – is the default speed metric reported on Google Analytics. It shows the time it takes for a page to finish loading. While digital marketers focus on this metric, it does not really show the big picture since a web page can already be used even before it has completely loaded.
- First Contentful Paint – this metric shows the first stage of the loading process. This is important since it gives visitors the idea that the page is actually loading. Visitors normally move on to another website if they do not see anything coming out of their screen, which would result in a bounce. And this is something you want to avoid.
- Time to Interactive – is the time it takes before users can already interact with the webpage. When we say interactive, we mean users can already see something substantial on the webpage and it responds to the clicks or commands from the user. You would not want your webpage to fully load but it is not yet ready for the user to interact with it.
- Time to First Byte (TTFB) – this metric shows how much time has elapsed between the point when users request a website and the point when the browser of the user receives the first bit of information. While this can measure the speed of the server, some factors are affecting this metric, including the Content Management System (CMS) used and plugins used on the website.
- Speed Index – is the metric showing the average loading time of visible parts of your website. This is not a timing metric since it simply shows your score based on several speed metrics. The lower the score or speed index, the faster your website is loading. So you would want to see a small number in this metric.
Improving Page Speed
Aside from making your website appealing to your target market improving the page speed will also reduce its bounce rate. The following are some of the things you can do to improve the loading speed of your website.
- Reduce the Number of Page Redirects – page redirects affect loading speed and visitor experience. Due to this, it is essential to minimize the number of page redirects your website has. This can be done using a responsive design. Aside from reducing page redirects, it also enhances user experience on your website. While redirects should be avoided, it is essential to choose a suitable redirect if it is necessary to have one.
- Compress the Images – this is a no-brainer since images normally account for 80 percent of the resources needed to load a webpage. Due to this, compressing images will allow the webpage to load faster.
- Minifying Resources – similar to images, there is also a need to reduce the space used by different website resources. In this regard, minifying resources is advisable to remove unnecessary and redundant data without affecting the way the browser processes the resources.
- Pre-connecting to Third-Party Sources – another way to improve loading speed is to pre-connect to third-party sources whenever possible. This is similar to what Google does with its search results where it pre-connects and pre-fetches URLs to speed up the loading of its results.
- Caching Policy – this is another practical way to speed up loading speed. A cache allows your website to use local copies of the website when a user visits your website more than once. This allows the page to load faster.
Page loading speed has a considerable effect on user experience for visitors to your website. Due to this, you need to take the necessary steps to increase the page loading speed of your website.
We hope you find this post useful.
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