If you’ve not yet had a chance to use it, Google PageSpeed Insights (PSI) is a great tool for measuring performance and establishing the areas where your site is currently underperforming. Today, page loading speed is more important than ever, and right now if your site is slower than your competitors’ to load, you’re likely loosing more potential customers than you think. And it’s not only your visitors that are put-off by a slow loading page, since 2018 Google now evaluates page speed and ranks accordingly, so if you’ve got a slow loading site, you can expect to feature further down the search engine results.
In this article we’ll take a look at some of things you can do to increase speed and ensure that you stay ahead of your competition.
How PageSpeed Insights helps you
The first bit of great news is that Google PageSpeed Insights is a free tool, you can go and use it right now by visiting; www.pagespeed.web.dev – That’s right, no costly Web Development agency consultation fee to pay, just type the address in your browser for instant access to a very powerful online tool. And because it’s from web giant Google, you can be fairly confident that they know a thing or two about page loading speed!
Just copy and paste the URL of any web page on your site into Google’s bar and it’ll run a technical diagnostic of loading times, before serving you with an analysis report. The second bit of good news is that Google PageSpeed Insights measures performance on mobile, as well as desktop. Its important to point out at this stage that loading speed on mobile is even more crucial than loading speed on a desktop pc, as more and more of us use our smartphones for searches, and when used on the go, smartphones typically have a slower connection to the internet and so performance is already somewhat reduced.
So you’ve run PageSpeed Insights and it’s given you some great pointers as to the measures you can take to boost page speed. Now, some of the recommendations that PSI will make will need to be actioned by a Web Development Company, or someone proficient with how your platform and hosting operates, but some of them you can certainly carry out yourself. Let’s have a broader look at the elements that affect page speed and what you can do to increase performance.
Which elements affect page speed?
Streamline your Code
Most websites now feature custom web fonts, and that’s a good thing. Custom fonts help users consume information and can help with brand identity and perceived quality. Remember though that custom fonts have to load into cache, so if you can pick popular custom fonts which are more likely to already be stored on any given device, it’ll really help speed up loading times. So the advice here is pick your fonts wisely and use them sparingly.
Images typically account for more than 50% of data on the average webpage, so it’s vital that images are properly compressed, particularly for mobile devices. It’s true that reducing image size reduces their quality, but there are lots of tools and programs out there that can drastically reduce image size whilst having a minimal effect on the way they display. In short, keep your images in, but make sure they have been properly processed.
If you have web pages that are pointed to other pages / addresses, they are adding additional loading time as you wait for each HTTP request to return. You can still use them, just make sure to do so sparingly and if you do use them, don’t stack them.
To some extent the speed at which your site loads is restricted by your web host. As is so often the case in life; cheap isn’t always good, and good isn’t always cheap. Spend extra to get a dedicated server rather than share one.
Cache is King
Using a browser cache can really help to speed up page loading. Make sure that local memory is enabled so that data can be cached on local devices. As with many of these points here, mobile devices stand to gain the most from caching resources. Your host server may offer help here, but if not, there’s a plethora of plugins out there that’ll help you to cache web resources.
Unplug some of your Plugins
Again, you might need help here from a professional web developer, but if PageSpeed Insights flags-up that your plugins are having an impact on your page speed, it might be time to turn some of them off. Plugins are constantly evolving and new ones appear that can do the same job with less resources, so take the time to review your plugins and see if you can slim them down and / or upgrade them.
Summarising the Gains
As you can see from the issues we’ve covered here, there’s likely no one silver bullet that can magically turbo-charge your site. In all likelihood you’ll have to implement a number of changes that will have a cumulative effect on page speed and web loading times. It’s certainly worth the time and resources though because once your site is running quickly you stand to gain;
- An increased conversion rate
- A reduced bounce rate
- Greater search engine preference
If you would rather reach out to an expert web developer in the UK, than tackle some of these points yourself, you can contact web specialists Web Choice UK. Web Choice’s team of highly experienced developers have cut their teeth on web optimisation, and they know what it takes to get every last ounce of performance out of your site. If you feel the need for speed, then get in touch with them now!