Top 10 Ways To Improve Your Website Loading Speed In 2020. The faster the site, the more efficiently it ranks in search engines and provides a better user experience – this is reflected in targeted traffic, increased conversions, and increased income.
Optimizing page loading speed is the # 1 task for any project. The faster the site, the more efficiently it ranks in the search engines and provides a better user experience – this is reflected in targeted traffic, increased conversions, and increased income. This is a common truth, which, nevertheless, often fades into the background or is completely ignored during SEO site optimization. In this article, we will cover what is included in the basic pool of work to improve page load speed.
Table of Contents
How to check site speed? Five tools
PageSpeed Insights is a Google tool for monitoring website loading speed. The service generates reports separately for mobile and desktop pages. In addition to the data, PageSpeed Insights provides personalized recommendations on how and what to fix on the site to improve speed. Observations show that the reports of this tool do not differ in absolute accuracy, however, they can be taken as a basis as the recommended parameters from Google.
GTMetrix is a powerful free service for monitoring page loading speed based on a wide range of indicators. For more accurate performance analysis, many fine settings are provided: here you can select the user’s location, the type of browser used, and other parameters. In addition to the numbers, GTMetrix also provides useful recommendations indicating site vulnerabilities and solutions to problems. It takes time to master the program and analyze numerous metrics, but it is worth it if you want to achieve tangible improvements in download speed. The interface is in English.
WebPageTest is another powerful speed test tool. It is optimal for deep analysis, but it takes time to sort through detailed and seemingly confusing reports. Without knowledge of English, this will surely be difficult. As in GTMetrix, here you can add fine settings: select a location, browser type, etc. The global SEO community agrees that it is WebPageTest that gives the most adequate figures for the download speed across the entire domain.
Pingdom is a simpler tool than WebPageTest or GTMetrix, but equally accurate. This free service provides detailed statistics on site performance and has a less confusing interface. Here everything is more clear and simple. But due to the smaller amount of information provided, it is not as effective for in-depth analysis as the mentioned analogs.
Load Impact is a professional service for carrying out load testing of a website. Unlike all the above tools that only test the browser part, Load Impact affects the backend. It allows you to analyze how well the server is adapted to the increased loads, and how this affects the page load speed. In the first 30 days, you can carry out 50 checks per day free of charge. For those who plan to use the tool on a regular basis, the developer offers several tariff options.
How long should the site load?
The optimal waiting time for a page to load in 2 seconds from desktop and 3-4 seconds from mobile. These are the numbers that most users find most acceptable. In fact, everything looks a little different. The average load time of websites in different eCommerce segments does not meet either user expectations or search engine recommendations. These statistics were presented by Google, analyzing the average website loading speed in the United States.
Website acceleration is the easiest and most effective way to get significant advantages over competitors.
10 ways to speed up your website
By checking the site with several tools, you will get an accurate picture of the page loading speed. Most problems do not require deep knowledge and skills to fix. But some of the optimization, primarily implemented at the code level, is best delegated to specialists. In the following, we’ll take a look at a typical list of issues that make your page load times worse and give you tips on how to fix them.
Reducing the size of the HTML code
The size of the HTML code directly affects the loading speed: the heavier the files, the more resources the browser spends to render the page. It is optimal if the Html size does not exceed 100-200 kilobytes. Optimization in this case involves removing everything unnecessary: repeated spaces, line breaks, code comments, extra characters, etc.
This can be done in two ways: manually and using special tools. For obvious reasons, the second method is more popular among webmasters: it does not require layout skills and can significantly speed up work. Before optimizing documents, it is advisable to back them up. Despite the fact that there are no particular complaints about modern services and plugins for compressing HTML code, precautions still do not hurt.
Sitechecker services, already mentioned GTMetrix or Screaming Frog, help to find pages with large HTML-code.
For direct optimization, you can use the Daruse service. It is an online tool that compresses code in a few seconds without breaking its functionality. For WordPress sites, HTML can be optimized using the popular Better WordPress Minify and W3 Total Cache plugins.
On most sites, images are one of the heaviest files and consume most of the bandwidth to download. On average, 45% of the page weight is devoted to images. They become the bottleneck that increases the response time. Therefore, graphic content optimization is a top priority for those looking to speed up their website. The most effective are three ways to address this issue.
Compress photos without losing quality
The following cloud services are proven assistants in this matter.
Compressor – an online service that allows you to compress images up to 10 MB for free. Various compression formats are available – lossy and lossless. Compression can be up to 90%.
Kraken is another image compression tool. Thanks to its functionality, it is more convenient for “streaming” image optimization. Here you can carry out mass processing by uploading several photos at once or compress images directly on the page by entering its URL and getting an archive with compressed files at the output.
For popular CMS, there are many plugins that allow you to massively optimize all images on the site – WP Smush Image Compression and Optimization, Prizm Image, CW Image Optimizer, etc.
Using web-friendly formats
We are talking about such formats as WebP and JPEG-XR. Their key advantages are high quality with minimal weight. But there are also significant drawbacks: so far not all browsers support them and not all search engines index them.
Implementation of the lazy loading mechanism for images
This method allows you to postpone the loading of the image until the user scrolls to it. Using this method makes it possible to significantly speed up the site and increase its performance. Plugins such as A3 Lazy Load for WordPress can be used to quickly implement this option on CMS sites.
Deactivating unnecessary plugins
One of the important advantages of CMS sites is the availability of installing all kinds of plugins that extend the functionality of the web resource. With them, many webmasters quickly lose their sense of proportion. The prospect of making your site more functional and effective in a few clicks seems very attractive. But this phenomenon has a downside – for each plugin to work, server resources are needed. Additional program modules increase the number of queries to the database, which in turn significantly increases the page load time. If you see that an overabundance of plugins slows down the site – disable unnecessary ones. The second solution to this problem is to switch to a hosting plan with an increased amount of allocated resources.
Configuring client caching
GZIP compression is another caching mechanism but at the server level. The technology minimizes the total amount of data that the server sends to the end-user. GZIP can reduce the size of web pages and CSS by up to 50-70%, thereby achieving a tangible reduction in page load time.
Ways to enable GZIP compression
- Editing .htaccess. You can enable GZIP for a site by adding a code snippet to the webserver configuration file. With the proper guidance, it’s easy to do this on your own, but before doing that, it’s still best to contact your hosting provider to agree on the most appropriate syntax.
- Using plugins. For sites on CMS, you can activate GZIP compression using special plugins. WordPress users are advised to check out the GZip Ninja Speed Compression module.
In Joomla, the GZIP compression tool is provided by default in the site admin panel. In order to activate it, you need to go to the system section System → General settings → Server.
- Enabling via cPanel. If you are using this hosting control panel, you can enable GZIP compression for all sites in the section: Software → Optimize website.
Using GZIP is one of the easiest and most effective ways to speed up your website. But it is important to understand that this type of caching increases the load on the central processor. Therefore, if you are using hosting with a small number of hardware resources, before enabling Gzip compression, think again about the rationality of its use or consult with the hosting provider about this.
Setting up AMP pages in Google
For several years now, Google has been using the Mobile-First Indexing model, according to which the mobile version of a website is given priority in ranking a website. This means that mobile SEO is of prime importance for good Google rankings. It is easy to guess that page loading speed with this model becomes one of the key ranking factors.
In current SEO realities, setting up AMP pages is an absolute priority. AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is a technology used by Google to accelerate the delivery of content to mobile users. To implement it, separate versions of pages (AMP pages) are created on the site and linked to the main ones. You can read how to do this in the official guide from Google.
Creation of Turbo pages in Yandex
Yandex technology allows you to quickly and easily create light versions of pages that take up to 15 times less time to load. Turbo pages are available on both mobile devices and desktop. In search results, news, Yandex-Zen, and a number of other services accelerated pages are marked with a special rocket icon.
Turbo pages are a must-have for all categories of projects, but they are especially important for sites that have poor mobile optimization. Turbo pages by default exclude such problems as crumpled layout, incorrect display of blocks and other inadmissible things in the mobile version. Through a simple setup, your pages get phenomenal loading speed even on a slow Internet – this significantly improves behavioral, increases conversions and has a positive effect on rankings.
You can read about how to connect Turbo pages for different types of sites – landing pages, content projects and online stores – in the official Yandex instructions.
Moving video content to external platforms
The video will definitely add value to any website. It is an effective marketing tool that motivates visitors to take targeted actions – 64% of consumers are more likely to buy products online if they can watch a product presentation video. Beyond marketing, video content is a good way to improve on-page behaviors: it increases the time a user spends on a site and reduces bounce rates.
In the case of video, for many, the question is relevant: where is it better to store it? We recommend that you refuse to upload such files to your own server, even if you are using an advanced hosting. There are several reasons to do this at once. In addition to the fact that heavy content slows down the speed of page loading, you will have to constantly think about free space on the hosting and scale its resources, spending additional money on it.
Also, storing files on your own server can impair user interaction with the site. When watching videos simultaneously, servers with limited bandwidth will cause delays and slow down the video, which will not have the best effect on the quality of the user experience.
The best solution in this case is placing or transferring files to a third-party video hosting service. Upload a video to YouTube or Vimeo and then just embed it on the page. This way you will save space on the server, speed up the site and not worry about its constant availability for users, since not every hosting provider can compare with the stability of the servers of the same YouTube today.
Content delivery networks (CDNs) can solve many problems related to site performance and loading speed. CDN-infrastructure is a network of servers with special software located in different parts of the world. The system caches the content of the site and stores it on all physical machines on the network. When making a request, the client is sent to the server closest to it, which significantly reduces the delay between the request and the response. Thus, the first problem that CDN effectively solves is optimizing load times for users geographically distant from the server.
On visited sites with a large number of requests, processing requests takes a long time, which slows down the site’s responsiveness. This is the second problem that CDN solves. The content delivery network distributes the load between different servers so that even with a critically high volume of traffic, the site loads as quickly as possible. In addition, the use of a CDN reduces the likelihood of losing access to the content of the site due to a server crash – in the event of force majeure, users will be redirected to the backup servers on the network.
Thus, a CDN is an indispensable thing for visited sites targeted at a global (geographically) audience. With a large volume of traffic coming from different continents, this is perhaps the only way to effectively reduce website latency and ensure fast distribution of heavy content for all users.
Instead of a conclusion
The importance of page loading speed is beyond doubt. No matter how high-quality and optimized with tz. basic SEO was not the site, its slow loading can negate the success of the entire project. The standard pool of work to speed up the site includes image optimization, cleaning HTML code from unnecessary garbage, setting up client and server caching, using AMP and Turbo pages, and other practices discussed in detail above. While focusing on internal optimization, it is important not to forget about using quality hosting that matches the current site load. Finally, and most importantly, your download speed should be checked on a regular basis.