Google has been encouraging webmasters to improve their website loading speed for several years now, even highlighting it as one of the important ranking factors for SEO. According to Google’s John Mueller, Google’s threshold for commerce website acceptability is two seconds. But in 2018, the average loading speed is 15.3 seconds. This results in a high bounce rate and lots of lost opportunities.
This time, Google is taking page speed more seriously by introducing warning indicators on web browsers, particularly Google Chrome, for slow loading websites. So if your website loads forever, users will see a “Usually loads slow” warning message whenever they visit your site. This warning for users can be nasty because it could drive away your potential visitors or customers.
According to Google:
In the future, Chrome may identify sites that typically load fast or slow for users with clear badging. This may take a number of forms and we plan to experiment with different options, to determine which provides the most value to our users.
Why is speed important in the first place?
Slow loading speed can kill conversions. 40% of users will abandon a page that takes more than three seconds to load. On top of that, 79% of customers said that they will not return to a poor performing website. That’s a huge blow to any business.
So how do you speed up your website?
Here are some tips:
1. Know your numbers.
The first thing you need to do is determine how fast or how slow your website is. There’s a lot of tools you can use for this, including Google Pagespeed Insights, Pingdom, and YSlow. By knowing what your metrics are, you are then able to determine what your goal speed is and how to go about improving your website.
2. Use a CDN.
A Content Delivery Network or CDN is a set of web servers located across different locations to deliver web content to end users quickly. When a website uses a single server, all requests are sent to that location, which takes a long time to process. Plus, the distance between the user and the server also contributes to the slow loading time. By using a CDN, a website can deliver content to the user quickly by utilizing the nearest server to the user.
3. Switch to a better host.
Shared hosting might be cheaper, but they can be overcrowded. You also share the same CPU, disk space, and RAM with the other websites using that server, which makes your website so slow. If you have the budget, switch to a Virtual Private Server or a dedicated server, which are so much faster than shared hosting.
4. Optimize your images.
Images are important for your website because improve engagement. But unless you have a photography website, you don’t need full-sized images that load extremely slow. You can use several online tools to reduce the image size without compromising quality, including Kraken, JPEGmini, or ImageOptim.
5. Use website caching.
If a lot of users are visiting your website, you can store the current version of your website on the hosting and load this cached version until your website is updated. With this, your website doesn’t have to render over and over again every time a user tries to access it.
Page speed is an important factor, not only for SEO, but for your conversion, visibility, and usability as well. If your page loads after three seconds, you are already losing out on a lot of opportunities. If you want to improve your page speed, simply follow the tips above or hire a professional web developer to do it for you.