There should not be any question about having a fast loading website because speed makes everybody happy from humans to search engines. In life too nobody wants to be a slowcoach, so why should anyone give concessions to sites? People love fast opening websites, and it becomes apparent that Google would love it too because it is always ready to please users. Website speed is so much crucial for Google that it has included page speed as a ranking factor. It is a way of issuing a mandate to website owners to speed up their websites. Now the question is how speedy must websites be, and whether there is any benchmark for it and even if there is, how far achievable it is. After all, users might like sites to operate at supersonic speed, but is it required?
Why is page speed important?
There should not be any debate about the advantages of fast loading websites. Firstly, websites that load fast provide an enjoyable user experience. As visitors to your website need not sit before their computer or hold the mobile phone in front of them waiting for the page to open. And if it happens, it can spell disaster because visitors would not hesitate to move over to some other website never to come back again. Secondly, speedy sites are likely to rank higher than other websites when all other things are equal.
Testing page speed
All page speed testers are not alike. Google prefers that you use the tool Google Page Speed Insight to determine your website’s speed. It will show you how much time each page takes to open. However, many of those who have used the tool were rudely shocked to know that their page performance in terms of speed was much below par than they had hoped. This started ringing alarm bells because it can have far-reaching consequences on SEO.
The truth in Google’s results
How much acceptable are Google’s results? That is the question doing the rounds because those familiar with Google’s Page Speed Insight tool know very well that the tool relies on theoretical considerations when measuring the speed of websites. It does not consider the real factors that people face during practice. It means that you must take the results of Page Speed Insight with due reservations because of the limitations of the tool. Page Speed recommendations are often tough to implement, and not only that, it can even get worse. Experts at Search Golden Advantage SEO Company say that Page Speed is a tool fit for developers and not end-users. It leaves us with the only option of accepting Google Page Speed results with not a pinch but a few teaspoonfuls of salt.
But at the same time, it will be foolish to ignore Google’s findings bout page speed entirely. To overcome the problem, you must use some other tool like Pingdom to perform similar tests which actually measures page loading time and hence more reliable. But this tool oo has its limitations because it allows you to test from three different geographical areas that can impact page loading time.
In the end, the feeling of the fast website remains very important. If you are skeptical about your website speed and page loading speed, you must attend to the problem and resolve it successfully. After all, it impacts user experience that you cannot ignore.
Reasons for a slow website
Before trying to improve website speed, you must know what makes sites slow. Images, videos, large content volume, and third party plugins are the common offenders, but again, these elements make your website engaging and attractive. Is there a video on your site that is vital for improving sales but makes the site slow? You must select what is more important for you and then decide on a more practical approach. It is a trade-off between your business objectives and user experience.
Know where you stand
- Test the speed– Use a speed tester like Google Page Insight or Pingdom to determine the current page speed. The best thing is to have a feel about it by stepping into the shoes of users. Ask yourself if you are happy with the speed as a user. Moreover, test over several days and across several devices, including mobile devices, to arrive at a logical conclusion about the results.
- Identify the laggards – Certain elements, including some design features, might be responsible for making websites sluggish. You must identify these elements. For example, too many images or a few large images can take a much longer time to load. Some plugins also contribute to slow loading pages. A tool like Pingdom can help to identify the elements that make your website slow, and you come to know which elements take the longest time to load.
- Check server speed – The speed of the host server influences website speed. Even if your website speed is good, apparently the server response time could hamper it and slow it down. The choice of hosting service is critical. If the server does not support the website speed, you must first try to improve the server speed or change the hosting service and then check the speed once again.
Having known the reasons for the slowdown of the website, you must initiate some actions to improve the website speed. Here are some steps to take.
Optimize images and videos
When it comes to website speed, image optimization is one of the most common troubleshooting advice of SEO experts. You must use images with careful consideration if it helps your business and not for aesthetics only. Moreover, use optimized images only so that it occupies minimal space and facilitates faster page opening time. The same applies to videos, and you must show restraint in using it only when it is a must.
Remember that page speed is only one of many ranking factors and you must not over-do it by neglecting other factors. It is essential to take a holistic approach to find out ways of ranking high without fretting about page speed.