When it comes to website loading times, faster is always better, there are however a number of common reasons why your website might be slow, and a slow load speed can lead to your website visitors clicking away to another website, because they get impatient.
Fortunately, there are ways to test your website load speed in order to determine its performance level and then fix whatever might be slowing it down. Let’s look at afew tools that can help, and the most common items that can be tweaked to speed up your website.
Google Page Speed Insights
As always, Google has a free tool for this, don’t you just love Google for all these free tools. Enter your URL and click the Analyze button. You will get a score out of 100, it will then give you a list of what really needs to be fixed, and what you might like to fix, with helpful hints as to how you can make the suggested corrections.
You will see two tabs, one for desktop and one for mobile. Do both sets of suggested edits and see what a difference it can make to your load speed.
The tool will assess things like:
- HTML and website navigation
These can be compressed so they are not so large and won’t affect the load time of the page. Use http://jpeg-optimizer.com/ to compress your images and resize them, or if you have WordPress you can install a plugin. I used one that optimizes and resizes all of the images I load on to this website. Or click the Google Fixes at the bottom of the page and it will give you a zip file of these and other errors it is correcting for you.
Videos are very large files, so trying to run them directly from your site will lead to a very slow loading page and a clunky viewing experience, rather than a smoothly streaming one. For optimal results, upload your video to a video sharing site such YouTube or Dailymotion, and then embed the video into your web page or blog post.
If you want to keep the video private but let customers view it, set the video to Unlisted and then give them the link to watch it. If you set it to Private, it will be for your eyes only.
Caching saves certain parts of a page so that they don’t have to reload every time a person visits a new page. A good example of this might be the header and footer and any related artwork.
Cascading style sheets can be a shortcut for making all of your pages uniform and attractive, but if they are long and complicated, they can slow down the page load. Set the styles that are essential, such as type and size of font, and avoid complex CSS.
HTML and Navigation Elements
Sometimes the site will load and then reload HTML elements on the page, basically loading it more than once as it tries to make sense of your page. A good example would be the navigation bar. The browser will load it, and then reload it again when the article appears on the page. Prioritize the content on the page by following these instructions: https://developers.google.com/speed/docs/insights/PrioritizeVisibleContent
Make these small changes and you should soon have a speedier site that the search engines and your visitors will love.