Page speed optimisation is a vital component in today’s user experience (UX), including search engine optimisation (SEO).
Google and users expect a fast loading website when they have found you. If you fail to have a website that loads quickly, your bounce rates will increase, and your rankings will fall.
As we know, Google makes many regular updates throughout every year, but most of them are minor tweaks that are not announced. Google made two significant updates to their algorithm in 2021. But the page load speed, which they advertised as their “page experience update”, meant that those businesses that weren’t tech-savvy needed to use page speed optimisation services; to ensure they got it right and didn’t suffer in the rankings.
With ever-evolving websites with heavier content, reducing load-up speed is vital. So page speed optimisation needs to be worked on. If you are not confident in knowing how to do this, I recommend using an SEO agency for help in 2022.
In this article, I will cover three main areas to concentrate your efforts if you are proficient.
1. Optimising your video and images
Video and images are two of the main elements that can slow your website load-up speed. Mainly as they take up a large portion of the overall size of your page.
The two factors that relate to these are:
- Each individual assets size
- Numer of assets loading on each page
Both need to be addressed.
Reducing your media assets files sizes
- Appropriate image sizing. A common mistake is to upload 12-megapixel images and not resize them first. Also, uploading 6000-pixel wide imagery that has not been resized, especially when displayed at 500 pixels, for example. Ensuring that they are accordingly sized for the design of the website and its parameters is everything.
- Now JPG is the preferred choice across many applications. If possible, stick with JPG.The integrity of an image JPEG will maintain, and don’t use unnecessary space. BMP and TIFF are to be avoided altogether.
- Photo Compression. Don’t mistake thinking that everything is fine due to photos being resized; they can still be larger files than necessary. Every photo must be compressed to reduce file size. While taking into consideration image quality. You can use ‘Photoshop’ for beginners, but there are plenty of tools online to download. ‘Imagify’ and WordPress work very well together.
- Compress all your videos. High definition videos can be a real drag on your page speed for Page Speed optimisation. By compressing them, you will reverse this. A decent tool on the market is ‘Handbrake’.
- Use a video hosting platform to embed 3rd party videos. A simple tip and trick are to use one of these platforms as they help reduce the impact on bandwidth on the hosting server. ‘Vimeo’ is one of the most common tools for this.
Limiting your total assets on your pages
A simple rule-of-thumb is that the more videos and images you have on every page, the more the load-up speed is affected. So understanding each page’s asset’s overall size is paramount.
Having background videos, sliders, big images, and so forth is definitely adding interest to the website. Still, they are also affecting your page load speed. So finding the right balance between UX and visual aesthetics is vital.
2. Use a page speed plugin
With many factors to Page Speed optimisation, some tools are a little too complex for the average business owner or marketer. The excellent news is plugins are there to help.
Another way to assist in page load-up time is page caching. These are conformed to static HTML for a particular page. If you have queries to the site’s database, they are sped up as a cached page is fast loading and helps your server load considerably.
These are easily installed on WordPress; ‘W3 Total Cache’ is one of my favourites.
Here are some other ways of optimising your page speed:
- Enabling browser caching
- Optimising the database
- Minifying your resources (HTML, CSS, JS)
- Combining different files (Google fonts, CSS, JS)
- Removing enquiry strings out of static resources
- CSS files to be loaded asynchronously
Note: Given so many options and plugins out there, some do come with their downsides. If you see anything visually broken on the site, look to deactivate them immediately and look for an alternative.
3. Upgrading the web hosting package
Your web hosting package quality has immense significance on your positive and negative load-up speed. Specifically if your website is more extensive and has many resourceful sections.
Many people are tempted by these cheap offers and special discounts for domains and web hostings but don’t fall for them and always go with a high-performing VPS. Look for a dedicated hosting platform or a managed one as a priority.
General tips for speeding up your website
Here are some examples:
- Minimise your HTTP requests. This is looking into the core of web development. By decreasing images and scripts, the overall number helps load-up time.
- Enable Gzip compression. Gzip functionality compresses your style sheets and webpages before they get sent to the browser. Therefore you can reduce up to 70% of your page sizes. Which inevitably reduces the transfer time.
- Using a Content Delivery Network. This is effective as it hosts website files through a vast server network on a global scale. Therefore allows the users to file downloads from nearby servers, using less bandwidth and speeding up the process.
- Configuring your server settings. An off-the-shelf server software package is not necessarily configured at a level for optimised web performance. Therefore engage with an SEO agency or your hosting provider on the best way to ‘performance tune’ the server, given your CMS.
Given the complexity of Google and the SERPs in 2022, looking for professional advice if you are relatively new to marketing is wise. These pointers will help you get optimised if you are savvy, as even experienced web developers can overlook the slightest aspect that can adversely affect a company. Alternatively, suppose you are starting to see an upturn in business and, therefore, too busy. In that case, this is the more innovative way. But page load speed is one thing Google is hottest on right now, so if you want to rise in the rankings, it must be perfect this year. Good luck.