Your website’s page load speed or the time it takes for your content to be displayed on the user’s end matters. A fast page speed is important for two reasons:
First, for search engine ranking and visibility.
Page load speed is one of the factors search engines, like Google, account in ranking your website. Basically, the faster your website loading speed is the higher your rank. Ranking high is important so that users easily find you, giving you an edge over your competition.
Second, for user experience.
The first impression of your users matters. Nobody likes to wait not only in real life but on the internet as well. The slower your page speed is:
- the higher the bounce rates,
- the lower the engagement rate,
- the lower the conversion rate,
- the lower the average time users spend on your site and
- the lower the return visits.
In other words, you have a lot to lose the longer your users have to wait for your website content to be displayed.
Now you know the why’s – why website speed is important. Let’s dive into the how’s – how you can improve your website loading speed. So, read on!
1. Avoid Adding the Embed Code of Third-Party Tools and Plug-Ins in All Pages
Typically, third-party tools and plug-ins will instruct you to insert the embed code in the header of your website so that it loads on all pages. By doing so, your site will be heavier and in return, will affect your page load speed.
So, what to do then? Keep them or get rid of them? Before anything, ask yourself this first: What is the purpose of using this tool or plug-in? If it is an essential tool, then ask yourself: Do you really need to add it in all pages? If the third-party tool is Google Analytics, then of course, you have to add it in all pages since you want to track your website’s performance.
If what you want to embed is your Facebook and Twitter feed, to show social proof and build trust around your brand, then add it only on the home page. If it is a social media share button, then in your blog posts only. Tools and plug-ins are useful in boosting your site’s performance.
So, no need to get rid of them. Just add the embed code on the specific pages of your website where it is needed and just load them in the right place to increase your website speed. Also, you do not need to add those colorful spinning wheels and gold slot machine plug-ins. It hurts your site more than it helps.
Keep in mind that lighter pages load faster. That’s why the fewer elements the better.
2. Use A CDN
Content delivery network, CDN for short, is a group of servers spread across the globe helping in content delivery. A web hosting service, such as Siteground, Bluehost, and Namecheap, stores your website on the internet so that users can access it online.
While CDN, Bunny.net, and Quic.cloud, for example, keeps multiple copies of your website assets across different servers a.k.a. cache. By doing so, it delivers your website content faster by fetching it from the server nearest to the user’s location. As the distance is reduced so does the time in delivering the content, helping speed up your website.
3. Optimize Images
Images are essential website assets as it makes up the majority of a website’s visual content. But if left unoptimized, it will slow down your website speed.
An optimized image has the right image file format and the right image file size. For the image file format, typically it is either PNG or JPEG. PNGs are best for logos, graphics, and designs, especially the ones with transparent backgrounds. It is lossless a.k.a. it retains the quality but it occupies a bigger file size. JPEGs are best for photographs. It is lossy or in other words, there is a slight loss in the quality but it has a smaller file size.
For the image file size, less than 50 kB is the best. If it is a full-width screen image, try to keep the size under 200 kB. To do this, you can use ImageOptim, a tool that helps compress your image with minimal quality loss and gets rid of the metadata that you do not need, helping reduce the file size.
Keeping the file size small will help load the image faster which in return will help in website speed optimization.
4. Use ImageKit for Optimized Image and Video Delivery
If the one mentioned before is a hassle for you as a way to increase your website speed, then you can use a platform called ImageKit. Using ImageKit hits two birds with one stone:
First, it will deliver an optimized image and video without you doing any work.
Just simply upload your file, no need to convert anything and your image will be delivered in a PNG, JPEG, WebP, or AVIF format, and your video in MP4 or WebM format – whatever is the best-supported format of your user’s web browser. For example, if your user is using the web browser Google Chrome, ImageKit will deliver images in WebP format and videos in WebM. If your user is using Safari, then PNG or JPEG for images and MP4 for videos.
With ImageKit’s adaptive bitrate streaming, users have a smooth streaming experience with little to no buffering. Its algorithm automatically adjusts the video quality depending on the user’s network connection. So, if the user has low-speed internet, the video will be streamed automatically in 360p. If the user has high-speed internet, then it will be streamed in 1080p.
Lastly, your image and video will be compressed giving you a smaller file size with a quality that is still the same as the original.
Second, it serves as a CDN for your images and videos.
With a network of servers across the globe, ImageKit will deliver assets fast. You can use ImageKit’s native CDN provided by AWS CloudFront or you can integrate Cloudflare, Akamai, Cloud CDN by Google, Fastly, and Azure to name a few.
In a nutshell, ImageKit does the heavy lifting in website speed optimization, removing the work from your shoulders in giving website visitors a good user experience.
Minification refers to minimizing the number of characters a source code has by removing the comments, tabs, spaces, line breaks, and semicolons, while still rendering the same result.
FIRST – The tips shared above on how to increase your website speed are easy to implement yourself. But before making any changes, know what your page load speed is and work on what has the biggest impact on your website’s performance. There are many free tools online that will help you do this, one is PageSpeed Insights by Google which provides analysis on website speed optimization.
SECOND – Always analyze your page load speed before and after implementing any change. Not all changes help, sometimes it may hurt your website’s performance which is why you need to keep track of the effect these changes may bring. No matter how small these changes are, it will compound, a millisecond difference is critical in giving your user the best experience.
THIRD – No matter how fast your website speed is, if you have poor content, it will not convert and your website visitors will not come back. Hence, make sure that you have quality content. Your content is what connects you to your audience.