How To Win The Website Speed Race

Ignite Online - 20 June 2018

Get Started With WEBSite Speed

Things have changed since the bad old days of dial up internet, which ensured the digital world moved at a glacial pace. Over three million Australian homes are now connected to the National Broadband Network (NBN), which has increased expectations for site speed and a seamless User Experience (UX) when browsing online. No longer will people sit patiently in front of your website waiting for an image to slowly appear and if your site is slow you will be punished – Google will penalise you by pushing down your ranking in their results! Attention spans are shrinking, competition online is growing and if you can’t keep up you’ll be left behind. There’s no time to waste…

4 Easy Ways To Boost WEBSite Speed

Lace Up Your Sneakers

You have to be in it to win it, and the first step is to assess your current website performance and make sure you’re on a level playing field with your competitors. The good news is, for the basics you might not even need a developer’s help.

You can run a speed test on your website using Google’s official tool, PageSpeed Insights. If you enter your website URL you’ll be given a rating out of 100 each for desktop and mobile browsing speed, along with a colour rating (green for ‘good’, orange for medium’, red for Low). Pay particular attention to your mobile results – according to Google, 53% of mobile site visitors will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load.

If you’re seeing a disappointing red or orange result, here are a few small things you can do right away to improve:

  • Optimise the images on your website. Comb through the whole site and compress each image using a tool like TinyPNG or Compressor.io. Also make sure to resize the images to the smallest dimensions possible without compromising quality.
  • Use caching to your advantage. If you don’t update your content frequently there’s no need to fetch resources from the server every time your site loads. Your web developer may be able to recommend some great solutions!
  • Speaking of plugins, make sure to uninstall any you aren’t using, and remove any unnecessary content. These require loading different css and javascript files which just slow things down.

Stay The Course

If you have a bit of coding knowledge or access to a web developer, there’s much more you can do to improve your site speed, such as:

  • Optimise the CSS. Most importantly, remove gaps and comments, eliminate render blocking above the fold, and avoid having JavaScript in the body of the coding.
  • Use asynchronous/lazy loading to load the most important content first. However, don’t use this for page text as it could cost you in rankings! Set lazy loading for images and videos only, and they won’t load until a user needs them.
  • Keep an eye on Google Analytics and act accordingly. Analytics makes it easy to see what pages aren’t performing well and compare speeds across different browsers. It even provides suggestions on fixing problem areas (see Behaviour > Site Speed > Speed Suggestions).

Peel Away From The Pack

So things are speeding up, but you’re here to win the race, right? You can optimise the site itself, but if you want to be the best of the best you may also need to look at a hosting upgrade and Content Delivery Network (CDN). Even if the site itself has been optimized for speed, that won’t do much good if it’s being hosted on a slow, overloaded server. Make sure to keep things moving at lightspeed by doubling up on an advanced hosting solution such as  Amazon Web Services (AWS) and a CDN which guarantees the fastest response times.

Expert Site Speed Advice

As the athlete David Bedford said,

“Running is a lot like life. Only 10 percent of it is exciting. 90 percent of it is slog and drudge.”

If you’re ready to create an awesome website that doesn’t compromise on site speed, contact us to start your project.

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KEY STEPS TO CREATING A HIGHLY EFFECTIVE WEBSITE

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