Do you know why you should consider boosting your website speed in 2021? We’re now in a fast paced world. Speed is the new way of life and website speed is not left out.
We found that beyond not having a responsive website, a slow website speed can also increase your site’s bounce rate. The world has been so conditioned by speed that internet users expect nothing short of “at the speed of light” when they search for information on the web. And anything short of this speed of light delivery leads to an increased bounce rate for you.
A survey by Neil Patel found that 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less. This survey further revealed that internet users tend to ditch sites if they are not loaded by the 3rd second.
Here’s what Google’s new PageSpeed industry benchmarks says about page speed and bounce rates:
As page load time goes from:
1s – 3s the probability of bounce increases 32%
1s – 5s the probability of bounce increases 90%
1s – 6s the probability of bounce increases 106%
1s – 10s the probability of bounce increases 123%
Apart from this internet users’ behavioral patterns, let’s look at another reason website speed is non-negotiable if you want to grow a successful website.
Why Website Speed Matters
Speed is a top tier Google ranking factor. A study of 11.8 million Google search results by Backlinko confirmed that indeed page load speed was a large contributing factor to ranking on page 1 of Google.
If your goal is to build a successful website that converts, then you cannot sit on the fence when it comes to site speed. It is no longer surprising information that about 90% of search traffic happens on page 1 of Google SERP. To rank on any position on Google page 1, your site speed must be at par with the competition else, you would be knocked down by the competition.
According to Google’s new PageSpeed industry benchmarks, the acceptable website speed is about 3 seconds, in fact, under 3 seconds. Anything more is considered too slow and will need fixing.
Testing Your Website Speed
But how do you know you have a website speed problem if you don’t test? There are a number of free website speed test tools out there to run your website speed test with.
PageSpeed Insights is a Google tool that can show you speed field data of your website accompanied by common optimization suggestions if there’s a problem to fix.
Pingdom and GTmetrix are additional handy free website speed test tools in case you don’t like to work with PageSpeed Insights.
How to Boost Your Website Speed
Having seen website testing tools to test you site loading speed, we’re now going to talk about how to boost your website speed with minimum effort.
1. Compress Your Images
Optimizing the images on your site is a great way to optimize your website speed. Compressing the size of images on your site makes a significant difference, up to 50% to your overall website speed. Smaller image size equals a faster loading site.
If you do not want to make use of image optimization plugins like WP Smush Image, you can try offline image resizer and compressors, e.g. fastStone photo resizer.
2. Browser Caching
Browser caching is another way you can boost your website speed today with minimal effort.
With browser caching, the browser is trained to remember static data of your site like your logos, background and footers for a returning visitor and will not need to load them afresh, saving time.
Caching plugins help to serve up static assets of your site that do not change over time. The coolest thing about using a caching plugin if you’re not a techie is that you do not have to deal with any technical stuff. You just install and activate and you might have just slashed your site’s load time by half.
These 8 Best WordPress caching plugins for WordPress by athemes might be helpful to get you started.
3. Minify Your HTML
Minification is a process of removing, formatting, fixing or shortening where possible any duplicate, unused or unnecessary code without impacting how browsers will process the html.
The reason for doing this is to boost a website’s loading speed. The good news is you don’t have to be a code junkie to be able to do this. There are easy-to-use WordPress plugins like HTML Minify that come to the rescue.
4. Change to a Faster Loading Theme
Some themes turn out to be just too heavy and impart site loading time negatively. The quick fix to a slow loading site as a result of heavyweight themes is switching to any of the fastest WordPress themes.
Your theme is the anchor for everything on your site. Using a lightweight theme is the first step to enhance your site speed even before anything else.
5. Make Use of Content Delivery Network (CDN)
While some sites are optimized for local traffic, some are optimized for global reach. That being said, a CDN is a great way to boost your website speed for a global audience.
This has something to do with the distance of your global visitors away from your host’s data centre. The farther away they are, the lesser speed experience they will have.
CDNs such as Cloudflare and KeyCDN serve as great tools for boosting your website speed for anywhere in the world.
6. Consider Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is a Google project aimed at helping mobile pages load faster.
AMP uses a display format to trim out chunks of unnecessary contents, formats and features from mobile pages making them load instantly. With AMP, mobile site visitors can swipe between next and previous articles without using their browser back buttons.
If you browse on mobile, you most likely have come across accelerated mobile pages. Here’s a sample AMP on Google search result.
7. Switch to a Faster Host
If your current web host is slow, there isn’t really much difference all the other fixes will do. Switching to faster hosting is the only solution. If it is a case of an overgrown hosting plan, then you should consider upgrading your hosting to a higher package.
8. Avoid Plugin Overload
While plugins are a great way to achieve results without dealing with the technical stuff under the hood, an overload of the same can have a negative impact on your site’s speed.
Keep your plugin installation to the barest minimum. Actually, you should use them only if you have a very good reason to.
9. Avoid URL Redirects
Having too many redirects impacts your site’s load time negatively. Redirects increase the time visitors to your site have to wait to access resources on your web pages.
Fixing your redirect patterns to at least two if you must redirect at all improves your site’s loading speed significantly.
Optimizing your site’s loading speed should be a top priority for you. People simply do not want to wait more than 3 seconds to access any web resource.
You can start out by identifying what the problem is by conducting a site speed test. The Google PageSpeed Insights tool among others is one of the website testing tools that will come in handy when testing your overall website speed.
We hope we’ve helped you see why doing a website speed optimization can positively impact the success of your site?