Beginner’s Guide to Site Speed Optimization

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Site speed optimization is the holy grail on search engine optimization.

If you want to find success in today’s ever-accelerating world, you must be quick in everything you do.

Potential customers get their first impressions of your brand after they interact with your website. That puts pressure on you to optimize it the best way possible so you can increase lead conversions.

In today’s guide, you’ll learn everything you need about page speed optimization is and how to improve it to serve the best user experience.

Let’s get to it.

What is Page Speed Optimization?

Page speed optimization is the process of improving the speed of a page on your website to make it load faster to visitors. On the other hand, site speed refers to the average loading speed for all pages on your website.

Both methods consist of proven practices that decrease page load time while maintaining the same functionality level on a website. 

Why is Site Speed Optimization Important?

The answer is straightforward: 

User experience and SEO.

A recent study by Pingdom has shown that 38% of visitors would leave a website if it takes longer than 5 seconds to load.

And…

According to Search Engine Journal, 70% of online consumers say that page speed has a direct impact on their purchase decisions.

test your site speed

Internet users today are always in a rush. 

We got too used to instant gratification that it now only takes seven seconds for more than half of us to leave a website if it’s not loading.

Now you might be wondering, how does all that relate to search engine optimization (SEO)?

Google loves its’ users.

When it comes to bad user experience, you’ll never stand a chance against other competitors with faster loading websites. You’ll can never rank on page one if your site takes too long to load.

How to Test Your Site Speed

It’s always a good idea to check your site loading speed and see how well it’s performing.

There’s a variety of tools online you can use when conducting site speed optimization.

Let’s start with what Google has to offer:

Google Pagespeed Insights.

page speed insights

This is a free web performance tool by Google that helps you test your site speed. And it’s really simple to use!

First, enter your site URL and click Analyze.

Wait for a few seconds…

Your results will come with a full report of how your website is performing and how you can improve it.

While the data here might seem untrue, this is what Google sees when crawling your website.

So:

Even if other tools show you a better loading speed, you must listen to Google when improving your site.

There are two other amazing tools to help you with this.

Pingdom and GTmetrix.

They work the same way as Google Pagespeed insights. Type in your URL. Wait for a few seconds. And you’ll get a full report on how to optimize your website.

How to Make Your Web Pages Load Faster

Now, let’s get to the most critical part of this site speed optimization guide.

We’re going to show you five quick ways to optimize your website for faster loading:

1- Review Your Hosting Plan

None of the next steps will work if the problem is with your host provider. 

Your server is what executes all the operations happening on your website. It also runs database queries and serves all your files to visitors.

Therefore:

Hosting is the first thing to think about if you want to improve your loading speed. 

2- Leverage Browser Caching

Browser caching means saving your site files the first time a user visits your website.  Each time a new visitor comes to your website, HTML, CSS, Javascript, and even images will be saved on their computers. 

Now:

The next time they come to your website, they wouldn’t have to download any new files. 

This simple trick reduces your load speed significantly. And it can be done with plugins or a few simple edits on your .htaccess file.

3- Optimize Your Images

Image optimizations is a huge component of site speed optimization.

Most of the time, images are the reason you see a huge difference in loading speed between two pages on the same site.

That because a single PNG file can be more than 5 or 10MB if its’ not compressed. 

Not only will that make your website load slowly, but it will also take up a lot of storage space.

Fortunately…

There are lots of image compression websites you can use online for free.

Some of the most popular ones are:

If you have Photoshop, it’s even easier for you!

Go to File > Save for Web.

image optimization

Select the quality you want and pay attention to the size at the bottom.

As you can see, the image in the example will be saved at a “Low” quality, and that reduces the original size from 9MB to 449Kb.

4- Limit Plugin Use

If you’re using WordPress on your website, you can install any site speed optimization plugin you want with a quick search in the directory.

But…

That will turn into a problem if you use lots of plugins at the same time. Too many plugins mean more files and code on your server. And that makes your website load even slower.

To fix this:

You must remove the plugins for any tasks you can do manually and quickly. Be sure only to keep the ones you absolutely need to keep your website up.

5- Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

CDNs are server networks that provide faster content delivery by reducing the physical distance between the server and the end-user. 

They work by storing your content on multiple servers, each of which is located in a different geographical location. 

When a user lands on your website, they’ll be served a version from the closet server to that location.

Wrapping it up

Site speed optimization is crucial for the growth of your company. However, the process can sometimes be a drag for many webmasters.

Use the tools we shared with you to test your site and learn how to optimize it better. And try to implement the five tricks above for a quick boost in your site speed.

Looking to generate more leads for your company and increase profits with SEO? 

We’re here for you! Check out our SEO services or contact us to learn more about how we can help you build your online presence.

    Jeramy Gordon is the founder and Chief Content Officer at the Lorem Ipsum Company. He has been creating successful content strategies for almost two decades and believes in the power of high-quality content. He lives in Orange County, California, with his wife and two children.

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