When it comes to your website’s performance, page speed is of the utmost importance.
However, if you don’t understand how this metric works – and especially the factors that influence it – it can be difficult to improve.
To decrease your bounce rate and increase visitor engagement, it’s important that your web pages load quickly and seamlessly.
Having a website optimized for speed not only improves user experience (UX) but can also help improve your search engine rankings.
In this article, we explain what page speed is, why it matters, and how to measure it. Then we have nine quick solutions that you can use to reduce the loading speed of pages.
What is page speed?
In a nutshell, page speed refers to how fast your content loads when someone visits a page on your website. Not to be confused with the speed of the website. The page speed indicates the loading time of a certain page.
There are a variety of factors that can affect page speed. Some of the most important are:
- How many pictures, videos, and other media files are in the page?
- What themes and plugins are installed on your site?
- Coding and server-side scripts of your site (and the respective page)
All of these elements will affect the speed at which your page loads and therefore the user interface of your website. After all, visitors don’t like pages loading slowly and are more likely to click away from them.
Why is page speed important?
When it comes to page load speeds, every second counts. According to Google research, the likelihood of a bounce (the visitor leaves the hotel immediately) increases by 32 percent when loading times increase from one to three seconds.
If the page takes five seconds to load, the chance of a bounce increases by 90 percent:
In other words, if your pages don’t load in a matter of seconds, the chances of visitors leaving your site will increase significantly. Additionally, if your web pages are sluggish, it can affect your ability to drive engagement and conversions.
Page speed also plays a central role in search engine optimization (SEO). Google takes a variety of factors into account when deciding how to rank websites.
However, speed is an important ranking signal for both desktop and mobile search.
Another reason page speed matters is because it can affect consumer perception of your brand. If your web pages take too long to load or something goes wrong during the process, you can look unprofessional and your website can look unreliable.
Hence, if you want to run a highly effective website, you need to focus on optimizing page speed. The first step in doing this is to find out how your pages are currently performing.
How to measure page speed
Before making changes to your website, you need to measure the performance of your web pages. There are several tools you can use to test and measure page speed. Two popular solutions are Pingdom Website Speed Test and GTmetrix, both beginner-friendly options.
However, we recommend starting with Google PageSpeed Insights. This is an easy-to-use tool that allows you to measure and test the speed of your web pages on both desktop and mobile devices.
As a Google-powered tool, you can also ensure that you are meeting the performance benchmarks that are required for high search results.
To use PageSpeed Insights, simply enter the URL of the website you want to test into the text box and select the one Analyze Button:
Google PageSpeed Insights.
PageSpeed Insights then analyzes the content of your page and rates it on a scale from 0 to 100. Below your rating is a list of suggestions on how to reduce the speed of page loading:
Suggestions for improving performance.
It’s worth noting that you get a separate rating and list of suggestions for both the desktop and mobile versions of your website.
This information provides you with a solid starting point for measuring the speed of your web pages and specific steps you can take to improve page load speeds.
9 quick ways to reduce page load speed
Now that you understand the importance of page speed and testing your website’s performance, it is time to work on improving this key metric.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at nine simple ways to get your pages loaded faster.
1. Choose a hosting solution that is optimized for performance.
The hosting provider you use plays an important role in the management and performance of your website. That includes its page speeds.
One of the worst mistakes you can make is opting for mediocre hosting in order to get a lower monthly rate.
Cheap hosting often results in poor performance. This can mean that resources are being shared between multiple websites on an overloaded server, which can slow down your pages’ loading times.
On the other hand, there are a handful of performance-based hosting solutions that offer a powerful platform that is built for speed. Usually these providers don’t offer shared hosting, so you don’t have to worry about other websites draining your pool of potential resources.
2. Compress and optimize your images.
Images improve the appearance of your web pages and the quality of your content. However, large images can also slow down loading times.
Therefore, one of the easiest ways to slow down pages loading is to compress and optimize your images. This can include changing file formats, allowing lazy loading, and compressing images through lossy or lossless compression.
By reducing the file size of your images, you can reduce their weight and thus speed up the loading of your pages. There are a variety of image optimization plugins that you can use for this purpose, such as: B. WP Smush.
After you install and activate this plugin, your images will be automatically resized and compressed without affecting their quality. It includes lossless compression, lazy loading, and even bulk optimization of images.
If you’re not using WordPress as your CMS, then you should try tinypng.com, which can reduce your image size from 25% to 80%, and a free website app called Squoosh.
3. Reduce your redirects.
Too many redirects on your website can significantly affect loading times. Every time a page is redirected to a different location, the HTTP request and response process takes longer.
In some cases, of course, redirects may be required, e.g. B. when you switch to a new domain. However, eliminating unnecessary redirects on your website can result in significantly reduced page load times.
There are several ways to reduce redirects in WordPress. One way to do this is to avoid creating unnecessary ones when creating internal links and menus. On the other hand, you ensure that your top-level domain (TLD) is resolved with a maximum of one redirect.
If you need help identifying redirects that have been set up incorrectly on your site, you can use the Patrick Sexton redirect mapper tool:
The Patrick Sexton Redirect Mapper Tool.
This will reveal duplicate redirects. You can also use a tool like Screaming Frog to identify all of the redirects on your website and determine where they are going. This should make it easier to identify redirects that aren’t serving any purpose. You can then delete the ones you don’t need through your site’s .htaccess file.
4. Cache your web pages.
Caching is one of the most effective ways to speed up your web pages. Caching saves copies of your site’s files, thereby minimizing the amount of work the server takes to generate and serve a web page to a visitor’s browser.
Caching your web pages can help reduce the time to the first byte (TTFB) as the server uses fewer resources to load a page.
There are different ways to cache your web pages. You can do this at the server level, which means your host will do it for you.
Another option is to use a caching plugin like W3 Total Cache, a free WordPress plugin that allows you to cache your web pages quickly and easily. After installation and activation, simply navigate to General Settings > Page cache and choose the Activate Possibility.
5. Enable browser caching.
Similar to W3 Total Cache, WP Rocket is a powerful caching plugin that you can use on your WordPress site. It uses page caching and cache pre-loading to optimize the speed of your pages and get lightning-fast load times. WP Rocket is a premium plugin with a variety of pricing plans to choose from.
Synchronous means that the files are loaded one at a time in the order in which they are displayed on your website.
If the browser encounters a script using this method, other elements on the page will stop loading until that file is first fully loaded.
Conversely, asynchronous loading can load multiple files at the same time, which can speed up page performance. To set this up, render-blocking resources must be eliminated.
As you reduce the size of your files, you can combine them more easily. The result is cleaner code and leaner web pages that load faster.
Of course, searching through every line of code for every file on your site isn’t exactly efficient.
The settings of the Autoptimize WordPress plugin.
Given the multitude of features and settings on offer, configuring this plugin can be a bit overwhelming at first. To make your work easier, read this guide on how to set up Autoptimize on your website.
8. Use a content delivery network (CDN).
A content delivery network (CDN), also known as a “content distribution network”, is a network of servers that can be used to slow down the speed of page loading. It does this by hosting and serving copies of your website’s static content on servers around the world.
A CDN doesn’t work with your host, it works with it. In addition to the server hosting your primary website, you can use a CDN to distribute copies of your website’s files to strategically selected data centers.
This can maximize performance by reducing the distance data requests have to travel between browsers and your host’s servers. By loading the content for a web page from a server near each visitor, a CDN helps reduce network latency and produce lower TTFBs.
You have a variety of CDN options to choose from. One of them is choosing a host that will provide a CDN. You can activate it right from your own dashboard.
9. Eliminate unnecessary plugins.
Not all plugins are created equal. Having too many plugins on your website can create unnecessary bloat that slows down the website.
In addition, outdated or poorly maintained plugins can pose a security threat and even cause compatibility issues that affect performance.
Hence, minimizing the number of plugins that you use on your WordPress site is a smart idea. One of the easiest ways to do this is of course to disable and delete plugins that you are not currently using.
We also recommend checking the plugins you have installed to see if they are actually required. There may be some tools with overlapping functions and features, others that are simply no longer relevant to your needs.
After all, certain plugins can slow down your website more than others. To identify plugins that are slowing down your page speed, you can try testing them one by one.
First, disable all plugins (this is safest on a staging site):
Deactivating WordPress plugins.
Then turn them back on one at a time. Every time you activate a plugin, use a speed testing tool like PageSpeed Insights to see if your score and timing have been affected.
Many plugins can increase your page speed slightly. However, if you experience a sudden sharp spike, it may be time to find an alternative tool that does the same thing (but is better optimized).
Ultimately, reducing page load speed not only improves the overall performance and user interface of your website, but also improves its SEO. Fortunately, there are a variety of methods that you can use to cut your load times.
In addition to using a CDN and caching your pages, you can use plugins to tweak your images, postpone the loading of scripts, and minimize your site’s files.
Using a hosting solution that is optimized for performance can also have a huge impact on the speed of your website.
Just remember, every second it takes for your web pages to load increases the chances of your visitors leaving dramatically. How long can you run your business while losing leads?