Piranha Solutions are a digital marketing and media advertising agency in Preston, Manchester, Blackpool and Warrington

Posted on
July 25th, 2017    

Speed is King

Page load times are a key aspect of SEO. Nobody wants to wait ages for their web pages to load! But it goes deeper than that. A user might well get bored of waiting and leave a slow site.

However, that’s not the only downside to slow webpages. They can even ruin your rankings! This can be even more damaging for visitor numbers.

So, what practical steps can you take to make your web pages load quicker?

Take a Speed Test

To know how fast your website is loading, you need to perform a speed test using a tool. There are several free tools online that can deliver helpful results.

Google has provided webmasters its own gizmo, PageSpeed Insights. This enables site owners to evaluate their speed and ensure their customers’ needs are adequately served.

Other free online speed tools include GTmetrix and Pingdom. Simply run your site’s URL through these tools and its speed will automatically be calculated for you!

A speed reading tells you where your site sits. Remember: it’s always worth running your URL through multiple tools to calculate an aggregate score. This is because each tool will test your site through a different browser and web server, generating inevitable disparity in the results.

Check out this example reading on GTmetrix:

speed is king

The web page (example.com) is exceptionally fast with a fully loaded time of 131ms. This figure gives the page a perfect score on the GTmetrix tool.

How Fast is Fast Enough?

Google has previously instructed webmasters to aim for a fully loaded time under 2 seconds. The previous example page achieves this comfortably because it is in basic HTML and has no images, amongst other factors.

As a general rule, websites which contain a usable amount of information will always take longer to load than a simple page that is virtually blank! Other limiting factors might include your site structure.

You should try to make your page as fast as possible in every circumstance.

Page Speed Factors

There are many factors which influence a page’s fully loaded time. Put simply, they concern the website’s structure and the amount of information the browser has to display.

Here are some things you can do to speed up your website:

  • Minify HTML, Javascript and CSS
  • Optimise images (making them as small possible without a visibly reducing their quality)
  • Avoid the use of render-blocking Javascript
  • Utilise caching

For comparison, here are some results from a slow web page (on Pingdom):

poor page speed

A load time of 10.81 is extremely slow and way over Google’s guidelines. Not many visitors are going to stick around long enough to view the page!

Improvements excluding images can be very technical and require a working understanding of web development.

Caching can be placed at both user level, and website level. A user’s cache is when they visit a site once, their browser will save as many requests as have been enabled, and save them. This is why a site may change when you clear your cache. Alternatively, at a developer level, caching can be set so that the entire site will be cached into a state, until that cache is cleared so it can be ‘re-recorded’ as such.

The Big Picture

A handy tip is to compress your images, making them smaller. ‘Smaller’ in this sense does not mean smaller on the page! A standard image might be 2mb in physical size, whereas a compressed version of the same image might weigh in at anything down to 100kb or even less.

The smaller an image is, the quicker a browser can display it. Using free online tools like TinyPNG makes compressing images simple.

Professional Speed Optimisation from Piranha

Our web developers and digital marketing team know every trick in the book to make web pages load faster.

If your site is slow and you want to improve user experience, we’d love to hear from you!

The Piranha SEO team can make sure your site is set up to load as quickly as possible. That way, you can keep your customers happy. Call us on 01772 888331 or email us at becreative@piranha-solutions.com!

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