Web speed is the time it takes a website to load when you visit it. Two seconds is the current benchmark set by Google; anything beyond that is considered a reason for a visitor to abandon a website.
When you have a high bounce rate, you will find it difficult to convert those site visitors to customers. One out of five users who leave your site will never return. Avoid that outcome by keeping your website loading time fast.
How Web Speed Impacts SEO:
Web speed is one of the technical but not-so-complicated parts of search engine Optimization (SEO). When you are trying to improve your SEO, while you should put some effort into publishing relevant content and having a link-worthy site, you have to do more. You also have to ensure that it loads fast enough to give your visitor a better user experience. When your visitors are happy while browsing your site, they will be more likely to spend more time on it and will have a higher likelihood of returning.
In 2010, Google announced that a page’s load time is one of its ranking factors for websites, but only for desktop users. In 2018, with more and more people browsing using their smartphones, mobile device page speed was added as a ranking factor, too. Now website owners need to exert more effort in increasing web speed on mobile devices and assure the speed of a website load time regardless of on what device their visitors use.
When you have a slow website, your only chance of ranking high on search engines is if you have great and relevant content. Even if you do, you don’t want to risk losing any of your audience because of a slow-loading website; that’s a no-no for businesses.
Producing good content is a waste if your web pages take three seconds or more to load. A single second increase in web speed means lost revenue—for big retailers such as Amazon and Walmart, maybe millions of dollars.
If you suspect that your website is slow, analyze the load speed using a tool first.
How to Test Web Speed:
It is definitely worthwhile to test how long a website loads both on a mobile device as well as a desktop. There are many tools currently available to test a website’s speed. Some are free and some are paid services, including:
PageSpeed Insights. Google itself has a tool for testing web speed. will suggest how you can make your page faster by analyzing your content. They will give you a score along with the tips on how you can improve your web speed. What’s great about using this tool is that their suggestions are related to Google’s Best Practices.
Mobile-Friendly Test. Another Google tool, its “Test results include a screenshot of how the page looks to Google on a mobile device, as well as a list of any mobile usability problems that it finds”.
Pingdom. Once a free tool, as of Feb. 6, 2019 it is only available as a paid service.
StatusCake. Known for its user-friendly interface, features include Page Speed Monitoring.
Pingometer. Getting lots of positive reviews due to the unlimited and fully customizable alert system.
Now that thousands of new websites are added each day, Google has become stricter in ranking websites. Content is king, but website owners also have to consider the technical aspects of running their sites. Is it fast enough? Are images of high quality? It can be quite complicated to keep all these things in mind while prioritizing the speed of a website. Therefore, website owners need to be aware of the factors that can slow down their site.
Factors Affecting the Speed of a Website:
There are several things causing a web page to load slower than it should. If it’s not your Internet connection and your browser, it only boils down to two things: your web host and the data you have on your website.
The biggest contributor to the speed of your site is the web host that provides you space on its server. It is worth investing in a decent host, especially when you are running your business online. You need a web host service that has a strong reputation for uptime. If your host server is down a lot, it doesn’t matter whether or not you use a fast-loading theme.
Aside from the provider’s server uptime and downtime, make sure they have reliable security features, support, caching, and are user-friendly. If you believe the problem is with the slow servers and you already have a web host provider, contact your provider.
Problems connected to the web host often happen when you use shared hosting. When there are others sharing the server, you will get limited disk space and bandwidth. Heavy traffic, slow processors or another site’s script all can increase your load-time or even cause a crash. This is the reason why it is the cheapest option you can have.
Sometimes, it is recommended to switch from basic shared hosting to a Virtual Private Server (VPS) or dedicated hosting. If you can afford it, dedicated hosting is an upgrade that gives you a server dedicated to your own personal use. Dedicated hosting also offers a higher level of security because it is the least attractive target for attacks.
The other things affecting a website’s speed are your data, including poorly written code, an error in the database, plugins, and images that are too large.
Here are some things you can do that can help improve your page speed:
Use a CDN. A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is recommended, especially if you are expecting traffic spikes on your website. It works by storing the cached version of your content in various geographical locations, resulting in faster load times. CloudFlare is by far the most popular CDN provider because they have a free version. The best thing about using it is you can protect your site from threats, thanks to the added security features. There are other CDN providers that are worth trying, however, such as Amazon CloudFront and Fastly.
Limit your HTTP requests. You want to avoid redirects, especially for landing pages, because too many Hypertext Transfer Protocols (HTTP), Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secures (HTTPS), or cookie requests cause your website to load more slowly. Every file on your website sends a unique HTTP request to the server, so one way to reduce HTTP request is to have fewer files.
Apply an efficient theme. You want a theme that will differentiate your website from others using the same or similar templates but, as much as possible, use a theme with minimal codes. An incorrectly coded theme may cause a web page to load slowly. Try switching to a default theme and observe if there is any discrepancy. For WordPress and website templates, ThemeForest provides a wide selection of simple themes. Consider adaptive and responsive design. If you are interested in creating your own theme, there are sites that allow you to customize elements of your website.
Reduce the size of your photos, videos, and logos. Gigantic images take up a lot of space on your server. You can reduce the size of your images and videos without affecting the quality. TinyJPG intelligently compresses JPG images, while JPEGmini also promises to reduce file size without compromising quality. When it comes to optimizing your images, it is recommended to resize it yourself rather than doing it via CSS. If you have logos, use PNG as the format because they are ideal for storing files at a small size compared to JPG.
Get rid of unnecessary plugins and add-ons. Plugins add functionality to your website—when you have a WordPress site, it is next to impossible to avoid them—but be selective. While—contrary to popular belief—it is not the number of plugins that will really slow down your site, the quality of each plugin does have an impact. Simple Page Tester lets you run an A/B split test of your plugins.
Remember that your site’s speed can have a lasting impression on a visitor. A fast-loading website or blog will have a great impact on your SEO, and once your site is optimized for search engines, it will be easier to convert site visitors to customers. More than that, you can have a better brand image. You can also have more traffic and page views when your website loads more quickly.