Website Speed Optimization Techniques

For any business, blog, or organization, user experience is key. If you want users to browse your products or read your text, your website should have optimized page speed so that your content is readily available once they choose to engage with it. In fact, 70% of users have admitted that page speed influences their likeliness to buy from a business. In this blog, we will explore methods that will ensure that your website has optimized page speed.

Analytics dashboard with graphs showing website performance, load time by country, and uptime metrics.

What is Website Loading Speed?

Before we explore five opportunities to optimize your website speed, let’s highlight what the term actually means. Generally speaking, a website’s page load speed refers to how quickly your website loads for users. It’s based on the average of multiple page speeds, such as how long it takes for elements, like images and text, to fully load on a page.

What is a Good Site Speed?

Your website should load as fast as possible. Ideally, it should load within three seconds, or two seconds if it’s an ecommerce website. Anything after this window, bounce rates begin to skyrocket, with 40% of users reporting that they will wait no longer than three seconds before leaving.

Why Does Website Speed Matter?

Website speed is crucial to the success of any online business, especially ecommerce businesses. It directly impacts conversion rates and search engine rankings, and even influences visitors to become repeat purchasers.

Conversion

Speed is a top priority for those who shop online. Fast-loading websites and pages have been linked to lower bounce rates and higher conversion rates. In fact, a one-second website speed improvement may increase mobile conversions by almost 27%, according to Google. Optimizing website speed reduces the chance of a customer leaving without purchasing, thus increasing the opportunity to make a sale. 

Google Search Ranking

Google, the most popular search engine in the world, prioritizes helping users find the most relevant and quality sites out there. To do this, it has a proprietary ranking system to sort through billions of web pages to connect users with the results they’re looking for.

In May 2021, Google added Core Web Vitals to its search ranking algorithm and combined them with existing signals to measure how users assess a web page. In other words, all of these signals measure how fast users think your website is.

What are the Core Web Vitals?

Core Web Vitals are user-centric metrics that help users perceive how fast a web page is – they are made up of three main factors:

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

LCP represents the time it takes for the site to show the main page content on the screen, ready for action. It scored at the page level; to meet Google’s standards, an individual page’s content must load two to three seconds. If it’s longer than that, the page will receive a low LCP score.

First Input Delay (FID)

FID rates how quickly the web page becomes interactive. When a user clicks on something, how fast does the browser process it and produce a result? An FID score of fewer than 100 milliseconds is ideal. If it’s more than 300 milliseconds, however, the score will be docked.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

CLS represents the visual stability of the page. If a button appears in a specific place during the initial page load, but jumps to an alternative spot when another element loads, that is a layout shift – and it’s not good for users. Google seeks a CLS rating of 0.1 and below. Scores are computed mathematically based on the amount of the screen content that shifts and the distance the layout shifts. A rating that’s between 0.1 and 0.25 needs improvement, anything more is docked in score. 

Google Core Web Vitals

So, what do the Core Web Vitals mean for your business? Improving your website speed helps you rank higher on Google’s search results thus increasing the potential to be discovered by more customers.

Loyalty

Loyalty is another contributing factor to why website loading speed is so important. Speed plays a significant role in getting current customers to come back to your website and make a repeat purchase. To lower customer acquisition costs in the future, investing in reducing website load times and increasing page speed is vital.

How Can I Check My Website Speed?

There are a number of tools available to check your website speed. Here are a few we recommend:

Google PageSpeed Insights

PageSpeed Insights (PSI) reports on the user experience of a page on both desktop and mobile devices as well as provides suggestions on how the page may be improved. The tool tests your page against Google’s Core Web Vitals and breaks down the time it takes your website to reach each stage of the page loading process.

Page Speed Insights

 
 

GTMetrix

GTMetrix is a web-based tool that provides an analysis of website speed. It analyzes a website’s load time, size, and requests, and then generates a score with specific recommendations to improve it. The score is made up of two components: performance, which is essentially your Google Lighthouse score, combined with several of GTMetrix’s own assessments, and layout, which grades how well a page is built for performance. 

GTMetrix

 

Pingdom

Pingdom ranks website speed from 0 to 100 and is best known for being easy to utilize and navigate for beginners. The tool allows you to test your website based on location and provides performance grade, page load time, content size, page size, and the total number of requests and suggestions for improvements.

Pingdom

 

 

Uptrends

Uptrends allows you to test your website by typing in your domain and choosing one of its 11 global server locations. It shows your Google PageSpeed score, load time, page size, Core Web Vitals, and requests. Similar to the other tools, Uptrends also provides suggestions for performance improvements.

Uptrends

Sematext

Sematext is a DevOps tool that combines all aspects of website monitoring, from real-time alerts to debugging solutions, major frameworks support, and end-to-end visibility and observability. It also provides Sematext Synthetics, a feature that allows you to test website speed across multiple locations and different devices. 

Sematext

 

How to Optimize Website Speed

In order to know how to increase website speed, you must first understand that there are a variety of factors that determine how fast a page loads. In other words, there is not one solution, but instead a collection of techniques that can collectively improve website speed. Here are some ways that you can increase page speed:

Caching Systems

If your website is experiencing issues with page load speed, investing in a caching system could prove significantly effective. A cache is a high-speed data storage layer that holds onto a subset of data in order to deliver it quickly when it is requested. Caches store files such as images, JavaScript Files, and CSS files. When a webpage uses a cache, the content is stored and retrieved as opposed to being created by the website’s database each time a user engages with the page. This will significantly increase website speed.

Image Management

When maintaining a website, you should understand that image files can weigh down the efficiency of your page. Luckily, there are several methods to successfully manage images in order to optimize website speed. One of the best ways to handle images on a website is through a technique known as lazy loading. Lazy loading images includes loading images on a page asynchronously; meaning, images are fully loaded only when they enter a user’s viewport. So, if a user is viewing the top of a page, the images at the bottom will not load until they scroll down, which improves website speed.

Another useful tip would be to avoid using text in your images, as this does nothing to impact SEO while still increasing loading times. Finally, make sure you are sizing your images properly. Ensure that your image is resized and resaved with the dimensions in which you intend to display it. This can be done through a number of image editors such as Photoshop.

Script Loading Order

In order to optimize a web page, you should have your scripts loading at the end of the page. By placing your <script> tag at the beginning of a page, your website will suffer noticeable performance issues. This is because the <script> tag will block the page from rendering until it has downloaded and executed the JavaScript code. Understand that browsers will not begin to render anything on a webpage until the opening <body> tag is encountered. Having your script load at the end avoids such delays and is an easy way to increase page speed.

Content Delivery Networks (CDN)

Another reason for a website’s poor performance could be the location of a user trying to access the page. To put it simply: the farther data has to travel, the slower the page will be loaded. Fortunately, this is not out of your control. To improve page load speed, you should invest in a Content Delivery Network (CDN). A CDN is a geographically distributed group of servers that will cache your files across several locations, allowing for faster loading times for long-distance users. If you want your website to have a wide reach, a CDN will help optimize website speed.

External CSS and JS Files

As mentioned above, caching files is an important part of increasing website speed. Cached files are loaded before a page renders, which improves page load speed. Considering this, it is important to understand that inline JavaScript and CSS files are stored in the HTML document itself, and will not be cached. Therefore, it is advisable to use external JavaScript and CSS files, which will be stored in the cache system. By freeing up your website of unnecessary work, you will optimize page speed.

Optimize Your Website’s Speed Today

Improving website speed not only keeps your users engaged with your content, but it also has SEO benefits. Search engines like Google take page load speed into consideration when ranking websites. For a successful online presence, it is imperative that you optimize website speed.

Managing a website can be complicated and overwhelming. If you find yourself unsure whether your efforts can adequately boost your website’s speed, don’t be afraid to reach out for professional help. The experienced professionals at Americaneagle.com would be happy to assist in optimizing your website’s speed. Contact us today to get started.


About Author

Taylor Karg
Taylor Karg is Americaneagle.com’s Marketing Content Writer. She graduated from the University of Missouri with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. Over the years, she’s gained experience writing for B2B brands across a variety of industries. Taylor prides herself on her ability to tell a story – and having fun while doing it. When not interviewing or writing, Taylor can be found eating tacos and watching the latest Netflix, Hulu or HBO series.


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