Fast Page Speed Example

Why Fast Page Speed Matters in SEO

Speed Up Your Page, Speed Up Your Sales

Speed can make or break your website and your business. That’s why marketers, business owners, and web developers alike are paying particular attention to website performance. It’s common sense that a faster-loading web page will perform better, but how does this impact your business, and what speed is “good enough”?
 
Here is what you need to know about page load speed, how you can measure it, and some best practices for giving your pages and your business results a boost.
 
On this page, you’ll learn:
  • What is Page Speed?
  • Page Speed Metrics
  • Why Page Speed Matters
  • How Quickly Should Your Page Load?
  • Tools for Measuring Page Speed
  • Best Practices for Speeding Up Your Page

 

What is Page Speed?

Page speed refers to the amount of time it takes for a device’s screen to display all of the content for a particular page. Page speed is often confused with “site speed,” which is the average speed of several sample pages on a website. 
 

Page Speed Metrics

“Page speed” might seem like a straightforward enough term. But there are several different ways of measuring the loading speed of a website’s page. Here are some of the most common metrics used:
 

Time to First Byte (TTFB)

This is the time it takes between your browser requesting the page and the first byte of data being returned by the server. 
 

Fully Loaded Page

This is how long it takes for all of the resources on a page to load. It’s a straightforward and common way to measure page load time. 
 

First Meaningful Paint/First Contextual Paint

This is the time it takes for your page to load enough information that the user can read the content. If your page takes 11 seconds to load (yikes!), but just 2 seconds for the “first meaningful paint,” the user may be able to begin reading your content. 
 

Time to Interactive

This is how long it takes for your page to load enough that it becomes interactive. When can visitors click on menu items or links or scroll through your content? 
 

Page Size

While not a time measurement, you’ll quickly learn that there is a strong correlation between the total size of the resources on your page (code, images, scripts, files) and your page load time.
 
 

Why Page Speed Matters

Page speed should be a vital part of your digital marketing strategy. Not only do consumers expect a positive experience when they click on your link, but page speed is also vital for search engine optimization (SEO) and your bottom line results. 

Page Speed and the User Experience

Consumers aren’t a patient bunch. If a visitor tries to go to your page to learn more about your brand or make a purchase, they don’t want to wait for your content to load. If you make them wait too long, there’s a good chance they will give up, hit the “back” button, and try someone else. 

Why Page Speed Matters
What does the data tell us_

What does the data tell us?

According to the latest data released by Google, website delays result in lower satisfaction rates among consumers. Specifically, a 2-second delay on an unfamiliar site was enough to impact satisfaction and the intention to return. 

User journeys vary depending on the visitor’s goal, so it’s tough to generalize the customer experience. There isn’t a “progress bar” on your web page telling a visitor how much longer they have to wait for the page to load. Will it be two more seconds or 20? Since they don’t know, they’re likely to grumble and leave.

Page Speed and SEO

Google has been using page speed as one of its ranking factors for desktop searches since 2010. In 2017, Google began experimenting with its Accelerated Mobile Pages Project (AMP), which aimed to make mobile pages load more quickly. The company also gave page speed more consideration by giving individual rankings to mobile sites through its “mobile-first” program.

In 2018, the search engine giant announced a new update that made speed a factor for mobile rankings. In 2020, Google announced that it is using “core web vitals” as a ranking factor, with page speed at the heart of this new metric. 

Research has shown that Google might be measuring TTFB specifically when it considers page speed. Further, a site with slower page speed means that the search engine can’t crawl it to add pages to its index. 

PAGE Speed 2
Page Speed and Conversions

Page Speed and Conversions

If page load time impacts the user experience and your website rankings, it makes sense that it will also affect your conversions and bottom-line results. In other words, slow speed can be a business killer. 

According to Google’s own research, over half (53%) of mobile users leave a site that takes longer than three seconds to load. Those are visitors you have no chance at converting if your website is slow. 

Just a one-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. Amazon says that a single second could cost them $1.6 billion in sales annually. 

How Quickly Should Your Page Load?

So, now that you know a bit about page load speed and why it matters, how fast should your page load? The short answer is “as fast as possible.”

Having a lighting fast web page isn’t as simple as it sounds. In the current environment, a target of three seconds or less is a worthy goal. 

According to a recent page speed study by Backlinko, the average desktop TTFB of 5.2 million pages studied was 1.286 seconds on desktop and 2.594 seconds on mobile. The average time to fully load a website was 10.3 seconds on desktop versus 27.3 seconds on mobile. 

How Quickly Should Your Page Load_

Why Page Speed Matters

Page speed should be a vital part of your digital marketing strategy. Not only do consumers expect a positive experience when they click on your link, but page speed is also vital for search engine optimization (SEO) and your bottom line results. 

Page Speed and the User Experience

Consumers aren’t a patient bunch. If a visitor tries to go to your page to learn more about your brand or make a purchase, they don’t want to wait for your content to load. If you make them wait too long, there’s a good chance they will give up, hit the “back” button, and try someone else. 

Why Page Speed Matters

What does the data tell us?

According to the latest data released by Google, website delays result in lower satisfaction rates among consumers. Specifically, a 2-second delay on an unfamiliar site was enough to impact satisfaction and the intention to return. 

User journeys vary depending on the visitor’s goal, so it’s tough to generalize the customer experience. There isn’t a “progress bar” on your web page telling a visitor how much longer they have to wait for the page to load. Will it be two more seconds or 20? Since they don’t know, they’re likely to grumble and leave.

What does the data tell us_

Page Speed and SEO

Google has been using page speed as one of its ranking factors for desktop searches since 2010. In 2017, Google began experimenting with its Accelerated Mobile Pages Project (AMP), which aimed to make mobile pages load more quickly. The company also gave page speed more consideration by giving individual rankings to mobile sites through its “mobile-first” program.

In 2018, the search engine giant announced a new update that made speed a factor for mobile rankings. In 2020, Google announced that it is using “core web vitals” as a ranking factor, with page speed at the heart of this new metric. 

Research has shown that Google might be measuring TTFB specifically when it considers page speed. Further, a site with slower page speed means that the search engine can’t crawl it to add pages to its index. 

PAGE Speed 2

Page Speed and Conversions

If page load time impacts the user experience and your website rankings, it makes sense that it will also affect your conversions and bottom-line results. In other words, slow speed can be a business killer. 

According to Google’s own research, over half (53%) of mobile users leave a site that takes longer than three seconds to load. Those are visitors you have no chance at converting if your website is slow. 

Just a one-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. Amazon says that a single second could cost them $1.6 billion in sales annually. 

Page Speed and Conversions

How Quickly Should Your Page Load?

So, now that you know a bit about page load speed and why it matters, how fast should your page load? The short answer is “as fast as possible.”

Having a lighting fast web page isn’t as simple as it sounds. In the current environment, a target of three seconds or less is a worthy goal. 

According to a recent page speed study by Backlinko, the average desktop TTFB of 5.2 million pages studied was 1.286 seconds on desktop and 2.594 seconds on mobile. The average time to fully load a website was 10.3 seconds on desktop versus 27.3 seconds on mobile. 

How Quickly Should Your Page Load_

Tools for Measuring Page Speed

Sure, you could sit in front of your computer with a stopwatch while your website loads. However, this approach is tedious and not very scientific. It doesn’t take into account the notion that some users are trying to access your site from different locations and devices. 

A better option is to use an online tool to measure page speed. There are plenty of options!

These are some of the tools that we use to evaluate and optimize page speed for our client’s websites:

  1. Google Tools

Since Google holds your destiny in its hands, we use a variety of Google tools to evaluate and optimize website performance relative to speed. Among them are:

  • PageSpeed Insights- This is Google’s page speed test tool that gives a score and recommendations for improvement. 
  • Google Lighthouse- This is a developer tool used to audit and improve the quality of web pages. 
  • WebDev- This measures factors like performance, accessibility, SEO, and best practices.
  • AMP Test- A test that verifies that your AMP pages are valid and will be shown on mobile search.
  • Mobile-Friendly Test- This test verifies that your site is mobile-friendly and provides recommendations for improvement.
  1. GT Metrix

One of the top website performance testing tools, GT Metrix comes with a variety of features that allow you to benchmark and track your progress as you follow suggestions to improve your score. 

  1. Dotcom Tools

This tool allows you to instantly test your website speed from up to 25 locations worldwide. You can also choose the browser type for the test. 

  1. Dareboost

This is a free website speed testing and analysis tool. You’ll get a dashboard audit of your website’s performance, along with dozens of tips for optimization. You can also compare your site with the performance of your competitors. 

  1. Uptrends

This is another tool that allows you to test your web page speed on desktop and mobile across different browsers, screen sizes, bandwidth speeds, and starting locations. 

  1. Cloudinary

This tool, powered by WebPageTest, will analyze every image on your page. It then provides actionable and measurable information about how to optimize those images to improve page load time. 

Best Practices for Speeding Up Your Page

Now that you know how important website speed is and know how to benchmark your load time, it’s time to do something about it. These best practices will help guide the changes to speed up your page. 

  1. Check Your Web Hosting

The cheapest web hosting plan isn’t necessarily the best. Budget hosting might be fine when your website is new, but you’ll want something more robust as your traffic increases. 

Both the company and plan you choose will impact your website speed. Spend a good deal of time researching your hosting options so that you can find one that will optimize your performance.

Check Your Web Hosting
Optimize Your Images-1
  1. Optimize Images

Taking a look at the images on your website can often give you the biggest gains. In general, images can take up anywhere from 50-90% of a web page’s size. So, the more you can compress and optimize your image, the faster your page is going to load. 

First, remove any images you can live without. This includes extra fonts and colored backgrounds. Next, take a look at the image files you have left. 

It’s a good idea to keep images at 1920px in width or smaller and below 150kb in size. Finally, run your images through an optimizer like Compressor.io.

  1. Minimize HTTP Requests

Whenever a browser requests an image, file, or page from a server, this is an HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol). 

Yahoo reports that these requests account for roughly 80% of a web page’s load time. Browsers will only load up to 8 connections at a time. So, the more HTTP requests you have, the longer your visitor will have to wait. 

You can reduce these requests by combining CSS/JS files, limiting the number of scripts that need to be loaded on mobile, and reducing the number of images you use. 

Minimize HTTP Request
Enable Compression-1
  1. Enable Compression

For your website to load as swiftly as possible, your files need to be small. In most cases, you can accomplish this without sacrificing quality. 

You can run a compression audit with a tool like GIDNetwork, which will give you an idea of the potential gains you can achieve. Then, use a software application like Gzip to compress and reduce the file sizes of your HTML, JavaScript, and CSS file that are larger than 150 bytes. 

  1. Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network)

Having a ton of traffic is excellent news for your website and your business. This reality will also slow down page load speed for users as your server struggles to load all of the content. 

The location of those visitors matters as well. People who are closer to your server will get faster load times than those who are farther away. 

When you use a Content Delivery Network (CDN), a cache of your website is saved on servers around the globe. The server closest to the visitor will be the one that sends the data, making the response faster. Examples of popular CDNs are Cloudfare and Stackpath

Use a CDN-1
Turn On Browser Caching-1
  1. Turn on Browser Caching

Browsers can save, or “cache,” a lot of information like images, stylesheets, and JavaScript files, so that the data doesn’t have to be pulled from the server again if the visitor returns to your site. 

You can turn on browser caching to enable this. If you make any changes, you set an expiration date for that cache so that the browser knows when to load a fresh set of data. 

  1. Host Videos Externally

Videos might add value to your website. Surveys show that 64% of consumers are more likely to buy products online if they can view videos about it first. 

However, videos are terribly slow to load if they aren’t optimized correctly. You shouldn’t host videos on your own server. Instead, they need to be on a third-party website, like YouTube. Then, you can embed the video on your page, and you won’t have to worry about page speed. 

Page speed is one of the most overlooked yet most essential factors in getting customer’s attention, increasing conversions, and retaining business. Making the speed of your website a priority can spell the difference between the success and failure of your business. 

Host Videos Externally
Ready to take Next Steps-1

Ready to take the next step?

Contact us today to start a conversation about how we can help speed up your page and boost your results. 

 

Written by David Carpenter, President, Chief Digital Strategist of Connection Model. Find David on LinkedIn.

Best Practices for Speeding Up Your Page

Now that you know how important website speed is and know how to benchmark your load time, it’s time to do something about it. These best practices will help guide the changes to speed up your page. 

  1. Check Your Web Hosting

The cheapest web hosting plan isn’t necessarily the best. Budget hosting might be fine when your website is new, but you’ll want something more robust as your traffic increases. 

Both the company and plan you choose will impact your website speed. Spend a good deal of time researching your hosting options so that you can find one that will optimize your performance.

Check Your Web Hosting
  1. Optimize Images

Taking a look at the images on your website can often give you the biggest gains. In general, images can take up anywhere from 50-90% of a web page’s size. So, the more you can compress and optimize your image, the faster your page is going to load. 

First, remove any images you can live without. This includes extra fonts and colored backgrounds. Next, take a look at the image files you have left. 

It’s a good idea to keep images at 1920px in width or smaller and below 150kb in size. Finally, run your images through an optimizer like Compressor.io.

Optimize Your Images-1
  1. Minimize HTTP Requests

Whenever a browser requests an image, file, or page from a server, this is an HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol). 

Yahoo reports that these requests account for roughly 80% of a web page’s load time. Browsers will only load up to 8 connections at a time. So, the more HTTP requests you have, the longer your visitor will have to wait. 

You can reduce these requests by combining CSS/JS files, limiting the number of scripts that need to be loaded on mobile, and reducing the number of images you use. 

Minimize HTTP Request
  1. Enable Compression

For your website to load as swiftly as possible, your files need to be small. In most cases, you can accomplish this without sacrificing quality. 

You can run a compression audit with a tool like GIDNetwork, which will give you an idea of the potential gains you can achieve. Then, use a software application like Gzip to compress and reduce the file sizes of your HTML, JavaScript, and CSS file that are larger than 150 bytes. 

Enable Compression-1
  1. Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network)

Having a ton of traffic is excellent news for your website and your business. This reality will also slow down page load speed for users as your server struggles to load all of the content. 

The location of those visitors matters as well. People who are closer to your server will get faster load times than those who are farther away. 

When you use a Content Delivery Network (CDN), a cache of your website is saved on servers around the globe. The server closest to the visitor will be the one that sends the data, making the response faster. Examples of popular CDNs are Cloudfare and Stackpath

Use a CDN-1
  1. Turn on Browser Caching

Browsers can save, or “cache,” a lot of information like images, stylesheets, and JavaScript files, so that the data doesn’t have to be pulled from the server again if the visitor returns to your site. 

You can turn on browser caching to enable this. If you make any changes, you set an expiration date for that cache so that the browser knows when to load a fresh set of data. 

Turn On Browser Caching-1
  1. Host Videos Externally

Videos might add value to your website. Surveys show that 64% of consumers are more likely to buy products online if they can view videos about it first. 

However, videos are terribly slow to load if they aren’t optimized correctly. You shouldn’t host videos on your own server. Instead, they need to be on a third-party website, like YouTube. Then, you can embed the video on your page, and you won’t have to worry about page speed. 

Page speed is one of the most overlooked yet most essential factors in getting customer’s attention, increasing conversions, and retaining business. Making the speed of your website a priority can spell the difference between the success and failure of your business. 

Host Videos Externally

Ready to take the next step?

Contact us today to start a conversation about how we can help speed up your page and boost your results. 

 

Written by David Carpenter, President, Chief Digital Strategist of Connection Model. Find David on LinkedIn.

Ready to take Next Steps-1