We all know the experience and frustration of trying to access a website that just won’t seem to load. It’s likely that you’ve even left a website (or many) just because it was taking too long to get to the content. Your customers are in the same boat when visiting your site. Page speeds are not a new dialogue in the web development and marketing circles. However, there are now updates in place from Google that are creating a greater sense of urgency to optimize slow loading websites so that they do not fall behind in their search rankings. Let’s explore a bit more on this update from Google, and we’ll leave you with some tech tips to improve your website load speed, too.
Google’s Speed Update
A few years back, Google released an update known as the “Speed Update” which was meant to put an emphasis on page speeds specifically for mobile searches. While they claimed that only the slowest sites’ mobile rankings would be affected, it sure did grab the attention of many marketers in their attempts to keep a well-optimized site for the best search results.
While the language can be quite technical when it comes to page speed optimization (we highly recommend getting expert support from a web development and SEO team), we’ll share a few of the central tips to speed up your site and create a better experience for your current and future customers.
Start improving page speed
1. Optimize website images
There are a few ways to optimize the images on your site to help each page load faster. The first option involves scaling the image size to an appropriate size for the browser before you upload the image to your website. Say you have an icon image that only needs to show up at 75 x 75 pixels on a browser, but the icon you have is 1000 x 1000 pixels. You’re going to use precious site loading time in order for that large image to load on your site as a tiny icon. So instead, we recommend resizing images from your computer first, so that when you upload them to your website, they are at the appropriate display size.
The second way to optimize images is to use image compression software like TinyPNG or Compressor.io to compress the images without losing quality. Again, this is done prior to uploading the image to your website.
2. Enable caching
Caching is a process that stores data from a website on a visitor’s browser so that the next time a request for that information is made, the site will load much faster. It’s essentially reusing the previous website data to avoid waiting for all of the site resources to load every time a visitor goes to your website. Keep in mind that depending on the caching settings for your site, when certain updates are made, a visitor may not be able to see them until their cache is cleared.
3. Engine compression
Sort of like putting your website into a zip file, website compression can quite dramatically reduce the time it takes for a site to load. Gzip is a method of compressing website files, which can be enabled in a few different ways. It’s best to have your trusted web development team assist in the compression process in case of any glitches during the process. Overall, this process can save approximately 50 – 70% of your website file size!
A few other ways to reduce your website load time:
- Reduce the number of plug-ins used, if possible
- Check the server for any errors
- Upgrade your site’s Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP) to the latest version
- Eliminate excessive redirects by removing any redirects that are not absolutely necessary
So there you have our expert tips on reducing the time it takes for a visitor to access your site. As always, be sure to reach out to Sabre’s professional web development team if it’s time for your company to build a faster, better-optimized website that allows users to get information and help customers make purchases faster.