Did you know roughly 40% of your website visitors will leave your site if it takes longer than three seconds to load? Page speed is defined as the amount of time it takes a specific page to load. It can be measured in terms of how long it takes the full page to load, the time to first byte (TTFB) or First Meaningful Paint, all of which will be explained in more detail later. Consumers demand immediacy today, so having a slow page speed is a surefire way to lose out on potential sales and ensure the content you worked so hard on goes unread. The platform you choose plays a big role in the speed of your page, as does the coding, image configuration and more. Among the many factors business owners need to consider for the success of their website, page speed ranks as one of the highest on the scale of importance.
Measuring Page Speed
Knowing whether your page speed is acceptable isn’t as straightforward as many people think. Most people believe the speed of their page should be measured based on how long it takes for the page to be fully loaded. While this is a simple method for measuring page speed, it’s not completely indicative of whether you have fast load times. For example, the First Meaningful Paint measurement is often considered the most accurate measurement of your page speed since it’s directly related to consumer interaction. Your webpage may take eight seconds to fully load, but if the top portion of the page loads in less than two seconds, then it may be perceived as a fast-loading page by consumers since they can see information at the top of the page almost immediately.
The TTFB measurement is defined as the amount of time it takes for a page to begin loading. It’s a measurement of the timeframe between connecting to a server and downloading the webpage contents. A slow TTFB is evident if your webpage shows a white page for a few seconds before the content is displayed. The best way to improve this aspect of your page speed is to use a fast and reliable hosting service and always keep your themes and plugins updated. When studying various metrics for page speed, there’s no certain metric to focus on, but just be sure to look at all of them and improve any that may be too slow.
Coding Guidelines For Improved Page Speed
Poor coding is one of the main reasons why pages have long load times. Too many images that aren’t optimized, various page elements and heavy HTML also add up to taking a significant amount of effort to load your page. And every time a visitor reloads your page, they have to wait for it to load all over again. That is unless you utilize browser caching, which remembers a user’s previously-loaded page so they don’t have to wait for it to load again. The good news, in general, is you don’t have to be a coding expert to improve your page speed. Finding the right plugin can make a big difference in the speed and is virtually effortless on your part.
WordPress vs. Drupal
Being comfortable with the content management system you use is vital to successfully manage your website daily. WordPress is by far the most popular system today, but many successful websites use Drupal. The advantages WordPress has are being user-friendly for people who aren’t web developers, a significant global community for support, affordable solutions and an extensive library of themes and plugins.
Drupal is typically used by website owners who want a little more flexibility with their content. It also allows you to create different permissions for users and assign specific access controls accordingly. The taxonomy system of Drupal is also more flexible, so it can handle much more content without sacrificing page speed.
Unless you have experience with building and designing websites and know how to increase page speed, WordPress is the common choice for website owners. However, if you desire the increased flexibility and customization options, then Drupal is the way to go. Just understand that if you don’t have significant experience, you will likely need to take some courses or hire a developer for your website.
Tips To Improve Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Your page speed is connected to SEO because a page with slow load times will suffer in the SEO category. Any website with a poor SEO ranking will not be very visible when users do an online search using relevant keywords. So increasing your page speed will not only keep your visitors on the page longer, but it will also boost your SEO. Some tips for improving SEO include:
- Compressing images and files – using a program like Photoshop is ideal so you can decrease the size of the files without compromising quality.
- Utilizing browser caching – this improves a visitor’s experience on your website so they don’t have to wait for the page to load every time. Unless you are constantly altering your website, you can set your information to be cached once a year or so.
- Creating keyword-rich content – a key component of SEO is creating unique content rich with keywords that provide value to consumers. You want your website to be viewed as a valuable resource people can rely on so they will return and boost your SEO ranking at the same time.
- Upgrading hosting services – the quality of the hosting provider you use makes a big difference in your page speed and overall SEO. You may be able to cut corners in some areas of your website, but a hosting service should not be one of them.
Increasing your website’s page speed is critical for a variety of reasons, including your SEO ranking so you can be discovered by more consumers. And when you utilize the proper resources available, the task is much easier to accomplish than it may seem to be, regardless of your level of experience.