How to Improve Your Page Speed 2018: Analysis and Tips

cnxt_dev
cnxt_dev
2018/05/09 08:15

Website page speed is an essential ingredient for every website that can make or break the success of a site.

No matter if you have very good content your competitors’ website is more likely to get more traffic even if their content is mediocre if their pages load extremely fast.

Page speed can be measured in two ways by counting the time required to fully display the content of a  certain website page, metric which is known as the “page load time” or “time to first byte”; this is the time needed by your browser to receive the first byte of information from the web server.

Your website performance has a direct impact on several factors that are essential to your brand:

  • Page ranking in search engines
  • Conversion rates
  • User experience – A bad UX means a loss of revenue if your website visitors have to wait too long to get the information they are looking for. Currently, smartphone users are very quick on giving up on a slow website.
  • Engagement
  • Credibility

Think Mobile First 

Starting with the year 2010, Google has decided to start ranking websites based on page loading time and not only based on parameters such as the Meta title, Meta description, etc.

The combined number of mobile and tablet users has surpassed the total number of desktop users worldwide starting with 2014 and the upwards trend is still continuing; as a result, businesses need to continue to focus on mobile first.

In 2015, Google released “Mobilegeddon”, an update in their search algorithms tailored specifically for mobile users. Through this update, Google has decided once again to adapt to consumer behavior.

Mobile-first indexing arose in response to the fact that the average smartphone users spend at least 4 hours each day on their mobile devices, surfing the web, shopping, etc.

According to recent studies customers’ behavior has changed in the last few years. As a result:

  • 60%+ of people make purchases through mobile devices
  • Mobile purchases account for more than 41% of revenue, among top retailers
  • 66% of social media time comes from smartphones

In October 2017, Zenith has released their latest Mobile Advertising Forecasts report. According to this report mobile devices now account for 70% of internet usage worldwide, while in the United States they reach a total of 77% of internet usage.

According to a recent Google research, the average time required to fully load an average mobile landing page is 22 seconds. However, research also shows that 53% of visitors will leave a mobile page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

Having numerous websites at their fingertips, online will not wait for slow pages to load. If one of your pages doesn’t show up really fast, your customer will move on to faster online stores. As a result, you will not be able to convert those clicks into sales and in addition, your customer will have a bad experience.

With all this insightful data, we hope you now have a better understanding of why webpage loading speed is crucial.

Ever since the launch of Google’s Mobilegeddon, the page load time has been an important metric and a topic for website improvement. But how fast is fast enough?

What is the average load time?

The average time for loading a website page mainly depends on two factors: your industry and your location. If you want to compare your website here are some of the average values:

Industry United States United Kingdom Germany Japan
Automotive 9.5 sec 12.3  sec 11.0 sec 10.3 sec
Business & Industrial Markets 8.7 sec 8.3 sec 8.2 sec 8.1 sec
Classifieds & Local 7.9 sec 8.3 sec 7.0 sec 8.3 sec
Finance 8.3 sec 8.0 sec 8.6 sec 7.6 sec
Media & Entertainment 9 sec 8.8 sec 7.6 sec 8.4 sec
Retail 9.8 sec 10.3 sec 10.3 sec 8.3 sec
Technology 11.3 sec 10.6 sec 8.8 sec 10sec
Travel 10.1 sec 10.9 sec 7.1 sec 8.2 sec

The standards that have been used lately are pulled from a study conducted by Geoff Kenyon. He has tested website speed against the rest of the web:

  • if your site loads in 5 seconds, it is faster than approximately 25% of the web
  • if your site loads in 2.9 seconds, it is faster than approximately 50% of the web
  • if your site loads in 1.7 seconds, it is faster than approximately 75% of the web
  • if your site loads in 0.8 seconds, it is faster than approximately 94% of the web

According to Google’s study, the likelihood of a user abandoning your website increases by 113% as a page load time goes from 1 second to 7 seconds.

A better website response time does lead to maximum conversion rates, and every 1 second delay in page load decreases customer satisfaction by 16 percent, page views by 11 percent and conversion rates by 7 percent according to Aberdeen Group research.

Maile Ohye mentions in one of Google’s Webmaster videos, that “2 seconds is the threshold for e-commerce website acceptability. At Google, we aim for under a half second.”

Here are some other interesting data:

  • A 1-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
  • If you have an e-commerce website that is making $100,000 per day, just a 1-second page delay could cost you $2.5 million a year in lost sales

What Should Site Owners Do?

Now that you are aware that a poor Page speed could influence your rankings, you are probably wondering how you could find out if the Page Speed of your website is below the accepted threshold.

There are numerous online tools available out that you can use in order to achieve optimal performance.

PageSpeed Insights

According to Google, about 30% of the pages they have analyzed could have diminished the overall size of the page by 250KB just by compressing images and text. One of the recommendations made by Google was putting your website to a test through the Test My Site tool. This way you will have an idea of your site’s mobile-friendliness and mobile page speed.

Google’s PageSpeed Insights is an easy-to-use tool that will not only analyze the page content but will also generate suggestions to make the page faster. PageSpeed Insights evaluates the desired URL through a mobile user agent as well as by using a desktop user agent; measuring the performance of your site for both desktop and mobile.

Pingdom

Pingdom is a paid powerful and feature-rich website monitoring service. You can analyze your WordPress website through Pingdom and in return, this tool will give you more than just the issue list; it will generate a performance grade, a total load time, the total page size, and the number of requests you have on your website  in a very helpful ‘waterfall’ format

GTMetrix

The basic use of GTMetrix is free; however, by using a registered or a paid account, you will be offered several other options, such as the possibility to choose the testing locations, automate testing and more.

Gtmetrix uses both Google Page Speed and Yahoo’s YSlow; each of these tools offer a slightly different methodology of evaluating how a website’s structure impact its speed. GTMetrix will also make recommendations for making things faster.

Monitis

Monitis is cloud-based website monitoring service that can also evaluate servers, networks, cloud services, and even mail servers. Monitis offers a combination of uptime monitoring, full page load monitoring, and transaction monitoring to increase the end-user experience and return on investment.

What can affect your Page Speed?

A website’s page speed varies according to several factors. A good Speed Test tool should provide the following details:

  • Pinpoint scripts, fonts, and plugins causing load time issues (HTML, Javascript, CSS)
  • Verify minification of your scripts
  • Check for large images that could lead to bottlenecks
  • Establish if you have render-blocking JavaScript or CSS
  • Test Time to First Byte (TTFB)
  • Analyze total load times, page sizes, and # of requests
  • Measure performance from different geographical locations
  • Measure rendering speed through most common browsers
  • Analyzing HTTP Headers
  • Check the performance of your Content Delivery Network
  • Test if assets are loading correctly from your CDN

Some of the factors that can be easily tweaked to improve the speed are:

· Use a fast web host

In case you are using a cheap shared hosting, you should not expect a good page load time. As numerous websites are sharing the resources on the server you will probably experience a sluggish performance. Start by changing your web host to a more suitable one for your venture.

· Optimize your images

Images can be large, and make your website to load slower.  Do not forget to compress each and every image you upload on the server

· Start using a Content Delivery Network also known as a CDN

If you have a decent amount of traffic this will prove to be quite beneficial.

· Compress your website with gzip

Compression reduces response times by diminishing the size of the HTTP response. By using gzip you will most likely see a reduced response size by about 70%.

Conclusion

Although the loading speed is just one of the factors Google is analyzing when determining your site’s ranking, it’s definitely a factor that should not be ignored. However, if done correctly it can help improve user experience and revenue at the same time.