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Why Page Speed is Important

Why Page Speed is Important
TagsEcommerce  |  SEO

Why is Page Speed Important?

 

If a stranger were to approach me in the street and say "what is the most important factor for search engine ranking?" I would immediately say Page Speed.

 

Allow me to elaborate on that statement by throwing some statistics your way:

  • The BBC had seen that they lose an additional 10% of users for every additional second it takes for their site to load. source
  • Food retailer COOK increased their conversion rate by 7% after cutting average page load time by 0.85 seconds. Bounce rate also fell by 7% and pages per session increased by 10%. source
  • Furniture retailer Zitmaxx Wonen reduced their typical load time to 3 seconds and saw conversion jump 50.2%. Overall revenue from the mobile site also increased by 98.7%. source
  • Rebuilding Pinterest pages for performance resulted in a 40% decrease in wait time, a 15% increase in SEO traffic and a 15% increase in conversion rate to signup. source
  • Fashion retailer Missguided improved their Median page load time by 4 seconds, and revenue increased by 26%source

After reading all of those amazing results that improving your website's page speed can lead to, you are most likely wanting to know "how can I improve my page speed?"

How Can I Improve My Website's Page Speed?

 

Before we can go about improving your website's page speed, we must first find out how your website currently performs. A benchmark of sorts if you will.

 

A great free tool to use for this is GTmetrix.

GTmetrix benchmark for www.bisongrid.uk

As you can see GTmetrix allows you to view how fast your website's "Fully Loaded Time" is.

 

Anything around 3 seconds is great and should be a target to strive for.

 

Not only is GTmetrix a page speed benchmarking tool for your website, but GTmetrix also provides recommendations on how to improve your website's page speed!

GTmetrix benchmark for www.bbc.co.uk

The most common page speed improvements that can be made to your website are:

 

  • Improving server Time to First Byte (TTFB)

 

  • Optimising images

 

  • Minifying JavaScript and CSS

 

  • Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

 

  • Leveraging browser caching

 

  • Reducing DNS lookups

How Do I Go About Improving My Website's Page Speed?

Improving server Time to First Byte (TTFB)

 

When I refer to the phrase "Time to First Byte", I am not talking about what time the cafeteria opens, despite all of our hopes.

 

Time to First Byte is in fact the time it takes for the user to connect to your server where your website is hosted, and to start downloading the first byte of information about your web page.

 

Improving your Time to First Byte really comes down to your hosting provider.

 

At BisonGrid we provide High Performance, Fully Managed Dedicated Cloud Servers along with SSL Ceritifcates for your website. Our hosting provides an average of a 30-50ms Time to First Byte.

 

A Time to First Byte of under 100ms is considered fantastic by most and will greatly improve your website's page speed.

Optimising Images

 

There are two main ways you can optimise the images on your website.

 

The first way is by compressing your images.

 

Done correctly, this will result in a reduction of image file size by reducing the quality of the image, while having little if any visible/noticeable image quality loss.

 

The second way is by scaling your images.

 

Scaling your images means that the images on your website are downloaded by the user at the same resolution as the images are actually displayed on your website.

 

Along with videos, images are one of the largest files on a web page, therefore, making these two changes to the images on your website will drastically reduce the size of your web pages, and thereby improving your website's page speed.

Minifying JavaScript and CSS

 

JavaScript and CSS is the code that helps create the functionality and the style (look) of your website.

 

The files that contain this code can be reduced in size via minification.

 

Minification is the process of removing all unnecessary characters from the file without changing its functionality.

 

Once your JavaScript and CSS files have been minified, users will instead download these reduced size files when viewing your website, improving your website's page speed.

Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

 

Using a content delivery network for your website will benefit you in two main ways in terms of website performance.

 

The first way being geographic content serving. 

 

This is where multiple proxy servers are located around the world.

 

The CDN then serves your website's content from the nearest server to the user.

 

This is great if a user is geographically located far away from your main hosting server.

 

The second way being website caching. 

 

This means that the proxy servers store (cache) your website's content so that every time a user requests content, the server does not have to re-fetch the content and can instead quickly serve the content from the cache.

 

A CDN massively improves your website's page speed both via website caching and geographic content serving.

Leveraging Browser Caching

 

Setting expiry headers on your website content such as image, HTML, CSS and JavaScript files will allow for your users to take advantage of browser caching.

 

Browser caching is built into almost every browser (Chrome, FireFox, Safari, Edge) and even works on mobile too!

 

Browser caching means that the user's browser will only have to download the cacheable files the first time they visit your web page.

 

The browser then remembers and stores the cacheable files for when a user revisits the same page.

 

Therefore, allowing your users to take advantage of browser caching improves your website's page speed when a user revisits the same page.

Reducing DNS Lookups

 

Requiring the user's browser to do a large number of DNS lookups to load a web page on your website will negatively effect your websites page speed.

 

Reducing the number of external resources (resources that are not on the same domain) your website uses will reduce the number of DNS lookups and therefore improve your website's page speed.

Summary

 

Did you enjoy this blog post? Feel free to tweet at us!

 

If, on the other hand you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by all of this, we don't blame you there is a lot to grasp on the topic of page speed and we just scratched the surface!

 

If you need a hand with your website's page speed, we would be more than glad to help you.

TagsEcommerce  |  SEO