How to shorten the loading time of a website?
When you design websites, you have to take into account many factors that affect their usability. Ease of use of the website and a positive user experience are the basic features of any popular website. The page loading speed is equally important. How to shorten it?
Loading a website - what does it mean?
The website loading time is counted from the moment the internet user enters the website (e.g. from a search engine) to the appearance of all files (graphics, movies, etc.) and functionalities. It is considered that the best page loading time is less than 2 seconds. Internet users who wait too long for photos or videos to appear may return to the search page and choose a competing site. According to statistics, slowing down by 3 seconds lowers the conversion even by half. To avoid this, you should take care of speeding up the page. Even fractions of a second shorter can produce positive results. Fast page loading is appreciated by Internet users - such a site converts better.
Page speed information - where to find it?
Basic data can be checked in Google Analytics (select: Behavior -> Website Speed). Reports from Google PageSpeed Insights and GTmetrix will give you much more valuable information.
The most frequently recommended tool is Google, i.e. Google PageSpeed Insights. All you need to do is paste the address of the website you want to analyze into the appropriate field, and the tool will indicate the appropriate parameters. You will learn not only how fast your website is, but also what should be changed to reduce its loading time. The tool gives a maximum of 100 points. Sites that load very slowly get from 0 to 49 points. Pages whose loading speed can be described as average are in the range from 50 to 89 points. The highest level of 90-100 points is reserved for the fastest sites.
You can also use the free GTmetrix tool (some functionality is paid). The tool creates a report based on Google PageSpeed Insights guidelines and YSlow rules, which is an analytical tool developed by the creators of the Yahoo web browser. The applications are richer than PageSpeed Insights, among others o the use of CDN (Content Delivery Network) and the use of cookie-free domains.
Page loading speed and specific devices
The time after which the entire page becomes visible is due to, inter alia, from the computing power of the device. It all depends on what equipment the Internet user uses, but it is believed that desktop computers and laptops load pages faster than mobile devices, especially smartphones.The quality of the internet connection also affects the loading time of the website, which in the case of phones is related to the range of the mobile operator.
Each user of devices with Internet access can affect the loading time of the website. From time to time, it is worth removing unnecessary cookies from the browser's memory and cleaning the computer from unnecessary files. In the latter, a program such as CCleaner will help.
Why is fast page loading important?
- The main reason is user satisfaction. A quick page where the most important information will appear shortly after switching from the search engine encourages the Internet user to convert and come back in some time.
- Page loading speed is one of the important ranking factors that affect positioning in the most popular search engine in Poland. Google takes into account page loading speed when its algorithms calculate where your site should appear in the search results.
- Page speed is one of the so-called quality factors that the Google Ads system takes into account. In this context, page speed simply means a higher return on investment (ROI) on your ads, and therefore lower promotion costs in the search engine.
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How to speed up the loading time of a website? Explore 9 reliable ways
- Choose fast hosting with servers whose parameters will allow your website to load efficiently. The server response time (Time To First Byte, or TTFB for short) is typically 200 to 500 ms, but the shorter the time, the better. Ideally, you should choose server hosting that has a TTFB of 100 ms.
- Enhance your content with light photos, illustrations, infographics and graphics. How Much Image Files Are Appropriate? It is assumed that it is not more than several hundred kilobytes. You can change the parameters in a graphics processing program, eg Adobe Photoshop. Do you use a photo bank? Excellently! Most stocks allow you to download files of various weights and sizes.
- Pay attention to file extensions. Photos should be * jpeg and graphics * png.
- Reach for lazy loading, i.e. deliberately setting slow loading. This is a script that should be placed in the website code. What is lazy loading? In fact, no website fits on one screen, but requires scrolling. Above the fold is the top of the page that the user can see without scrolling down. The following is the part below the fold. Slower loading means that only those graphics and video files that are located in the part of the website currently viewed by the Internet user always render.
- Embed video files from external platforms. Often the so-called embedded video comes from YouTube.
- Reduce the amount of code. Remove comments and unnecessary scripts. The search engine does not have to read many unnecessary lines of code for each operation.
- Opt for storing your CSS stylesheet outside of your HTML file. Simply place a link to the sheet in the section in the code of the page.
- Use CDN (content delivery network) - a system of distributed servers whose task is to deliver content to the Internet user from the closest server.
- If your website is based on WordPress, take a look at installed plugins. Remove unnecessary and dormant plugs and replace the heaviest ones with lighter alternatives. Always update plugins and the WordPress theme itself. Clean the database, e.g. of old versions of entries or unused images.
Did your website load time analysis tools give you food for thought? Treat our article as a checklist. Check how you can speed up your website and meet the expectations of Internet users.