Is Page Speed Still Important?

Posted 14.02.2020

By Luke Pickering

So just how important really is page speed in 2020? Well, Google thinks it’s so important that they have actually made it a ranking factor. Exactly 10 years ago Google introduced the idea of making your page’s speed a ranking factor, but your page speed doesn’t only matter to Google, but also your users. We’re in a time period where people want information at the click of a button, they don’t want to be waiting for long periods of time for your webpage load. Instead, they will leave your site and go somewhere else where they can get the information immediately. So it’s such an important thing still in 2020 and this blog post is going to break down all the best practices for improving your website’s speed…

SEO Best Practices

There are a number of methods you are able to use in order to speed up your website and improve your SEO efforts. But in this list, we’re going to go through the top 5 methods to speed up your pages and improve your users’ experience.

File Compression

When loading a website it’s all about downloading the files to display the web page. So obviously with that being said the less that has to be downloaded the faster the web page is going to be displayed. This method can be used on both images and text, we’ll focus on text for now as we’ll go into more detail on optimizing your images later. But with text, there are a number of applications out there that will reduce the size of your CSS, HTML and Javascript files. For example, you can use the likes of Gzip and Deflate. Both are highly recommended in the web design world.

Minimising Redirects

When a website redirects it completes something called an HTTP request-response cycle. This is basically your browser requesting the site that you have clicked through to only for it then to redirect and display another page. For every redirect, your page does the slower it gets. So minimising the number of redirects on your page is going to be a great way to speed up your website. It’s definitely worth spending some time on to fix if you’re having this issue.

Browser Caching

A browser will cache a lot of information, things such as images, stylesheets and JavaScript files, so that when a user returns to your site the browser won’t have to completely reload the entire page. There is an expiration date on these caches so it’s definitely worth checking out how long the expiration date is. We recommend around a year is a good time period because it’s likely that you’ll make changes to your website within that year. This is such a quick and easy fix for web page speed however, you still need to get people onto your site in the first place so this is one to make returning users’ lives easier.

Optimize Images

This is a big one that has a number of things that you are able to do that will affect your loading speeds.

Image Format

Having your image in the correct format is something that gets overlooked but is so important when it comes to speeding up your webpage. For example, png is better for graphics with a few block colours, whereas a jpeg should be your preferred option for photographs. Finally and one of the most important ones is using CSS sprites. A CSS sprite should be used for elements like buttons and icons; this is because it compresses your images into one large image that will load all at once. This means there are fewer images to load and fewer HTTP requests.

Correct Image Sizes

A very simple one, bigger images take longer to load. So when you’re inserting pictures onto your site make sure that they are as small as possible whilst still being a reasonable size.

Image compression

We mentioned we would get on to this earlier, and just like the text it is important that you compress your images as well, but this time we recommend different tools. For an image, the likes of Photoshop are brilliant as they allow you to retain control over the quality of your image. But for a cheap free option tiny.png is a great choice.

Accelerated Mobile Pages

We wrote a whole blog post about Accelerated Mobile Pages here, but we’ll go into it basically now. AMP’s are web pages that are specifically designed so that they will load in under a second on a mobile device. There are a number of specific things you must do so it won’t be suitable for every business but it’s something worth taking a look at.

So now it’s time to put it into practice. You’ve learnt all about it and know what you need to do, so get to it or if you’re still a bit lost and would like some help don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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