How to Evaluate and Improve Website Page Speed

There are many reasons why a visitor may stick around on your website or leave it. One big factor: website speed. In a world of instant gratification and high-speed internet, consumers demand a fast customer journey. Data shows that 40% of customers abandon a site if it takes longer than 4 seconds to load. That appears in your analytics as a higher bounce rate, which also signals to Google that users don’t find the content on your site as useful. That all affects your website’s overall performance on Google’s results pages.

How can you solve this problem? First of all, you should be checking your website load speed regularly. Some great, free tools to use are:

1. Google PageSpeed Insights

As the leading search engine, Google created their own tool to help web designers. It generates results for both desktop and mobile, so you can see how your site is doing on both ends. Since Google indexes mobile-first, it’s important to be doing well for both. We also like this tool because it explains why it’s scoring that way and ways you can improve the site. The results are well-organized, detailed, and include solutions. Overall, its readability also puts it ahead of our other choices.

2. GTmetrix

Digging a little deeper, this tool offers even more insights into your page’s performance. It focuses on two key scores: Google performance and layout build. While the page test runs from only one location, Vancouver, Canada, it’s still a valuable look at the nitty gritty details of your site. If you sign up for a free account, then you can choose the location you want the test to run from and different browsers.

3. WebPageTest

A great tool for beginners, the results begin with a summary answering these three questions: Is It Quick?, Is it Usable?, and Is it Resilient? It helps those who are not web development-savvy understand why some issues may be happening. Once you scroll down, you can see a more detailed overview to find out more about the results. The visuals help show exactly how the page loads, and it even runs 3 tests just to be sure.

Once you’ve realized there’s an issue with your load speed, hopefully the tools can help guide you to a solution. In general, to keep your website moving, you should follow these tips.

Optimize Images

We recommend an image be no larger than 100KB to prevent it from slowing down your site. You can do this by reducing and compressing any images you upload. Luckily, there are lots of compression tools out there to help.

Evaluate Your Host

The host provider affects your website performance in many ways, including page speed. A cheaper host that does not offer performance-optimizing features can be detrimental to your site’s ranking over time.

Watch Your Plugin Use

As useful as they are, plugins can slow down your site if you have too many. You want to make sure the plugins you have are being used and are necessary to your site’s functionality. Go through and evaluate if any of them have overlapping features.

Avoid Too Many Redirects

When a page redirects, it adds on more seconds to the overall loading time. This can’t always be avoided, such as when you’re moving domains, but try to avoid including them as much as possible. Users will be frustrated by the slow load times while browsing your site.

Use Browser Caching

By allowing a tool to store fixed information like images or files, the whole page won’t have to reload an entire recently visited webpage. Less information to load equals a quicker load time. Luckily, there are powerful plugins out there to help with this.

So many factors go into the health of your website and why it may or may not be ranking well. Check out all the ways we can help with building a responsive website. That’s My Idea Marketing is located in Woodbury, MN and specializes in building a strong marketing strategy for businesses of all sizes.