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The content of your website can be excellent but if the loading speed is not good, will it be that people will pay to see?
It is a fact that the average internet speed in America is good. But, nevertheless, many websites manage to worsen this situation, since they are developed without due attention to the loading speed and end up becoming a true test of patience for the user.
To compare one website with the other, and judge the speed level of website, Google use the speed test: Google website speed test. Speed test helps to compare websites each other and help to rank them.
Imagine the following situation: you went to a fast food, famous for delivering orders in up to 5 minutes, but 15 minutes have passed since you placed the order and nothing. How long would it take you to give up? What if the fast food next door guaranteed a similar order in only 3 minutes?
On the internet the situation is similar, but the story changes in seconds, because when you want certain content, you enter a website and it takes more than 10 seconds to load, before you perceive it, you are already on Google again looking for another option, Since every second of waiting seems like an eternity!
We live in the era of immediacy, where time is already worth more than money. And that era, combined with the dynamism of the internet, makes our audience more demanding every day. The content of your website can be excellent but if the loading speed is not good, will it be that people will pay to see?
Back in 2010 Google announced that the loading time of a page was one of the more than 200 ranking factors. That means that the time that your website takes to load in relation to those of your competitors is one of the influencing points of the organic positioning of the websites on the results page. According to an investigation conducted by Backlinko, slower websites are penalized.
In addition to being one of the factors of organic ranking of Google, the speed of the website also influences the user experience and your results, according to the data to follow:
• Every second of more on a page load generates an 11% drop in page views and 16% in customer satisfaction, according to Aberdeen Group;
• According to a Kissmetrics investigation, 40% of visitors leave pages that take more than 3 seconds to load and every 1 second or more in the loading time of the website reduces conversions by 7%;
• 88% of users who had a bad experience when entering a website due to loading speed are less likely to buy from it and more than a third of those users will share their bad experience with friends, an investigation revealed from Econsultancy.
• 85% of mobile device users expect the page to load at least the same speed as the desktop, according to Web Performance Today.
Now that we know that website speed interferes with visitor engagement, conversion rate and also your organic positioning, let's see how to measure your load to start optimization!
According to Pingdom, which has a tool to measure the website speed, the average loading time of the sites is 5 seconds. In the Google Site Performance video for Webmasters, Maile Ohye says that 2 seconds is the limit for good performance.
The specialist Geoff Kenyon also conducted an investigation in which he identified that, in the event that a website loads in 5 seconds, it is faster than approximately 25% of the internet; in 2.9 seconds, more than 50% of the network; Already if it loads in 0.8 second, it is the fastest of 94% of the entire web.
Despite the cited statistics, the short answer is: as quickly as possible. We already know that the loading time of your website influences your results, so the ideal is to optimize it to the maximum to keep the loading time to a minimum!
How to measure website speed?
We currently have several free tools where it is possible to measure the loading time of a page. It is also possible to see a diagnosis with the lifting of problems and warnings to know how to optimize it. The most used tools are:
Google PageSpeed ??Insights
Probably the best known of the list, PageSpeed ??Insights is a tool in which, by entering the link of a page, it is possible to analyze the content and generate suggestions for the desktop and mobile versions of it.
Along with each suggestion for improvement, the tool also shows how to apply it. Each suggestion is classified as a priority indicator:
• "You must correct": highlighted in red, are notices of improvements that, if applied, will generate more impact on the loading time of the page;
• “Consider correcting”: highlighted in yellow, these are notices of improvements that do not greatly influence the speed of the page and should not be prioritized;
• “Approved in…”: highlighted in green, are the positive points of the page.
Despite being excellent for identifying and prioritizing problems, the tool does not detail the page load time and also does not indicate the number of page requests for loading, which are important data for diagnosis.
Very popular among marketing specialists, GTmetrix is ??considered one of the best and most complete tools to evaluate the loading time of a page and identify points of improvement due to the ease of use and variety of data it presents.
The step by step to use the tool is very similar to that of Pagespeed Insights. Just enter it, include the link of the page you intend to analyze and generate the report. However, it is advisable to create an account (even if it is free) before starting the analysis, since that allows you to alter the region where the test will be executed, which will be the browser and device, what type of network, in addition to other configuration possibilities and more data in the final report. The closer the test is to the public record that enters the website (such as location, type of device and browser), the better.
After including the link of the page and starting the report, the tool makes a complete analysis and presents several data in the following screen. At the top it presents a summary with two scores in Performance Scores, one based on Pagespeed Insights and another on YSlow, a project that analyzes the speed of the pages based on Yahoo's high performance site rules. The scores presented are generally different, as the tools use different criteria to evaluate the page.
In the same way as in the Pagespeed Insights, the colors of the scores determine their urgency but, nevertheless, here we also have a comparison with the average of websites analyzed by the tool in the last 30 days, where a arrow next to the score represents if the page is above or below the average, as we present in the example to follow.
All the optimizations listed below impact on the loading time of a website but, nevertheless, the test tools presented already point the way to leave the page faster, even prioritizing the impact generated by each action. Therefore, it is recommended that the optimization work follow the suggestions and prioritization of diagnostic tools.
For WordPress sites, most of the tips also present the solution using plugins and, in some cases, the same plugin can solve more than one problem. Choose the plugin that most impacts the necessary solutions and avoid several different plugins, because that can impair the performance of the website.
It is very important to remember that, before making any alteration, you need to make a backup of the website to avoid possible problems. WordPress websites can do that through plugins such as UpdraftPlus and BackWPup.
Whenever someone enters a website, all its content is temporarily downloaded to the device until the user leaves the page. Through the cache we can tell browsers, such as Chrome and Firefox, to keep those files saved.
If the person enters the same website again, using the same device and the same browser, the page will take less time to load, since the files are already stored in the cache. In the event that you have nothing stored in the cache or the time spent in the cache has expired (it is possible to define that), a request for the files in question is made to the website server.
There are also ways to enable the cache directly in the HTML of the website, however they are considered obsolete techniques and not recommended.
If your website is in WordPress, there are several plugins available that perform this function. The most used is W3 Total Cache, which is even recommended by the hosting companies. An other excellent (less popular) alternative is WP Fastest Cache, which also has other resources and, compared to W3 and other plugins, presented better performance.
Reduce the number of redirects
When loading a page, it is sometimes necessary to redirect the browser from one URL to another. This redirection can be done to indicate the new location of a content, track clicks and impressions or correct different types of access (such as when redirecting from www.example.com. For example.com. Or from http for https).
Regardless of the reasons, redirects add latency round trip time, increasing page load time. The best way to minimize that is to restrict the use of redirects for just the cases where necessary and find other solutions where it is not.
It is also important to be careful to enter the exact version of an external request so as not to generate that type of redirection as soon as it is loading. When adding a Facebook script, for example, it is important to insert it with the correct link, without redirects.
To manage internal redirects on WordPress sites, plugins such as Yoast SEO and SEO Redirection can be used.
When developing a website, the programmer works with a data organization that includes line failures, spaces and comments that do not influence the content. However, no matter how it seems, this information ends up weighing in the files and influencing the loading time.
To solve this, it is possible to minify (make more light) those files, removing all such unnecessary information. Generally this action provides a 20 to 30% reduction in file size which, depending on the total size, can make a lot of difference.
If the site is in WordPress, this is simpler, since there are several plugins available that do this work and many of them are free. The most used are Autoptimize, Better WordPress Minify and W3 Total Cache.
If the website is in WordPress, the Speed ??Booster Pack plugin has the functionality of sending the scripts to the footer, solving this problem.
The gzip causes the site files to be compressed, which reduces file transfer time by an average of 70%.
First of all, it is important to see if the website already uses it. In addition to the diagnostic tools that were presented, you can perform the test here. Some hosting services already do it automatically.
In WordPress sites it is possible to enable gzip using plugins such as W3 Total Cache and WP Performance Score Booster.
Try to enable Keep Alive
Keep Alive allows the server to use a single connection to transfer several files, which reduces the latency and also the CPU consumption, which impacts the loading time of the pages.
Generally websites have this resource disabled, since most hosting companies deliver this as something optional, since it significantly increases the use of server memory. Thus, before enabling the function, it is important to contact the website hosting provider and evaluate if this is possible.
In the event that the website is in WordPress, it is possible to install an .htacess editing plugin, such as the WP Htacess Editor.
Content Distribution Networks (CDN) work together to regionalize data storage. They host the content on servers distributed throughout the world, allowing its distribution quickly and efficiently, regardless of where the access was made.
There are several options of CDNs, with free and paid versions and easy to integrate into WordPress sites. The main ones are:
• MaxCDN: one of the most used, has a free 30-day test and support for WordPress implementation;
• Amazon CloudFront: it has a plugin for integration with WordPress and a free version with data limit, which can be an excellent alternative to start;
• Azion Technologies: solution used by many e-commerces, EAD sites and media and financial market companies. It has WordPress support and plans that vary according to the traffic used;
• Microsoft Azure CDN: integrates with other Azure services and also has WordPress integration. 30 days are available for tests, after that period the value varies according to the use of data.
Content Distribution Network helps to decrease the loading time, check the article: time to first byte to learn more.
One of the factors that most harms the loading of pages is the lack of care in the use of images. In this case the size of the files, the quantity and even the format influence the speed of the website.
Attention to the size of the images should already start in Photoshop or another editing tool, in case the image is edited. These tools have the "Export for Web" function, which allows you to save the already optimized file. In addition, there are several free websites and applications that do this work.
For WordPress sites, there is the excellent Smush Image Compression and Optimization plugin, which automatically removes additional data and compresses all image files sent to the website.
Each different image that is inserted in the page generates a new requisition, so it is important that, before filling a certain page with images to make it more attractive, check if all the images are really necessary and remove the ones that are not. That is valid for pages that are already active on the website, making a current diagnosis and removing unnecessary images.
A technique widely used to reduce the number of requisitions, mainly of icons, is the use of CSS Sprites, which combines several images in a single way and via CSS it is indicated which part of the image should appear in a certain place.
An excellent example of use is Facebook: when entering the website via desktop, the icons presented in the menu on the left are worked using CSS Sprites.
The mobile internet connection is not as good as the fixed internet and using the cell phone the user is even more demanding in relation to the loading time of the websites. To improve the loading time of websites on mobile devices, Google (along with other companies) launched the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), while Facebook has Instant Articles.
Along the same lines of the MPAs, Instant Articles allow users to enter content hosted on Facebook itself and not on the source website, which makes loading pages up to 10 times faster. In the case of websites that depend on advertisers, it is also possible to configure them to display ads during the article. You will find more information and how to configure them on the official website.
As we saw, it is useless to have a nice website, which received praise for its innovative design, but does not prioritize loading time and ends up below the competition when talking about results.
Therefore, optimizing the loading speed of the website is a crucial factor for your Digital Marketing strategy, since it directly influences your organic ranking in Google and other search engines, improves the user experience and increases your conversion rate.
Remember that they are not all the optimizations mentioned here that will influence the loading time and it may be that some have already been applied to your website. Ideally, use the test tools to diagnose the website and prioritize actions.