Website speed is a measurement of how fast the pages load on your website or e-commerce site. A slow-moving website is actually a common problem among businesses, but many are unsure how to solve this problem, especially is they are afraid of “messing up” already existing features or the SEO that is already implemented. However, this is counterintuitive. This is because if a website takes too long to load, your key customers may lose interest and find the same products or services elsewhere. Slow sites may seriously hurt your conversion rates. More than that, did you know that search engines will actually take website speed into account in the ranking process? There are ways to ensure that your website speed is not slowing down your sales or your rankings. You may need to sit down with your website developer, designer, and digital marketer so that all of the necessary steps can be taken. Read below to find out more.
To put it simply, bigger images take longer to load. There’s also a chance that this is due to a large amount of graphics and flash files on your site. If all images are essential to your business, you can optimize images with an image editing tool. Crop down your images and use formats such as GIF, JPEG, or PNG. Try not to use BMPs or TIFFs if possible. You can also use a compression tool online that will help with your images. Another solution could be Lazy Load, a plugin that allows websites to only load images above the fold. Only when a user scrolls down will the next set of images load. This is especially great for users who don’t always take the time to scroll to the bottom of your website pages.
There are many scripts and plugins that business owners can use to make their websites unique and interactive for their users. However, using too many could mean sacrificing your website speed. Talk to your developer and make sure that all plugins you are using are necessary for functionality. More than that, keep your needed plugins updated on a regular basis. Poorly coded or out-of-date plugins could also be the culprit for slower pages. Set aside a regularly scheduled time when you or your developer can check plugins for efficiency.
Caching allows a user’s browser to store data from your website. This is helpful because when a user returns to your website or e-commerce shop, the data can be recalled from their cache rather than uploading all over again. There are a number of plugins you can use to enable caching on your site, and they are not difficult to set up at all. A few examples for WordPress include WP Rocket, W3 Total Cache, Zen Cache, and Cache Enabler.
Fix Broken Links
Obviously, users don’t want to visit the 404 pages of your website. More than that, broken links have a tendency to drain bandwidth and slow down your speed. By fixing the broken links, you will see a positive change in bounce rates as well as the speed of your site. To begin this process, all you have to do is go to Google Webmaster Tools and view the crawl errors tab. This should be able to tell you where the broken links are. While we’re on the subject of broken links, try to limit the number of redirects as well. Even though 301 permanent redirects are preferable to the 404, it’s still not an ideal situation. If this is the case, it’s best to make a list of fixes you need to make and work your way down.
If you have not heard the term before, minification is the act of removing unnecessary data from your website without interfering with the actual coding. We recommend minifying your code so that your website content takes less time to load. Developers often install certain HTML codes as quick fixes when there is an issue within the website. Worse yet, you may have a complicated or elaborate website theme with bloated code. However, it is still important to make sure your code is organized for better performance. Seek opportunities to condense and clean out old, commented-out code. You would be surprised how often these little changes, when made together, can make a big difference.
Better Website Speed, Better Rankings
It’s not often that website speed and search engine rankings are associated together, but it’s an element that matters to your target demographic as well as Google. If you’re still finding that your website speed and load times are impacting your online sales and conversion rates, it may be time to talk to an SEO specialist. Contact SEO Brand today to see how we can make improvements to your website right away.