Tag Archives: website speed

Making website speed and performance part of your SEO routine

Monitoring webpage performance is key to avoiding setbacks when algorithms change. Contributor Bobby Lyons points out ways to adapt everyday SEO activities so a website will thrive regardless of algorithm updates.

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8 tips for boosting the speed of your WordPress site

Chances are you’d not have waited for this page to load had it taken a second or two longer.

That’s the truth – users expect web pages to load pretty much as soon as they click on a hyperlink.

Slow loading web pages can become the leading cause of high bounce rates, low user engagement, lost traffic opportunities, and abandoned sales journeys. Here are some numbers to put things in perspective.

What’s more, ecommerce websites associate fast loading with increased revenue, and the reverse is also true.

The calling is clear: your websites need to load super quickly to sustain and nurture audience attention, avoid high bounce rate, and prevent abandoned sales.

If you have a WordPress site, there are a number of easy and effective methods you can begin using today that will significantly increase your site’s loading speed.

Use grids and floats instead of nested tables

It’s surprising how many websites still continue to use nested tables, in spite of the negative impact they have on page loading speeds. Here’s what a nested table code looks like:

<table>
<table>
………
</table>
</table>

Such coding adds additional burden on the browser, delaying complete loading of the content. Instead, use non-nested table structure as follows:

<table>...</table>
<table>...</table>

More importantly, use floats and grids to enhance loading speed. Here is a basic float example:

<h1>Basic float example</h1>
<img src="https://www.examplesite.com/files/image.jpg" alt="image anchor text">
<p> Sample text </p>
<p> Sample text </p>

Reduce the number of HTTP requests

A web page consists of several components – stylesheets, Flash components, images, scripts, and more. To deliver content rich experiences, you need to opt for entire PageSpeed Insights Optimization process.

More the number of elements per page, more the number of HTTP requests made for each of these, resulting in longer page loading time durations, which could hurt your conversions. Yahoo estimates that almost 80% of page loading time is accounted for the time spent in downloading the different elements of the page.

Use the HTTP requests checker tool to find out how many requests your page makes.

Luckily, you can reduce HTTP requests without ruining your web design. Here’s how:

  • Combine files: Use scripts and external style sheets (but don’t have more than one script and CSS file each.
  • Image maps: Use contiguous images instead of several image blocks, to reduce the number of HTTP requests.
  • CSS Sprites: Combine multiple images to a sprite, and call the sprite instead of each image. When the sprite contains images from internal pages also, the internal page load times improve, because the content is already downloaded before the user reaches there.
  • Make smaller Javascript blocks inline.
  • Convert images to Base64 coding using an encoder; because it transforms an image into code, the HTTP request is prevented.

Break comments into pages

Your most popular content posts could also be the ones loading the slowest, because of the hundreds of comments on the page. You can’t block comments, because they are conversation starters and link builders for you.

How do you manage, then? WordPress offers a very smart solution – break the comment stream into pages.

In the Dashboard, go to Settings. Under the section Other comment settings, you can tweak the settings for how many comments appear on a page, and which page is displayed beneath the article.

8 tips for boosting the speed of your WordPress site

Upgrade to the latest PHP version

Upgrading your website every time a new PHP version is launched can be a bit of a headache. But it’s worth your time and effort. The same scripts could run almost 25-30% faster on newer PHP versions; imagine the kind of website loading time improvements it can bring for you.

PHPClasses published an extensive experimental study, which highlighted that scripts ran significantly faster on PHP 7.1 as compared to previous versions.

Gzip compression

If you use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool for a quick analysis of your web pages, it’s likely you will find advice to use Gzip compression. This compression enables web servers to compress heavy website content elements.

The compression is so effective that it could reduce your page size to 30-40% of its initial size. Dolloped speeds, because of this, could increase to three or four times their previous speed.

For many webmasters, installing a Gzip compression plugin continues to be the best option. W3 Total Cache plugin, apart from all its amazing features, also offers HTTP compression.

8 tips for boosting the speed of your WordPress site

Other options are:

  • Ask your web host if it offers Gzip compression.
  • Manually enable Gzip compression via .htaccess (this guide by Kinsta explains how to do so)

Don’t let ad scripts and pop-ups spoil user experience

Chances are you run at least some form of pop-up to optimize conversions. As beneficial as these might be for your website’s monetization strategies, they may also be causing significant damage in terms of higher page loading times.

To take control and strike the perfect balance, you need to know the third-party scripts running on your website, their source, and their impact.

I recommend Pingdom’s Website Speed Test for a thorough analysis of each file and script from a webpage. The tool will tell you which script takes the most time to load.

Gauge the effectiveness of your pop-ups; do away with non-performing pop-up plugins, as they’re only slowing down your page. OptinMonster is one of the most reliable pop-up plugins, helping you optimize conversions without killing speed.

Install a caching plugin

Caching plugins can be a blessing for your website; these plugins create static copies of your webpage content, and instead of making to and fro queries to the database, use the static versions to immediately showcase the web content to users. Since you ordinarily won’t update your web pages daily, caching proves to be very useful for almost all web pages, always.

Among the many caching plugins you can use, WOT Cache Plugin enjoys a lot of trust and popularity. Among its many features are:

  • Combines CSS and Javascript files
  • Leverages the power of page caching and browser caching
  • Utilizes lazy load to massively improve the page load time
  • Helps with database optimization and removes query strings from CSS/Javascript files
  • Saves a lot of bandwidth by reducing the file size of the webpages.

Bonus tip: Seek help from your web hosting service provider

It makes sense to move to a dedicated hosting plan, so that your website gets all the resources it needs to load in a jiffy, always. Ask your web host as to what help it can provide you to improve your website speed.

Most web hosts are willing to offer their technical expertise to help you pluck the low hanging fruits in terms of your website’s speed issues. This, in turn, benefits them, as the load on their servers reduces.

Particularly, ask for their advice on optimizing mobile website speed, because the impact of slow loading is much severe on mobile devices.

Concluding remarks

Every few milliseconds of improvement in your web page’s loading speed could bring tens of percentage point of improvements in its traffic and conversion rates.

Start with these easy and practical tips, most of which will result in almost immediate improvements in page loading speed for your website.

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How to scale web design to improve page loading speed

You might be thinking, what’s the fuss about website speed? What is important about the average page loading speed?

According to Aberdeen Group, a 1-second delay in page load time yields:

  • 11% fewer page views
  • A 16% decrease in customer satisfaction
  • A 7% loss in conversions

Amazon reported an increased revenue of 1% for every 100 milliseconds improvement to their website speed while Walmart, also found that every 1-second increase in page speed resulted in a 2% increase in conversions.

Source

The speed of your website additionally impacts your organic search rankings because Google, since 2010, has included site speed as a signal in its ranking algorithm.

Basically, your web page loading speed is very important and determines if you will rank in SERPs.

Below are 6 simple but highly effective ways to enhance your web speed immediately by modifying your website design.

#1 Optimize images and lazy load everything

Some of the most common bandwidth hogs on the web are images. According to HTTP Archive, images now account for 63% of page weight.

“As of May [2015], the average web page surpassed the 2 MB mark. This was almost twice the size of the average page, just three years ago.”

How to scale web design to improve page loading speed

Source

The graph shows a breakdown of what consumes kilobytes the most. Practically all asset types are growing, with the most notable one being images.

When creating content, some people make use of large images and then use CSS to scale them down. However, unknown to them, the browser still loads them at full size.

For instance, if you scale down an image of 800 x 800 to 80 x 80, the browser will load ten times more.

The best way to optimize your images is to compress them into smaller sizes while retaining quality. Using tools such as TinyJPG and Compressor.io, or CMS plugins such as WP Smush It (WordPress) and Imgen (Joomla) for compressing images will guarantee your website loads faster, resulting in better experiences for web visitors and increased conversion rates.

Another option is to “lazy load” images and web contents. In essence, you make use of a little bit of JavaScript to find out which images are in or close to the viewport and only download images that the user will likely see.

The benefits of Lazy Loading according to Stackpath include:

  1. Lazy loading strikes a balance between optimizing content delivery and streamlining the end user’s experience.
  2. Users connect to content faster, since only a portion of the website needs to be downloaded when a user first opens it.
  3. Businesses see higher customer retention as content is continuously fed to the user, reducing the chances the user will leave the website.
  4. Businesses see lower resource costs since the content is only delivered when the user needs it, rather than all at once.

#2 Make use of browser caching

Setting up browser caching allows you to temporally store data on a site visitor’s computer. This ensures that they don’t have to wait for your web pages (logo, CSS file, and other resources) to load every time they visit your website.

Your server-side cache and their browsing configuration determine how long you store the data. Setting up a browser caching on your server can be done by contacting your hosting company or by checking out the following resources:

Leveraging browsers caching is specifying how long web browsers keep CSS, JS, and images stored. Allowing your web pages load much faster for repeat visitors resulting in a smoother experience while navigating and better rankings in SERP’s.

Also, installing a cache plugin will have a huge effect on your page loading times. Caching plugins handle this concern by generating a static copy of your content and deliver it to site visitors. This can lessen your page loading time drastically.

Caching plugins could help you see around ten times improvement in your overall website performance. An example of caching plugin includes W3 Total Cache.

#3 Compress web content

Google defines compression as the process of encoding information using fewer bits. Though the latest web browsers support content compression ability, many websites still do not deliver compressed contents.

Visitors who visit these websites experience slow interaction with web pages. Major reasons for these unfavorable website behaviors include old or buggy browsers, web proxies, misconfigured host servers, and antivirus software.

Uncompressed contents make receiving the web contents and page load time very slow for users who have limited bandwidth.

For effective compression tactics to deliver efficient website content, Google recommends the following:

1) Minify, HTML, CSS and JavaScript

2) Make use of consistent code in CSS and HTML with the following method:

    • Use consistent casing – mostly lowercase.
    • Ensure consistent quoting of HTML tag attributes.
    • Indicate HTML attributes in the same order.
    • Indicate CSS key-value pairs in the same order by alphabetizing them.Using tools such as Adobe DreamWeaver and MAMP to create/edit CSS and test run websites locally on your PC respectively.

3) Enable Gzip compression

Gzip finds similar strings and code instances and replaces them temporarily with shorter characters.According to Google:

“Enabling Gzip compression can reduce the size of the transferred response by up to 90%, which can significantly reduce the amount of time to download the resource, reduce data usage for the client, and improve the time to first render of your pages”

#4 Optimize CSS code and delivery

The introduction of CSS was a key improvement and has had almost no shortcomings. However, it is essential to consider the impact CSS scripts can have on page speed, particularly when it comes to the representation of a web page.

When CSS is delivered inadequately, it results in a delay by the browser in downloading and processing the styling data before it can completely finish rendering to display your web pages to your visitors. This is why it’s vital to optimize CSS delivery and to identify the pitfalls that can slow down your web pages.

CSS can be used in several ways by a web page and still work. Given that there are various ways to use it, there are several different CSS setups. Regardless of how you set up on your web pages, your CSS should be aiding your web pages to render faster and not slowing them down.

You can make use of different online tools to compress, optimize and clean CSS delivery. Additionally, you can refer to Google’s recommendations on optimizing CSS delivery.

#5 Use a very fast hosting company

Some time back, I changed my hosting company and the average speed of my sites increased dramatically without changing anything else. That was when I realized that hosting companies are not all equal when it comes to the loading speed of websites.

When navigating a website or opening a web page, you are opening files from a remote computer, which is the web server of the hosting company. The faster the remote computer, the faster your web pages can be opened.

There are various hosting companies out there for your use. Just ensure that you carry out proper research and read enough reviews of each before deciding to host your site with any of them.

When researching for a reliable web hosting company, the most important factors you should look out for include speed/load time, uptime/reliability, customer support and price/value.

#6 Deactivate plugins you don’t use

Plugins are typically the major reason for slowing down a WordPress-hosted site. Delete plugins that you no longer use or aren’t essential.

You can identify plugins that harm your speed by selectively disabling plugins and measuring server performance.

Additionally, to speed up the experience of your WordPress site on mobile, check out our guide to Implementing Google AMP on your WordPress site as quickly as possible.

Conclusion

Users will continue to demand a richer online experience, and there will be faster and cleaner JavaScript, more CSS hacks, and other third-party analytics to increase the size of your pages and weigh down your websites.

As an online marketer, you can’t allow this to bog you down. You must regularly strive to scale your web design to improve your page loading speed.

A little continuous attention to your website loading speed will go a long way. Remember: as little as a one-second delay in your site loading speed is all it takes to lose a lead.

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Dareboost: All-in-one Tool to Manage Your Website Speed by @sejournal

Is your website fast enough? Dareboost allows you to manage your website speed performance in its all-in-one service platform!

The post Dareboost: All-in-one Tool to Manage Your Website Speed by @sejournal appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

Faster WordPress: Need For Speed by @BrianHarnish

Nothing is more frustrating to an internet user than a slow website. You wait 3 seconds…4 seconds…10 seconds…and your site is still loading. Research has shown if your site takes more than four seconds to load, you could lose up to 25% of your visitors. Sites that take 10 seconds to load lose up to 35-40% of their visitors, according to KISSmetrics. When building your WordPress site, it is extremely important to observe best practices for coding and website design to help minimize load time. These methods will help you build a solid website with fast load times. Always Optimize Your Images You […]

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