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The Ultimate Guide To Understanding Website Speed

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We’ve all been there, waiting for a website page to load for what feels like an eternity. In fact, most of us get so frustrated that we leave the website entirely if it takes too long to get to where we want to go. 

 

Yes, it says a lot about the average attention span of today’s users that 40% of us abandon a website if it has not loaded in 3 seconds. But the fact of the matter is, audiences expect to get what they want when they want it, and they really won’t stand for anything less. 

 

So, it is our job to make sure that our websites are optimised to load as quickly as possible, and there are plenty of ways to do this. 

Why Page Speed Matters

When browsing the internet for a website, users only really need three things: the ability to see the content they want, navigate around web pages, and load websites efficiently. Page speed refers to the latter; the better your page speed, the quicker your website will be to load. 

 

We have already learned that 40% of people navigate away from a webpage if it is taking longer then 3 second to load, and there are plenty of other statistics to support the need for good page speed as well:

Testing Page Speed

In order to begin optimising your page speed, you first need to understand what it actually is. When it comes to this, there are plenty of systems that you can use, some more high-tech than others. 

 

The first option available to you is built in to Google, and only requires a few simple steps to reach. First, head onto your website’s home page; it’s the best place to get an accurate reading. 

 

After this, right-click your page and, when a drop-down list appears, select ‘inspect’. Now, you should see your site’s code added to a box with a number of options lined at the top. Select the option that reads ‘Lighthouse’. 

 

The final step is to select ‘generate report’, and give the system a couple of minutes to index the site. You should receive a number of figures, each of which refer to a different aspect of your page’s performance.

Improving Page Speed

Improving page speed can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. There are many things you can try, depending on the reason that your pages are loading slowly. 

If the images on your website are too large, it can drastically impact the overall speed of your website. This is because it can take a long time for very large image files to load properly. 

 

Most agree than, in order to ensure that your site’s loading speed is not impacted, your images should be no larger than 1MB. If they are larger than this, reduce their size using systems such as Squoosh.

Most websites are largely made up of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code. This code, if it has been added to your website without being necessary, can have a drastic impact on the time it takes the site to load. 

 

Minifying your code can be done via various Plugins, but is something that should be done with caution. Make sure to check your website after certain aspects of your code have been minified, to ensure that nothing has changed. 

The time that it takes for your server to respond to a request to access your website can have a massive impact on the overall speed of the site. Because of this, it is vital to ensure that the servers you are using are fit for purpose. 

 

Discuss your needs, such as how many people you expect to be visiting your site at any one time, with your hosting provider. This should mean that your website is able to handle what you are asking of it, without increasing loading times to unreasonable levels. 

Lowaire Digital

At Lowaire Digital, our team of website developers and SEO experts are poised to help grow your online presence in whichever way you need. 

 

So, if you need a brand new site, we’ll make sure it is quick to load and respond. Or, if you are looking to develop a pre-existing website, our SEO team will keep an eye out for the speed of your site throughout your campaign. To find out more about our SEO services, fill out our contact form or give us a call on 01509 357 387.

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