If your website’s page speed is too slow, you could be losing business. People simply do not wait around for slow pages. In most cases, there are several other sites that will load quickly and give them the information they seek without delay.
Addressing page speed problems is crucial. Whether you measure load times “officially” or simply notice that pages are taking their sweet time, it is important to find out what is slowing pages down so you can speed them up.
Page Speed Can’t Overcome Bad Content
While page speed is important (Google itself has said so.), it is not everything. In SEO terms, no matter how fast your pages load, they are not as important as great content. Slower pages with outstanding content will rank higher than even the fastest pages with horrible content.
However, all else being equal, a website that loads faster will prevail over a website with slow page speeds. In other words, work on your content before you worry about speed.
Don’t Ignore Page Speed Issues
That said, you undoubtedly know how frustrating it is to need information and have to wait for a slow page to load. In most cases, you can identify page loading problems on your website and address them in a straightforward manner.
Here are some of the most common problems affecting page speed, and how you can mitigate or eliminate them.
Non-Optimized Videos and Images
There is no need to cut images or videos from a visually appealing page. For one thing, you can compress image and video files. For another, you can replace GIFs with videos.
You can also use a technique called “lazy loading” (also known as asynchronous loading). It employs “lightweight” placeholder images while the page is loading, but then replaces them with full images once the user scrolls to where they are in view.
Google has a document that explains exactly how you can ensure pages that use lazy loading will be crawled, indexed, and ranked properly.
You can also rev up page speed by ensuring images and videos all have the optimal display size and density. In some cases, you can use next-generation formats like WebP. Developed by Google, WebP images have 30% better compression than traditional jpeg and .png images.
Tools also exist to automate image optimization, so you don’t have to go through every page on your website and individually optimize each image and video.
Rare is a website that doesn’t have any redirects. The odd redirect is fine.
But when you end up with chains of redirects, where a redirect leads to a page that also redirects, and so on, page speed can suffer.
Check your website for redirects. You can use a tool like Redirect Checker to find them. Do your redirects lead to actual pages? Or do they lead to other pages that redirect? Break up redirect chains and you can speed up page load times.
It’s easy to pick an inexpensive web hosting provider when you launch your website and then stick with it indefinitely. In many cases, there is no problem with this.
However, if your page speed is too slow, your hosting provider could be to blame. Suppose you have optimized your images and videos and eliminated redirect chains, yet your pages still load slowly. Maybe it’s time to review your hosting situation.
Your website can’t load any faster than your web hosting provider allows. For your website to load fastest, avoid shared hosting and virtual private server (VPS) hosting.
Cloud hosting is a good option. Though more expensive than shared or VPS hosting, faster page load times can ultimately pay off in better SERP positioning and more customers.
When you use a Content Management System (*cough*WordPress*cough*), it’s tempting to install lots of plugins. After all, they can do amazing things for your site without a lot of effort on your part.
The problem is that every plugin you use adds more code, and the quality of the code can vary. Clean, well-coded plugins won’t cost you much in terms of page speed. But inefficiently-coded plugins can slow things down.
Try a tool like PageSpeed Insights to learn which code on your site may be causing page speed issues.
There are two main things you can do to address plugin bloat. You can delete plugins you don’t use, and you can look for single plugins that can replace multiple ones. Either approach can boost your page speed.
Cache Should Be King. Is It?
The easiest way to use caching is to add a plugin like WP Rocket (bearing in mind the potential problem of having too many plugins mentioned above).
What if you have a site that updates its content frequently? Will users continue to see cached content rather than the fresh content you replaced it with?
No worries: caching is smarter than it used to be. Most of today’s caching tools automatically clear the cache when you introduce changes. That way, content only has to reload after it has been modified.
Non-Tasty Spaghetti Code
This is not an exhaustive list of things that can cause page speed problems. If fixing these problems doesn’t help, there are other measures you can take, like using a content delivery network.
In most cases, however, checking and fixing these common page speed problems can make a noticeable difference. And you don’t have to be a tech wizard to use most of them.
Page Speed, SEO, and Your Website
SEO has many moving parts. Ultimately, SEO is about making the user experience on your website as productive and straightforward as possible.
If you wonder why your website doesn’t perform as well as you want it to, why not set up a call with our team? We have a range of solutions for existing websites, and we create SEO-enriched websites as well.
Don’t let something as important as page speed hold back your website performance. Make the user experience better with faster page speeds, and you boost both your SEO efforts and your potential for gaining new customers.