Doesn’t online marketing seem to be all about SEO! Well, it has other parts too but SEO remains to be the most important and produces the most fruitful results. If you are already into SEO, you might have already learned the basics. Website loading speed is one of the many factors that SEO experts deem important for the business.
Yet, people seem to ignore it. It is as important as skimming through all the features of Frontier vs Spectrum review, while you are deciding which one to subscribe to. However, generally, people do not focus on speed when it comes to their efforts in SEO. It is a crucial factor and if you are also guilty of ignoring it, you need to focus on it right away.
The good news is that there are many ways to optimize your website for speed. And, their implementation doesn’t involve much time and cost. The rewards are well worth all the efforts (especially the grave issue that it is becoming). A quick-loading, smooth page will immensely increase the appeal of your website.
Not for the Technically Challenged!
We are skipping some of the obvious and basic speed suggestions like not deploying the auto-playing video and audio, or using smaller images. Read on to find some effective – a bit advance – tips to boost your website loading speed.
Enabling GZIP Compression
Interestingly, almost every major web host support and server (even WordPress) supports this great feature. Yet, it is highly under-utilized. Simply put, the host/server that you are using will automatically facilitate you with GZIP-compressed files. You should know that they are usually around 30% of the actual/uncompressed file size. Once you compress a file, any browser will seamlessly decode it. The little time that is spent on decompressing these files outweighs the data savings.
If you are unsure whether GZIP compression is already enabled, all you need is a little online help and you will able to enable it on most of the major platforms.
When it is enabled, your visitors will download smaller files, hence enjoying better loading speeds!
Lazy Load the Images
High-resolution and high-detail images are perhaps the biggest culprits in making your website’s load speed slower. If you have such images on your site and you think compressing them will wreck them then we have another solution for you. Lazy loading it is!
Lazy loading means that your page will not pre-load each image, rather it will wait until the user decides to look at them. This can highly streamline the initial load time but doesn’t reduce the usage of data.
Indexing Your Database
This specific feature is effective especially for e-commerce websites, which may have hundreds or thousands of individual pages (with the associated graphics). The access time of central database where links are stored grows longer with the increase in the collection of content. This is where indexing comes in.
Indexing the database helps in speeding up the procedure of retrieving data and that’s because all the data is organized systematically. Even if you run a simple index function on your database periodically, it will highly reduce the time that the server takes to find the proper items.
This can improve the page time from 5-10 seconds to 1 second or even less!
Consider Creating Multiple Graphics Files with Different Resolutions
A number of websites utilize one graphics file, and then the HTML code resizes the image automatically to fit the page of the user. It is easy for web designers and is also space-efficient, but at the same time, it is awful for bandwidth usage and load times. One has to download the entire file and then the extra processing time also adds (while the page figures out the dimensions of the user’s screen, scaling the image to match it). This action translates to lower bandwidth and faster loading.
All it takes is a little more space and work at the back end, but instead of having several versions of a single file at various pre-set resolutions will reduce user’s effort and time greatly.
Minimize the Use of Social Sharing Embeds and Tracking Codes
Embeds for social sharing and tracking codes can cause an additional problem like increasing memory for the page. It’s because every social sharing embed and tracking code rely on other servers/websites and this increase the load times significantly. This becomes a problem for low-end smartphones and older browsers, hence causing a slowdown.
If you use multiple trackers, try to use a single tracker. And as far as the social sharing is concerned, it may seem good to have a dozen, colorful buttons on your page. But, how many people are clicking them actually? Instead of completely wiping them off, just focus on 2 to 4 social forums where you actually get some shares. Waiting and hoping for a stray Tumblr user to land on your page is not a good idea. The speed lag is really not worth a little number of clicks.
Avoid Redirects When Possible
Whenever possible, avoid redirects. Sacrificing a little of click-through/SEO juice for the sake of speedup is fairly justified. Use direct links, as much as you can. Forcing browsers to trail through a multitude of redirections will make the browser slow and user experience will be affected.
Utilize the Browser-Side Caching
If we talk about the history, browser caching is almost as old as World Wide Web itself. But recently, the functionality was limited. A page could only store some common graphic constituents on the local browser in order to reduce the re-assessment of the content and that was it. However, the HTML5 expands the options in local caching greatly. Local storage now allows storing massive chunks of the site once downloaded, hence streamlining browsing.
For advanced pages, Application Caching is a good option. It allows functional web apps, which work offline/remotely from users’ browser cache, and that is without consistent updates from your server.
Seek Help from Google
Google (the messiah of this digital age) is always there to help you if you are stuck for more ideas. Since Google’s focus is on usability and speed, they now offer a PageSpeed Insights tool. That too, for free. The said tool analyzes pages and pinpoints particular bottlenecks and problem areas. It also offers suggestions to fix them.
Enabling Keep-Alive On the Server
Simply put, the aforementioned term means that the page establishes permanent, single TCP/HTTP link that lasts as long as the web page transfers. Without Keep-alive, the TCP/HTTP connection keeps dropping as well as keeps re-authorizing the link for every file. This drastically increases the upload times and the processor speed.
With keep-alive, you reduce the webpage’s loading time and utilize multiple resources, which are there on the server.
Most of the hosts/servers have enabled Keep-Alive by default but it’s not a guarantee. There are some penny-pinching web servers, which have it disabled because it saves them some money. Check if your Keep-Alive is enabled and if it isn’t, turn it on.
If Everything Else Fails, Use Content Distribution Networks
Although they are a little pricey to implement, they do work. CDNs (Content Distribution Networks) utilize the cloud-based systems in order to cache websites. And then they dynamically and readily serve them to users from servers that are geographically-targeted. One instance is Amazon Cloudfront.