Website speeds are important for your SEO efforts and user experiences.
You must ensure your website speed is acceptable for the user as well as the search engine.
A slow loading website is a naff experience harming your conversion rate. Users impatiently drop off and your ranking place on search engines will be harmed.
Google favours speedy websites over slow ones. Therefore if your competitor is doing better than you, check your website speed to see if this is having a potential impact.
You can get an accurate speed check done on your website here with Google Page speed insights. It will show you the load speed on a desktop, vs the load speed on a mobile device.
What could be causing a slow load performance? And how could you make your website speed better?
1. Too many plugins
For a simple analogy we’ll describe a race car. It is designed to be aerodynamic, and stripped down to have hardly anything inside the car such as rear passenger seats and spare wheels. Therefore = speedy race car.
Your website could be bogged down like a family car going down for seaside holiday. It’s got all the suitcases, the dogs cage, the food for the week and all the bits in between you pack for ‘just in case’ scenarios. You know you won’t really need them.
Did you know that the plugins you add are doing exactly this? There are even plugins that can help with speed optimisation.
Although, it’s best to do a before and after test over a period of time to understand if it’s helping as much as you need. Speak to us to learn more about plugins that are vital for the performance of your website against those which could be coded in manually. This could save you heaps of ‘speed points’ and potentially a pretty penny in plugin subscription fees.
2. High resolution images
Enormous images are a killer for your website speed. You could be upload high resolution image to your media library, that you could zoom in on to see the pours of your nose. Clearly, that’s unnecessary.
Every media file contains information about that image. Overall you’re trying to load way too much data for that image than needs be on a webpage. Using tools such as tinypng can save you a boatload of speed points.
3. Slow hosting
You may be on a shared server, meaning that other people’s websites live on your server at the same time. And usually that’s fine, unless there are too many websites now on this server or perhaps one of these websites is getting heaps of traffic and the server is pumping all it’s energy to that website to stop it falling over. Much like spinning plates, they’ll eventually fall over if it’s too much.
You can speak to your web developer or hosting provider to upgrade your server to one with a higher capacity. You’ll be advised on the right package to move to – you wouldn’t be advised to pay heaps for a dedicated server of your own, if the traffic you receive doesn’t warrant it.
4. Your website needs an MOT
As mentioned in our post about Website maintenance, your plugins could be lagging a bit due to requiring an update.
Make sure you stay on top of these so that each update is fairly seamless and nothing breaks. Leaving it too long between updates can cause problems on your website.
Alternatively the PHP or WordPress version could be out of date and your web developer can assist you in updating this. They’ll make sure this is updated correctly with a recent website back up to hand.
5. You’re a content heavy website
Particularly if you’re a membership website providing e-learning courses online – you would benefit from a CDN as you aren’t able to scrimp on cutting back content loading elements.
A CDN stands for Content Delivery Network – which is a group of servers working together, to load up content as quickly as possible.
Instead of relying on your single server, multiple servers work together to deliver the content based on your geographical point. This is ideal if you are using an American website in the UK; as the closest server could be placed in Germany or even the UK. This means that your content is delivered much faster than it would if it were being sent from a U.S server. Cloudflare is a popular CDN provider.
6. Marketing tools in the background
The more tools you integrate, the more code baggage to load.
Here are a few common tools that are working away in the background:
Live chat, Google Analytics, Youtube embedded videos, Hotjar heat maps, social media feeds, third party advertisement space, SEMrush, Facebook page insights, CRM tracking software, action triggered pop ups, accessibility tools and even feedback questionnaires.
As you can see, there’s lots of helpful tools to stitch into your website. Although they can also have a negative impact, that counteracts the marketing research you’re doing to improve the website! Bit of a frustrating circle.
Amongst the above marketing additions you may have, you have your website theme and plugins to load as well.
Can you get 100 points on Googles page speed insights?
Even Apple’s website isn’t at 100% on Google page speed insights. Apple even have an enormous web team behind them, so use this example as reassurance.
Your website needs a minimum amount of functionality, design and additional tools to make it work and stand out amongst the crowd.
The jazzier your website (i.e. the functionality, content, marketing tools and plugins) the more ‘energy’ your website needs to load.
Devices with varying speeds of Wi-Fi and mobile phone data need consideration. Don’t forget to factor in the volumes of traffic you receive to your server.
Maybe you have really done your best and preened back what you can. And sometimes you just need to stand back and ask yourself if it’s worth accepting a slower speed score. You and your business may well need to keep all of your existing plugin and marketing tools, for the sake of what your website needs to function and grow your market base.
All whilst Google page speed insights is telling you that you need to do better in scary red writing!
Assess what you have in place; if you can’t optimise your website further you could consider upgrading your hosting package if you need that extra boost.