So you got yourself a fancy website and your friends and family all love it. But you’re having a hard time getting traffic from search engines like Google and you’re wondering why? It turns out there is more to effective web design than aesthetics alone. This is when you should be looking into SEO, and page speed optimization.
SEO stands for search engine optimization and it is the process that aims to drive more organic traffic to your website’s pages through search engines and the rest of the Internet. Therefore search engine optimized websites can potentially include their website content (web pages, images, videos, PDF files, etc) to be listed under a particular topic or search keyword. Search engines crawl the contents of websites, in an effort to match the information shared on your website with their user’s search queries. This is why it’s important for any marketer to understand and incorporate SEO into their marketing strategy. You need to be aware of the search engine basics in order to drive the maximum number of traffic to your page.
There are several aspects that need to be considered while devising an effective SEO strategy and perhaps the most important and useful one is page speed optimization. Page speed is not the same as your website speed as there is a difference between the two. Page speed is the time your website takes to load the complete information that is mentioned on your page. It is one of the most critical aspects in terms of improving and enhancing your search engine rankings. As page speed optimization is the main driving force of your page or website according to the reports published on Google, therefore one needs to have an idea of all the ways that can be utilized to optimize the speed of the page along with improving the search engine rankings.
There are various ways that can be utilized to enhance and improve a web site’s page speed. Here in this guide we’ll try and cover some of the most useful and beneficial ones that you can start with:
Analyze and optimize your TTFB
Switch to a better web hosting provider
Remove unnecessary and inactive plugins
Optimize your digital media
1. Learn How to Optimize Your TTFB
TTFB stands for Time To First Byte and it is the most important area when it comes to determining how your page is responding and how long it takes for your browser to access your website.
If you have a slow website, you’re probably wondering How can I test my TTFB?
There are various tools that can be utilized to asses and analyze your page speed. For instance, one can use an application like DCL (DOM Content Loaded) or CrUX (Chrome User Experience Report). These tools provide you with an accurate report which can be useful in terms of getting an in-depth analysis of how your TTFB is reacting to different users and how it compares to the overall average website. Running such tests will help you get insightful data and other useful tips that you can use to improve the overall performance of your website.
2. Get a Better Web Hosting Plan
Assuming that you don’t have the means to get your self a custom-coded website, you’re most likely using a platform such as WordPress, Wix, SquareSpace, etc. While these platforms make it relatively easier for you to get your website up and ready, they often come with a lot of baggage and unnecessary overhead. The main reason behind why a page that’s hosted on such a platform takes longer to load might not be that obvious as the lag could be due to other factors such as 3rd party plugins, external scripts, embed codes, etc. While it’s not always clear why a web page takes longer to load than usual, one of the common factors that always impacts a site’s page speed is the site’s web hosting provider. So the next thing that can help you to decrease your page to load is using a better web host. A speedy web host can help your server send your web files faster to your visitors, thus enhancing and improving the overall speed of your page or your website.
However, it’s worth mentioning that a study was published by Kinsta that pointed out all the possible reasons why a website can take a very long time in terms of loading. Several factors like the geographic location, proximity and closeness of the users, the number of users on the server and the size of the RAM that is being used by the server play a pivotal role in the performance of the website.
If your website or page takes too long to load, then it is a good chance that your visitors will not have a pleasant experience which may actually force some of these users to leave your website and look for an alternative source. Typically, a website generates more traffic when the text and media content that’s shared on your page does not take too long to load. So the faster the website, the less likely that visitors will leave, and the more likely that the website will attract new users. So make sure that you have a credible and reliable hosting provider as it is going to have an impact on the overall user experience of your visitors and a direct relationship with the revenue that you can generate through your website. A slow or unreliable hosting provider can also result in a decrease in the amount of traffic that is generated along with a negative and poor overall search engine rankings.
3. Remove Inactive Plugins
As we briefly mentioned before, there is a good chance that you are using a Content Management System (CMS) such as WordPress, SquareSpace, etc for your website. While some plugins are necessary for you to create the desired user experience for your visitors, an underlying cause like inactive and redundant plugins can lead to a bad page speed that ultimately has a negative impact on the overall performance of your website. You are given the option to either activate or deactivate the plugins in case you feel like that the plugin is not essential to your user/customer experience. Unfortunately, people tend to keep all their plugins active rather than making them inactive or deleting them permanently. While making a plugin inactive might sound like a good idea, some experts suggest that in order to prevent the intervention of plugins in the performance of your website, you should remove it from the website completely.
However, the following measures can also be taken in order to prevent plugins from impacting the performance of your website:
- You should install only the plugins that are absolutely necessary.
- It is very important to regularly clean the cache accumulated on your website.
- Remove all the plugins that are not active from the past three-four months.
- If you’re using WordPress, check which plugins are compatible with the WordPress version that you are using and make sure that you install the latest version of them.
Another reason why getting rid of inactive plugins is important is that inactive plugins can make it easier for hackers to access your website or user’s personal information so it can also cause a major security concern, making your website much more vulnerable.
If hackers access your website and breakthrough your security, then there could also be the chance that you face a big loss in terms of the revenue lost from your website. So not only can inactive plugins make your website slow, they can pose a serious security threat that and have a negative impact on your revenues, the amount of traffic generated, and your overall SEO ranking.
4. Regularly Clean Your Website Code
The area that one should go through in order to keep a check on the website codes is mentioned below:
- Validate HTML
- Validate CSS
- Review WordPress Theme Files
Hint: If you use WordPress and wish to make changes then try to make it in the child theme file rather than making it in the parent theme file. Always make sure that the original file is restored and maintained while all the important changes are being made in the copy of the original file.
5. Invest In a Content Delivery Network
Using a CDN (Content Delivery Network AKA the Content Distribution Network) is another step in the process of optimizing the speed of your page. By utilizing a CDN, you can reduce the time within which the information is loaded on your page. As you might suspect, not all your web visitors come from the same geographical location so the proximity of the server with relation to the visitor tends to have an impact on the overall performance of a particular website. The closer you are to the server the faster you are able to receive and load the information you request through your web browser, resulting in a better experience. Websites that use hosting servers that are geographically too far away from the location of their main audience, tend to have a harder time generating and maintaining their web traffic. Furthermore, visitors also complain more regarding the time it takes for a page and information to load.
CDN is designed specifically to eliminate all sorts of delays in terms of the content of the website that you are using. With the help of the CDN, web visitors get to retrieve the content of websites with little or no delay. One can enjoy the smooth and efficient delivery of content on their computers, laptops or mobile phone devices.
Using a CDN can also be helpful in some other areas as well:
- CDN can protect websites from being targeted by malicious users, hackers, and attackers.
- It also keeps DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) at bay as that is the most common form of attack that is used by hackers. DDOS attacks clog your website services, oftentimes suspending or freezing your website for a certain period of time.
CDN makes sure that all the content is available and evenly distributed to your visitors regardless of their internet speed, device, or geographical location. CDN can also protect your website in case of malware so the pages of the website will continue to operate and generate traffic.
6. Optimize Your Pictures, Images, and Videos
Webpages and different websites are incomplete without the use of pictures, images, and videos that suits the topic and the issue that is being discussed. Digital media can make your content look more attractive and engaging, resulting in increased traffic retention and generation. People tend to prefer websites that are colorful and attractive rather than being dull and boring. A website without any multimedia content might not generate a lot of traffic as compared to the one that has a lot of images and videos on all the pages that exist within that particular website. One should keep in mind that images take up the majority of your bandwidth in terms of loading. It is extremely vital and important to optimize your images and videos that are used and placed on your website as optimized files consume less amount of space on your web server and a lot less bandwidth.
Placing heavy and large images can be one of the reasons behind the slow performance of your page which can have an impact on the traffic and overall revenue generated.
Look for the perfect image for your website that is not too large in size in order to make sure that your website is not taking a lot of time in terms of loading and displaying the content to the users. For this very reason, an image compression utility (e.g. WEBP compression) is an important tool that can be used for page speed optimization. We will cover this more in our future blogs so still tuned and make sure to subscribe.
While there is no one single “magic spell” for improving SEO, following all the steps mentioned above will help you optimize the page speed of your website, helping your visitors have a better experience while boosting and enhancing your online sales revenues. As your competition increases on Google, it is extremely essential to make sure that you are not making any mistakes on your end. By learning to follow the steps in this guide, you get to attract more people and generate more traffic with the help of effective page speed optimization strategies.