5 simple ways to boost your page loading speed
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) best practices have changed somewhat over the past decade, but many remain conceptually the same. Delivering quality content to visitors is the spearhead of any good content marketing strategy, as it expands lead acquisition prospects. However, website loading speeds have seen a surge in attention in recent years as well, and for good reason. Expanding tech-savvy demographics require increasingly swift content delivery, and data exemplifies this need all too well. Thus, I’ve gathered insights on five simple ways to boost your page loading speed for your reading convenience.
Page loading speed, and why it matters
Initially, I’d like to establish why page loading speed is such a vital factor to consider. The arguably most fundamental benefit lies in bounce rates; visitors are exponentially more likely to bounce as load times increase. Consider the following stats from Google/SOASTA’s own research on how high load times increase bounce rates:
- From 1s to 3s: 32% bounce probability increase
- 1s to 5s: 90% bounce probability increase
- 1s to 10s: 123% bounce probability increase
The above figures, coupled with how 6s incur a 106% increase themselves, highlight what other research suggests. Over 80% of all visitors expect page loading speeds of 3s or less, and about 40% will bounce on 4s. While 1-3s is, by all means, optimal, any higher than 3s begins to yield massive losses. The difference of 3s with 5s and 6s is staggering – 58% and 74%, respectively. As such, proactively seeking ways to boost your page loading speed is a wise course of action.
Page loading speed and SEO
Furthermore, it’s vital to note that loading speeds are of paramount importance in terms of search rankings. Google has announced this officially, so reducing load times is crucial for enhancing your SEO strategies. From enhancing the user experience and reducing bounce rates to sending search engines proper social signals, it’s nigh invaluable.
5 simple ways to boost your page loading speed
Having highlighted the above crucial information, it should now be clear that loading speeds are significant. With this in mind, let us now delve into five simple ways you can boost your page loading speed. As you do so, you will also be enhancing your on-page SEO, which is beneficial in its own right.
#1 Choose optimized hosting solutions and monitor your loading speeds
First and foremost, you should ensure you’ve chosen a performance-optimized hosting solution. On-page optimizations can only yield so many returns if your hosting solution is substandard. Furthermore, you should also monitor your loading speeds to have clear insights into each optimization’s immediate effect.
In terms of the former, budget restraints are certainly understandable. Small to midsize businesses (SMBs) seem to opt for cheaper hosting solutions more frequently. However, while it’s prudent not to overpay for services you may not need, you should also avoid underperforming solutions. As such, make sure your hosting solution fully meets its price range – and consider upgrading if the need arises.
In terms of the latter, there are many load speed monitoring tools. Of course, premium options will offer more functionalities and insights, but many free ones provide considerable value. Some of the most prominent ones include the following:
These and similar monitoring tools will let you gauge the effectiveness of the additions, optimizations, and changes you make. Such insights will allow you to make well-informed decisions, so using them is naturally the first step.
#2 Optimize images: file format, size, and compression
Poorly optimized images tend to have a severe impact on load times. As such, optimizing them is among the simplest ways to boost your page loading speed.
Of course, large, high-resolution images produce the best results in visual terms. However, using needlessly large images can hamper your load speed; keeping image size under 100kB offers an optimal compromise.
In terms of file compression, remember that many tools sacrifice quality in the process. Such tools as Photoshop and other software offer greater control of quality, so you should opt for them whenever possible. Finally, in terms of file format, remember that JPEGs are ideal for visually rich images. For less intensive images, such as graphics and logos, PNGs should offer sufficient quality and optimal sizes.
#3 Reduce HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) requests
High volumes of HTTP requests can also increase loading times. It’s thus in your best interests to reduce HTTP requests wherever possible while maintaining page quality. On this front, you can consider a few key practices.
Use HTTP compression
HTTP compression can consolidate page data into a smaller file, reducing the number of HTTP requests many files would make.
Use CSS sprites
CSS sprites can consolidate images you use frequently and deliver them as one image. In turn, this too can boost page loading speeds.
Reduce page images
Finally, consider using fewer image files on individual content-heavy pages. This will reduce HTTP requests and also improve the user experience.
#4 Use caching
A similarly simple way to boost your page loading speed is to use caching. After all, page and database query requests can increase page render times and strain your server.
Cached, static versions of pages can be presented to users instead. This can drastically increase your loading speeds and enhance the user experience in the process. Fortunately, many caching tools exist, both free and premium – including WordPress plugins. Forbes has made an excellent article on this subject, which still holds true today.
#5 Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Finally, especially if you target international audiences, CDNs can offer a viable option to reduce load times.
What is CDN? watch the video below:
These systems of distributed servers host your media files in large server networks. Thus, they can deliver content to users based on their geographic locations, boosting page loading speeds and reducing the strain on individual servers. Fortunately, many CDN options exist today, including Amazon Cloudfront, Cloudflare, MaxCDN, and others.
Of course, there are more intricate ways to boost your page loading speed than those mentioned above. However, these five should serve as a good, simple starting point toward improving your load times and on-page SEO.
Nick Djurovic: My success in the field is an uncanny product of having a Bachelor with Honors in Mechanical Engineering, Psychology, and Psychotherapy. With all these skills under my belt, I turned my focus to understanding and mastering Programming & Developing, as well as improving other processes.
In 2019 I co-founded Digital Dot, a digital marketing agency based in New York. I adore WordPress and I’m dedicated to a loving relationship with search engines and social networks.