Website load speed is hugely important, of that there is no doubt. No one wants to wait for ages for a page to load and more often that not, people will look elsewhere if they are left waiting for too long.
But how can business owners control the speed at which their webpages load? And more importantly, how can they optimise their website speed to deliver a consistent experience across all devices?
In this article, we’re sharing a list of techniques to help optimise your webpage load times. But first, why is website speed optimisation so important?
Why website speed optimisation matters
First and foremost, it significantly affects user experience. Faster websites provide a smoother, more enjoyable experience, encouraging visitors to stay longer and engage more with the content. This is especially crucial in an era where users expect quick and efficient online interactions. Slow-loading websites, on the other hand, often lead to frustration and a high bounce rate, where visitors leave the site quickly.
Additionally, website load speed is a key factor in search engine optimisation (SEO). Search engines like Google prioritise faster websites in their rankings, meaning a quicker website is more likely to appear higher in search results, leading to increased visibility and potentially more traffic.
Furthermore, for e-commerce sites, faster load times directly correlate with higher conversion rates and sales, as customers are more likely to complete purchases on sites that offer a seamless, efficient browsing experience.
Tips for optimising your website speed
The following tips might seem complex - and if you really dive into the details, they can be. That’s why, for every tip outlined below, we’ve simplified the outcome of each change so that you can understand not only what happens but also the value of each small change.
Working with a team like Social Loop can make all of these small changes quick and easy to navigate, enhancing the user experience across your website - and cutting down on those webpage load times - without affecting the standard of your site or its design.
1. Integrate a caching plugin
When someone clicks onto your website, or onto a specific page of your website, the site builds the webpage from scratch. Or, with a caching plugin, it can provide the user with a static version of the HTML, which loads much faster without impacting their experience.
Alleviating all the technical detail and focussing on the outcome, integrating a caching plugin to your website means that your site remembers specific user requests and which webpages were loaded in response to that search. Caching refers to the storing of frequently accessed data - meaning that a caching plugin remembers the user searches and resulting webpages and is able to load those same web pages instantly when a search term is used again.
2. Optimise your images
Anyone who is already familiar with Google’s Core Web Vitals will know that images are one of the biggest offenders when it comes to page load speeds. Optimising your images means that they are stored on your webpage as smaller, lower resolution files - which, crucially, load more quickly.
The smaller the files on your webpage, the quicker it loads. And it’s also worth noting here that faster loading images have a great impact on the user experience, by allowing the full webpage layout to show efficiently. When images take too long to load, they jump about and push other blocks of content around the page until the full page has loaded, creating a frustrating experience for users.
3. Reassess the plugins you use on your website
While a caching plugin is very much a necessity for faster website load speeds, there are many plugins out there that you simply don’t need. If it isn’t having a tangible and positive effect on your website, then you probably don’t need it. Getting rid of unnecessary plugins is one surefire way to enhance load speed.
4. Limit external scripts
This is an interesting one because it refers to all of the external sites and links which may be helping to boost your SEO. In short, while direct links with other sites are good for some aspects of your website’s SEO, when they impact the load speed of your website, they start doing more harm than good.
An example is when a website has a live feed of social media updates, or Trustpilot reviews on the homepage. While these are no doubt beneficial in some ways, when they drag the page load speed down, they lose their benefit and become a hindrance on the user experience.
Limit any external scripts and your reliance on external content loading, to see a positive uplift in your website speed.
Struggling with website speed optimisation?
If website speed is something you want to work on, but you don’t know where to start, our team of web design specialists are here to help.
Combining the effects of website speed optimisation with SEO expertise and digital marketing knowledge, our team is well versed in the changes that are worth making and those aspects of your web design that you should leave untouched.
Get in touch today for more information.