There’s nothing worse is there. You’re browsing away to your heart’s content and trying to find the answers you seek in the quickest time possible but you hit a metaphorical brick wall as the page you so desperately seek seems to take short of a million years to load. Not ideal. So, with this in mind, we’re going to go into a little more detail around page speed and why it’s so important, especially for a business website.

The term Page Speed is pretty self-explanatory.  It is the measurement of how quickly the content of a web page loads.

Why Is Page Speed SO Important?

In short, a slow web page simply does not provide a good experience for the end user (being your current or prospective customer) and therefore, it is likely that users will run out of patience with a slow loading page and look elsewhere.  You’ll have been there yourself no doubt. Google is all about user experience and mobile-first.  Mobile devices rely on mobile networks or at best Wi-Fi to connect leading to possible slower page loading than on desktop devices.  Google can place websites with faster loading times above yours in the rankings, leading to a potential reduction in traffic for you.  All in all, it’s in your best interests to make sure your website is performing well.

Remember, it’s not always your internet connection that’s responsible for slow-loading pages, it can be your website itself!

How Can I Measure My Website’s Page Speed? 

You could take out your stopwatch and time it yourself, but that’s not entirely practical and there’s a wealth of tools out there to help you not only gage your timings but also find out what is bogging down your website. Pretty nifty eh?

PageSpeed Insights – This is Google’s simple to use and interpret tool.  Simply enter your url and you will receive a score out of one hundred and list of tips for both mobile and desktop speeds.

Pingdom – This tool actually provides a timing for the loading of your web page.  Enter your url in the field provided and select a location, ideally the closest to your location.  In the case of the UK, this is Stockholm, Sweden.  Pingdom also provide a list of issues and a waterfall detailing load times of different components of your page such as javascript files, images and more.  This can be helpful in identifying any trouble spots.

GTMetrix – This tool not only provides a timing for page load but also a very in depth analysis of issues causing slow load speeds, using both PageSpeed and YSlow.  The servers used by GTMetrix are based in Vancouver so the actual loading times can be a little unreliable for websites based elsewhere but the other information generated is excellent.

What Else Will Improve My Website’s Page Speed?

Look! We’ve put together some fundamentals in addressing your page speed that are relatively easy to put into place and can lead to massive improvements:

  1. Compression: Using Gzip compression to reduce the size of certain files on your website can dramatically reduce loading times. Some hosting panels have this feature enabled.
  2. Minify Code: you can optimise code by removing spaces and some characters and comments within html, css and javascript files.  This can be very effective but should be done with some caution as errors can lead to problems on your website.
  3. Server Response Time: In some cases, the server which a website is hosted upon can cause speed issues.  Ideally a server should respond in under 200ms.  Shared servers can lead to slow responses as the server resources are shared by many different websites and in turn their traffic.  Dedicated hosting can be costly, but contact your hosting provider to discuss your options.
  4. Optimise Images: A very common mistake is to upload huge images to a website.  Tools such as Photoshop and similar have features which compress images to the extent where they retain their quality but reduce their file size.
  5. Content Distribution Networks (CDN): CDNs are essentially server networks which hold copies of your website.  So, instead of just waiting for one server to respond, the files which make up your website can be grabbed faster from multiple sources leading to faster loading.

Remember, these are just a ways to improve your page load speed.  By performing tests on tools, such as GTMetrix, you will be able to identify the issues specific to your own website.  We recommend that you only attempt to repair any issues if you are confident that you know what you are doing, otherwise ask a web developer, you don’t want to end up making matters worse – it’s easily done!

Oh and just so you know, page and website speed issues are a service covered by the gang her at Reflex Creative, so if in doubt, feel free to get in touch!