A lightning fast website loading speed is loved by everyone, the webmasters, the visitors and definitely the search engines. In top notch research that has been carried out on this subject, it was found out that average loading time for retail websites was over seven seconds, far above the threshold load time of three seconds or less. And as per the research of KissMetrics, this delay in website loading time is causing the retailers billions of dollars in losses. One part of their findings goes on to suggest that a one second delay in page response can lead to seven percentage reduction in sales. Besides a poor user experience (UX) and loss of potential revenue, a poor or delayed website loading time also affects yours search engine rankings. From the angle of search engine optimization, since Google has adopted the factor of website loading speed in its search ranking algorithm, a website designed keeping in mind the speed is a very important factor. It is established that websites that load faster receive a ranking bonus that moves them up in the organic search results. It is a well-known fact that Google is tracking page speed a lot more precisely than we may have ever given it a thought. Knowing this allows you to understand your rankings better. Hence, it is imperative that your website loads as quickly as possible. Presented below are five tips to boost your website loading speed.
1. Optimize your database
Different kinds of websites use different kinds of database to store information. This applies to any kind of website such as an eCommerce store, a blog, news and current affairs website or any other type of website that uses internal search. All such types of websites are using databases. Such databases can play an important role in influencing your website loading speed.
Adding an index to your database is one of the most desirable ways for increasing the loading speed of your website. By adding an index, your databases will be able to find information faster. Thus, instead of searching millions of entries, an index will help it to narrow down the data to a few hundred entries, thus data gets returned to the page much faster.
2. Be Spartan in your approach
This applies to tracking codes, video embeds and share buttons on your website. Don’t overdo such things, five different tracking codes are not needed in one single website. Remember, being as simple as possible is going to help our cause (increasing the website loading speed). For every tracking code you add to your website, it slows the website down further. Hence, only one tracking code per website is required. In addition, the tracking code should be included at the bottom of a page. This will enable the page to get displayed, even though the tracking code has not finished loading as yet. Also, limit the use of video embeds since video frames are a real drag on page load times. Due to video embeds, a whole separate page loads within your main page, and hence its use is to be kept at the minimal. Same goes for share buttons, since the share buttons are java script based, and all that java script does is to generate a frame within a frame. Avoid this and your website loading time will be lightning fast.
3. Use caching whenever possible
Here is how to understand the concept of caching. Whenever you visit a website for the first time, your browser requests all the images, text, scripts, etc. from the server of that particular website. This information is then stored in the cache memory of your browser and hence when you visit other pages on that particular website, elements that are repetitive are already loaded and you only need to download the elements that are unique. Till last year, browser caching capabilities were limited. But this has all changed since HTML5 has arrived. Now, you are able to store megabits of data suing the browser cache instead of requiring it to be stored in your server’s database. In addition, application cache lets you access resources from your local computer so that you don’t have to wait for the server to provide them. This will also lead to reduction in bandwidth usage and server usage besides increasing the website loading speed.
4. Leverage Content Delivery Networks
Let us consider a scenario to understand this point better. Let us assume that the server of your website is located in Montana. Hence, your website should load quickly for the residents of Montana since its data only needs to travel a short distance from the server to any computer in Montana. However, now imagine that a web user in Scotland wants to access your site. Hence, the webpage data must travel from Montana to Scotland, stopping at multiple routers along the way. This adds delay or ‘latency’ to every single byte of data that is transferred, that comprises of every image, every video, every java script file, every CSS file, etc. Hence, wouldn’t it be a great idea if copy of your webpage exist both in Montana and Scotland? This is exactly the function of a Content Delivery Network (CDN). A CDN has servers all over the world and the copy of your webpage is stored on all those servers. Thus, user who accesses your website from any part of the world is given access from the nearest server point, thus reducing the website loading time.
5. Pay attention to Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools now contain access to ‘PageSpeed’ Insights. With the help of this tool, you can analyze a give URL’s page load speed, and most important of all, gives you tips on how to make improvements on it. This is particularly valuable since Google uses a similar speed analysis as a factor in your SERP rankings. Using this tool will let you see what Google see and makes its decision on. You may also want to run the same tool for your competitor’s website/s and see for yourself how you stack up.
At the end, you have to realize that increasing the speed of your website helps you and reducing its loading time will enhance your search rankings and also the user experience on your website. Even Google is considering it as a factor in its algorithms. Hence, it becomes quite necessary to pay enough attention on this important parameter keeping aside the search engine optimization point of view.