How To Fix Your Website Speed
Your website speed is important for multiple reasons, but mainly it affects user experience. Anything that negatively affects user experience, will also negatively affect your SEO because Google wants to deliver the best experience for their customers, too. If they didn’t, Google might not be the top search engine. Mobile is more affected by mobile site speed because mobile devices are less powerful than desktop computers and have trouble loading large files quickly.
Of course, you want the best user experience for your clients, but is it worth worrying over a couple of seconds of extra load time?
How Important is Website Speed?
The answer is, quite definitively, yes. It is worth fixing those 2 extra seconds of load time, whenever possible. You may think because you’re a small business, it’s not as important—people don’t expect as much from you. But the reality is that they certainly do expect the best, even from local businesses. 53% of mobile site visits leave if a page takes longer than three seconds to load.
Mobile Website Speed & Local Businesses
But how can you be sure if people even visit your site on mobile? Well, you can use a program like Google Analytics to determine what the mobile traffic for your site is like currently. However, if you have no mobile traffic you still need to make sure your site is fast on mobile. If you’re finding you have no mobile traffic, that’s traffic you’re missing out on. If you’re missing out on traffic, your business is missing out on money.
If you are a local business and someone is in a hurry to find your services or products, chances are that they are using mobile. If they’re not at home, and you’re located nearby, this is even more important. If someone is next door searching for your services but can’t easily find or view your site on mobile, you’ll miss out. If your site loads slowly on mobile, Google won’t even show it in their local search results.
So how do you know if your site’s speed is on par?
Using Google PageSpeed Insights
Ultimately, you should ask your webmaster. If you’re reading this, that’s probably us. But if you’d like to see for yourself, you can check out your PageSpeed with Google’s developer tool called PageSpeed Insights. Don’t worry—there’s a nice little chart that shows green, yellow and red ratings. Your speed rating is based on a scale between 0 and 100, 100 being the best. If you have a new website, you should expect it to be green for mobile. If not, it should be a high yellow, 75 or above. Anything below this means you have a slow website on mobile. You’ll notice this tool offers an option for desktop, and you’ll likely see your speed rating is higher on desktop.
How to Run a PageSpeed Insights Test
Go to Google’s PageSpeed Insights test page.
Input your website’s homepage URL and click Analyze.
Review your rating. Is your number green on desktop? How about mobile? Think of your PageSpeed rating as a percentage and determine if you’re happy enough with receiving that score on your website speed.
Scroll down and look at your “Opportunities” section. Are there any opportunities you’re missing out on? Maybe it’s something simple to fix, or maybe it’s more complicated. Some of the terms you’ll see here are a little technical, so I’ll go over possible overarching issues that can cause your site speed to be lower than it should.
Why is your site slow and can it be fixed?
Your Site Is Old
If your website is slow, there could be things in the backend that aren’t easy to fix that are slowing the site down. Oftentimes, old websites need to be replaced with new ones. If your site is more than 3 years old (at most), unfortunately, this means it’s very likely outdated, unless you’ve been getting it updated. Google recently updated the PageSpeed tool I linked above to include new standards for image sizes. It’s safe to expect more updates this year since Google is always trying to better their search results—this tool is designed to help you help them.
The best way to fix this issue is to get a qualified web developer to build you a new site. Make sure they specialize in fast mobile sites.
The Images on Your Site Are Too Big
Massive images can be a difficult barrier for some websites to overcome. I don’t mean that the images on the site are physically big; we at SmartWebPros love vibrant, images that splash colour across the entirety of a 25-inch screen. What I’m talking about are images that take a lot of load time. The important part is achieving a balance between high quality and small image size. Our developer, Erin, knows exactly how to do that to meet Google’s image quality and size standards, and it means more than just a compression plugin. If you have questions, give us a call.
Make sure your images are properly compressed and don’t take up more loading power than they need to.
Your Server is Slow
Every website needs hosting. This basically means where your site is saved and accessed online. Websites are hosted on a server. If that server is slow or has a low capacity and high traffic, your website will be slower. This is not something you can change by editing the website. We always recommend hosting on a cloud server. This is what we use since it isn’t affected by power outages or other in-house issues. In PageSpeed Insights, you can look for “Reduce server response time” and see how long your server is holding up your site.
Ask your webmaster why your server response time is slow. If they can’t fix it, you need to switch your site to a better hosting provider with a faster server.
There are Extra Resources or Page Builders on your Site
Your website might look modern and beautiful. But if it takes 10 seconds to load, no one will see it. Things like page builders and themes can make a website easier to build. Things like Wix’s drop and drag builder are super easy for the average person to use, but the results are ultimately moot because you’re losing out on the customers who leave in the time it takes to load the site.
The reason is that page builders offer you, for example, 3 options. You select option 1, which is what shows up on your website. The code for options 2 and 3 is still in the back end, just hidden, but your browser has to read all 3 options so it takes extra time.
Any extra, unnecessary resources that your browser must load can slow down your site. Your browser has to read everything in the code to understand the website, even if it’s just to determine that that code isn’t necessary. This doesn’t only occur in page builders—it can occur with old code or unskilled web designers. It also doesn’t mean a page builder will be slow—you just need to know what you’re doing.
Oftentimes, if there is a slow page builder on the site, it will need to be rebuilt without one. Sometimes, this requires an entirely new site and other times, only pages with the page builder need to be rebuilt.
Test Your Website Speed
The best bet is to run your PageSpeed Insights report on Google and see what you get. If you see something you don’t like, get in touch and we can explain what the issues are and how you can fix it. The most important takeaway for this is understanding that the speed of your website will directly affect the traffic it gets and how well you rank on Google.