How to Improve Your Website’s Google Page Speed Score
When it comes down to it, the Internet is all about speed. After all, it’s the “information superhighway,” not the information footpath. All the beautiful and useful content in the world won’t do you any good if it takes forever to load. And on websites, “forever” isn’t long at all — you only have a second or two to prove you’re fast.
Google has indicated that speed (speed of both your site as a whole and individual pages) is one of the factors its algorithm uses to rank pages. Google also takes a careful look at user experience to determine rankings — and a slow experience is a bad one.
If you’ve spent a lot of money on a gorgeous site and top-of-the-line SEO, it’s money down the drain if your site doesn’t load quickly. Here’s how to reduce bottlenecks and unleash your website’s potential for speed.
Measure It First
You don’t have to go it alone when trying to speed up your pages. To get started, try Google’s Page Speed test tool. Simply type a URL in the window, click “analyze,” and within seconds the tool ranks your website’s speed on mobile and desktop devices. In addition, the page makes recommendations about things you “should fix” (such as optimizing images, if you need it) and things you could “consider fixing,” such as enabling compression, and then offers tips on how to do so.
Streamline Your Design
Keep things simple so your site isn’t downloading all sorts of images, stylesheets and other pieces of code that clog up load times. The more elements, the more HTTP requests you have, the more time it takes to load. Reduce the number of items on your page, combine your style sheets and reduce scripts. Keeping your site lean and mean will make it faster.
Enable Browser Caching
Enabling browser caching decreases the load on your server as it pulls resources already cached in a user’s browser. It means editing HTTP headers to set expiry dates on some files — or using a plugin to make things easier. WP Rocket is a great plugin to use on your WordPress website to enable browser caching and website optimization, and we also love CloudFlare for building speedy sites.
Chances are, any analysis you run will recommend that you optimize images. Images can slow down loading times considerably, so check the ones on your site to make sure they’re not the reason for delays. To optimize images, you should:
- Remove metadata that isn’t necessary, such as the camera model and date the photo was taken.
- Reduce image quality (without negatively impacting the user experience) so it’s not as large. Keep it below 100 KB if possible.
- Use plugins. EWWW Image Optimizer can help you strip metadata and compress images, while Imsanity puts image size restrictions on the website so anyone making changes can’t unknowingly upload a massive image. Smush.it is another helpful tool for compressing images.
- Use JPGs instead of PNGs, which result in larger file sizes.’
Need help improving your page speed? Contact us!