Website loading speed is one of the most important parameters of an Internet resource. This indicator affects its ranking in the search results ranking. Sales conversion largely depends on it. It is necessary to regularly check the loading speed of the site pages using special tools and take measures to improve this indicator.
Why is it important to measure website loading speed?
Google believes that if a website page takes more than 5 seconds to load, the likelihood of a user leaving for another resource increases significantly. There is logic in this because, in this case, the visitor doubts whether it is worth exploring the Internet resource if he needs to give a quick answer. High site loading speed allows you to:
- Attract more clients. This point is especially noticeable for mobile versions of pages. According to statistics, more and more website visitors use mobile phones to view information online. Given this circumstance, special attention should be paid to the download speed for the adaptive version.
- Improve user experience. This moment is also directly related to attracting consumers. For example, site developers with a well-thought-out design, clear interface, and useful content believe such a resource can provide a good conversion. And this may be true, but only if all the components of the pages load fast enough.
- Increase conversion. Conversion rates go up as the site loads faster. This is provided by “impatient” visitors who do not leave the resource after viewing the initial page.
Thus, all sites that sell services or goods must provide high page loading speed and stable operation.
How to speed up the loading of the site: 9 ways that work
Slow site loading speeds are often the reason visitors leave. Page losses due to this shortcoming can be very significant. As noted earlier, download speed is especially important for users visiting smartphone Internet resources.
Next, we will present simple recommendations to minimize the loss of customers due to slow page loading. You do not need special knowledge and experience in resource promotion to implement such advice.
Optimize HTML code and CSS, and JS files.
First of all, you should take care of the “cleanliness” of the code transmitted to the visitor’s browser to the Internet resource. With this, effective optimization of the site loading speed is possible. A long code significantly slows down the opening of pages, so you need to work on reducing the number of characters in it.
How to minify code to speed up site loading:
- Remove unnecessary characters, tags, and markup elements from the code. Small elements can be inserted at the beginning and end of the site’s HTML code to automate page loading. This method provides PHP buffering and is quite efficient regarding download speed. It should be noted that such a solution can increase the load on RAM.
- Collect similar CSS and JS files of the same type into groups. You can do this using free PHP applications (for example, JCH Optimize, Cloudflare, or Minify). Such programs are installed in a separate directory, after which all the HTML code files of the site are passed through them.
Remove unnecessary HTTP requests.
Reducing the number of page elements will allow you to get away from “extra” calls to the server and increase the site’s loading speed.
You can do this in several ways:
- Merge some images into one graphic file (CSS sprite).
- Apply built-in (Inline) pictures collected in the style sheet of the online page.
- Collect several CSS files or scripts of the same type in one file.
- Reduce the number of scripts and program modules used.
Animated page design elements that need more power to load will not open in the first place and give the user the wrong impression of the site from the first moment. Thus, the smooth opening of the page’s content will be ensured, and its visual appeal will increase.
Reduce the number of external scripts.
External scripts are code elements that are activated by reference to other resources. Transitions to third-party sites generate additional requests to numerous servers, slowing down page loading. You can prevent this slowdown in loading by using, to a greater extent, local scripts that are built into the structure of the original site code.
Such optimization limits the design possibilities and functionality of the resource. Still, the benefit of a high download speed more than compensates for these shortcomings.
Use the flush function.
This PHP tool clears the input buffer. The flush function makes it possible not to wait until the visitor’s server downloads all the content from the site page but to display information in parts. In this case, the window opened in front of the user will not remain empty while the data from the server is transmitted to the browser. It will gradually fill up with downloadable content. Such optimization should be recommended for sites with high traffic and complex page design.
You can add an expired entry to the header code to connect the caching function. For caching resources created on the WordPress engine, plugins with free or partially paid functions can be used, such as W3 Total Cache, Cache Enabler, or Zen Cach.
Note that you should use caching only for sites already fully ready for work. If this feature is enabled at the resource development stage, changes made by webmasters may result in incorrect display of pages in the browser.
Use a CDN
To reduce the time of transferring the content of Internet resources to users, the Content Delivery Network was developed, which consists of data centers located in different parts of the world. Depending on the remoteness of the site visitor’s device from the CDN servers, the time spent transmitting data on the content of the site page changes.
The CDN network makes information accessible to people from all over the world.
A content delivery network is especially useful for information portals overloaded with data whose users are far from the servers’ location. Thanks to the Content Delivery Network, the loading time of foreign resources is reduced, which ensures an increase in their ranking in search results. This is because the data is loaded from a server located in the user’s country as close as possible to him.
The following CDNs (Content Delivery Networks) are popular today:
- Google Cloud Content Delivery Network
- Amazon Cloud Front
- Microsoft Azure Content Delivery Network
- Rackspace Content Delivery Network.
Optimize graphics and videos.
You need to choose the right format for videos and graphics because the file parameters directly impact the speed of displaying content to site users.
Recommended formats for different web content:
- SVG – for vector images and simple user interface details;
- PNG – for tables and non-vector pictures;
- JPG – for photos and other images;
- MPEG4 – for animated elements and video files.
For videos and animations, the newly created WEBM format will be available. It supports the minimum amount of video while maintaining the same quality. But WEBM is only sometimes supported by Internet browsers (for example, there is no support on MacOS or Safari platforms).
In this regard, it can be recommended to mainly use video in WEBM format and install MPEG4 as an alternative. If sharing such formats is impossible, we recommend stopping at MPEG4.
The vector format (SVG) makes it possible to scale images without losing quality.
Image optimization steps:
- Image scaling
- Compress the file before uploading it to the site.
The most drastic way to increase the download speed can be associated with a host change. The desire to save on hosting often leads to a significant decrease in the quality of services provided, which can finally prevent the site from speeding up.
If all the activities with filling the site, plugins, and code did not bring positive results, then this is why to think about choosing another server to host the Internet resource. Working with a reliable hosting company that provides professional technical support will give your site new resources to load faster. Your audience will note changes in the work of the resource.
18 Website Speed Checker Tools
- Google PageSpeed Insights . It is the most popular service for analyzing website loading speed. All web professionals trust this tool. But it is only worth using it some of the time since here, the measurement speed is artificially limited to averaged data. When working with this service, using GTmetrix or similar resources in parallel is desirable.
- Operates since May 2012.
- It is possible to check from European servers.
- 2019 version of Think With Google.
- PingdomTools. It is still being determined why this service is among the most popular in the Russian Federation. It is used to evaluate the speed of a site. This is a paid, practical and useful tool.
- The service has been operating since July 2006.
- It is possible to estimate the speed from America and several European countries.
- WebPagetest. Good, multifunctional, but not very convenient service. Technical specialists created it for their colleagues. You can see video reports with a stopwatch on site loading speed. It is possible to evaluate several sites at once.
- Started working in April 2009
- It is possible to evaluate the download from America.
- Appeared in 2015.
- Regarding user-friendliness and design, the resource is outdated; some difficulties arise during operation. It is possible to assess the United States.
- Web Site Optimization. This is the only tool that can be used to find out how long a certain site will load on a connection speed of 14.5k. For example, the vc.ru resource takes about 22 minutes to load at this Internet speed.
- Appeared in April 2003. The resource was last updated in 2008.
- Dotcom-Monitor. It is possible to check the site loading time from 25 countries simultaneously. The site loading speed test is performed twice: with and without a cache. PageSpeed is measured. The design of the service is discreet.
- Appeared at the end of autumn 2014.
- GTmetrix. The creators of this program have created an incredibly convenient and fast service with a modern design. The PageSpeed indicator has not been updated and uses the algorithm of November 2018. It is possible to store the history of checks for free and provides a video report of the download. You can view a detailed report on page loading speed for each request.
- Developed in Canada, launched in February 2010.
- Sitespeed.me. You can evaluate the download speed of a site from 7 countries. This service was created by a Pakistani with a London-based firm. All functionality is sharpened for verification.
- Developed in London, in operation since July 2014.
- Dareboost. A high-quality resource with the ability to create a video download report. Assumes a sequential transition to each stage without the right to go back. You can scan scripts. The design is modern. Developers are awesome!
- Created by French developers. Launched in February 2014.
- Giftofspeed. There are site loading speed checks from 8 countries. The developers have created about sixteen free tools for analyzing various parameters that affect the acceleration of site loading. This is a resource for speeding up turnkey Internet sites. Service experts write many useful materials for SEO to speed up!
- Created in Holland, has been operating since April 2015.
- Uptrends. A good platform for evaluating website loading speed. Provides automated validation. It is possible to save the history of checks, but this is a paid service. You can check the download speed from your smartphone or PC for free.
- Developed in Holland, in operation since December 2014.
- Varvy. The service analyzes SEO, design adaptability, and site loading speed. Patrick Sexton says that he specifically created this tool for free because he wants to improve our world.
- Created by Filipino specialists and launched in August 2015.
- KeyCDN. Download speed can be estimated, including HTTP/2. There are checks from fourteen countries and the sale of hosting services.
- Launched in April 2015, created in Switzerland.
- Site24x7 . Created in India by ZOHO specialists. The service provides a report on the first and last byte and also shows the response time. Allows you to analyze several parameters related to site acceleration.
- Created by Indian developers, it was launched in June 2007.
- SmallSeoTools. A very strange instrument. Estimates site loading speed on internet modems.
- Created in London, it was put into operation in November 2018.
- Yandex. Webmaster. Today it is the most popular tool for evaluating speed. Yandex server response time Webmaster shows in milliseconds. The resource shows the server response code, which must be of the same type: 200 ok. If you have it in a different form (405,302, etc.), then before dealing with speed, you should solve other site problems.
- MobiReady. Another very interesting and, most importantly, free resource in English is mobiReady. The service lets you see your site’s appearance on all devices with different screen resolutions, which is very important when testing the mobile version. You will also receive a detailed report listing all the site’s shortcomings.
- Whichloadsfaster. A good resource that allows you to compare the loading speed of your site and competing sites. You can compare who has and how many times faster the site’s loading speed is.