How to Make Your Website Faster
To rank well in search engines in this day and age, it's not only backlinks, domain authority and the quality of links that counts.
According to Google, website load times is now also a ranking factor as of the so-called "Speed Update" release that started rolling out during 2018.
Zhiheng Wang and Doantam Phan form Google wrote:
The “Speed Update,” as we’re calling it, will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users and will only affect a small percentage of queries. It applies the same standard to all pages, regardless of the technology used to build the page. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a slow page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content.
Google also stated:
starting in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches.
So it's time to up your game, speed matters, for you, your rankings, the search engines and ultimately your users and readers.
A website that loads fast is pleasant to use, thus people hang around for a longer period of time. It also decreases your websites bounce rate which also is a ranking factor.
To convince you even further, Amazon had some interesting to say about the matter.
Greg Linden who used to work at Amazon said:
We had a similar experience at Amazon.com. In A/B tests, we tried delaying the page in increments of 100 milliseconds and found that even very small delays would result in substantial and costly drops in revenue.
That drop has later been said to be 1% of total revenue for Amazon. In short, that means that Amazon lost close to a billion dollar per second of website load time each year.
By now you should realize how important speed is for your website. It's beneficial to all people involved, the users of your site, the search engine and ultimately for yourself.
But how do I know the load time speed of my site?
Well, that's the easy part, head over to GTmetrix.com and perform your search.
[Image of GTmetrixc with this site load time]
In my opinion, if you score under 80% across the board, and your site takes 3 seconds or more to load you have a big problem.
It might seem like a big problem, but it might also be easier to solve than you think.
For you to understand what makes a website run fast I will break down all the important matters into small subjects that you can follow along easier and also implement piece by piece in on your own schedule.
Pick Your Web Hosting Provider Carefully
If your hosting provider does not deliver a good service, all of your website optimization might be in vain.
Picking a trusted web hosting provider that delivers your web application or web site with minimal latency is key. I will divide this section into three, depending on what type of project you are running.
Static Website Hosting (Serverless)
Wordpress Web Hosting
Web Application Web Hosting
Load Your Static Files & Images With a CDN
CDN is short for Content Delivery Network and is a cluster of servers scattered around different data centers across the globe.
With a CDN you can offload all your images, static files and other large files that you host for your website.
There are multiple benefits by doing so, the first one being that your server can focus on things that matter more, like handling page request and performing website related tasks like updating the database and so on.
Another important purpose of a CDN is to provide a closer point for your users to fetch these files.
Let's say that one of your visitors is located in Sweden and need to connect to your server which is located on the east coast of the US.
The signal from the user must first reach the server, then send the data back to the users' computer.
A trip like that takes around 150-200 ms, which is added to the total time it takes for your user to load your page. This latency is what we call ping.
To put things in perspective, it takes light 66ms to go half-way across the globe. So latency is inevitable unless we come up with a way to send data faster than light.
Yet there are performance benefits to be made here. Let me give you an example.
By using a CDN a user from Sweden could access the heavy files from the Netherlands where the ping for such a request would only equate to 50 ms or less.
That means you just shaved off around 100ms of that load time when compared with the user from Sweden who had to fetch the images and static files from your web server located in New York.
Where these servers are located all depends on what CDN you use of course. I have listed 3 of the best CDN's I have used for other projects.
Optimize Your Images
Leverage browser caching
Enable gzip compression
compress and minify CSS & JS
The HTTP/2 protocol is a major revision of the HTTP/1.1 which has been the standard for many years now. HTTP/2 makes your website faster by allowing static files and images to be loaded asyncronosley by sendin multiple requests for data in parallel over a single TCP connection.
You can use HTTP2.pro to test if you website utilize the HTTP/2 Protocol.
load google fonts locally
Gzip website content (nginx)
Tools Mentioned in This Article
Http2.pro is a simple little web-based application that lets you test if your website/web app is utilizing HTTP/2, ALPN, and Server-push. The HTTP/2 protocol is a major revision of the HTTP network protocol used by the W..
Google is by far the most used search engine in the world today. According to the latest netmarketshare report (November 2018) 73% of searches were powered by Google's search engine...