How To | Page Speed Optimization Best Practices You Shouldn’t Miss!

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It’s a known fact that Google uses page speed as a ranking factor. Besides, pages that load quickly have 3x lower bounce rates and higher average time on page.

According to research by Finteza, 92% of websites take more than three seconds to load, and by then, 50% of visitors bounce back. Every second of delay reduces the conversion rate by 21.8% for PCs, 20.5% for mobiles, and 17.8% for tablets.

Following the best practices when optimizing your page speed ensures that you don’t miss anything that can hurt your SEO efforts in the long run.

Here are some of the best practices to optimize your page speed.

1 – Analyze What’s Slowing Your Pages

To improve the page speed, you first need to understand what’s affecting it.

The most common elements that slow down a website are images, scripts, and Ajax. However, the actual reason why your page takes too much time to load might be different. That’s why it is essential to determine what’s affecting your page speed.

2 – Compress CSS, HTML, and JavaScript Files

Compressing CSS, HTML, and JavaScript files can dramatically increase your page speed. One of the best ways to compress files is through Gzip. Running Gzip on text-based content can help achieve compression rates of as high as 70-90%.

The easiest way to enable Gzip compression is through a plugin. Caching plugins like WP Rocket come with built-in Gzip support. Gzip Compression is automatically enabled in WP Rocket. You don’t have to add any additional piece of code.

Additionally, eliminate any unnecessary formatting, whitespace, commas, code, and comments. This ensures that your site is as lean as possible.

If your site has multiple CSS and JavaScript files, it would be best if you combine them into one. Again, plugins like WP Rocket can help minify and combine files.

3 – Enhance Time To First Byte

Time to first byte (TTFB) is the amount of time required to load the first byte of data from the server. The average time to the first byte should be less than 1.3 seconds.

Use tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights or WebPageTest to measure your website’s TTFB. Enter your site’s URL, select a test location (where most of your visitors are based), and start the test. It will display the time to the first byte along with load time.

If your TTFB is more than 1.3 seconds, you can reduce it by:

  • Using a fast web host.
  • Minimizing HTTP Requests.
  • Setting up caching on your site.
  • Using a CDN (content delivery network).
  • Employing a DNS (domain name system) service.
4 – Choose a Hosting Provider As Per Your Needs

It might be overwhelming to use the cheapest possible option for web hosting. While this is enough at the start, you must migrate to a better web hosting provider as soon as you start getting more traffic.

There are three types of hosting:

  • Shared hosting: This is perfect for you if you’re just starting out (recommended for low-traffic sites).
  • VPS (virtual private server) hosting: This is perfect for you if you want to get more control over the server resources without the cost required for dedicated hosting.
  • Dedicated server: This is perfect for you if you want full control over your hosting and tons of space (recommended for high-traffic sites).
5 – Optimize Images

Images make up 50% of website content (as of March 2018). They can drastically reduce your site’s speed. Optimizing each image on your site can help you reduce the size of the file without losing any visual quality.

The first step towards optimizing the images is by choosing the right file format. Here is a general guideline for different file formats.

  • JPEGs: Choose this if the image consists of lots of colors.
  • PNGs: Choose this if you have a graphic image (less than 16 colors).
  • GIFs: Choose this if you want to showcase animations.
Another way to reduce the file size is by using a tool like Squoosh.app or Compressor.io. Upload your image in the software, and it will compress it for you.

Mercato, an on-demand grocery store, has tons of images on their website. Irrespective of that, their website loads within 3 seconds. They have optimized each image on their site to reduce the overall weight of the page while retaining the picture quality.

What’s Next?

Now that you know the best tactics to optimize the page speed, it’s time to start implementing it. I know you’re curious to try these methods too. However, test your page speed at least once every month. This way, you can ensure that your site loads quickly every time.