Page load speed is a big factor when it comes to determining how your site will appear in the search engine results pages with a specific keyword search in Google and the major search engines.
There are many factors that contribute to the load speed of your website, but we’ll focus on those points that you as your own webmaster have the most direct and immediate control over.
- Pick an organically fast loading Theme or Template
Whether you built your website on WordPress (my choice and longtime favorite), Shopify, Joomla or Drupal, be sure to test the template’s load speed before you purchase or build your site on it. Most competent Theme/Template authors boast about their product’s load speeds, so this information is readily available. I won’t get into a geek discussion of what makes a product load slow as it will put you to sleep fast. Just be sure to take this all important factor into consideration before you commit to any one product. My favorite, highly customizable and well-maintained Theme for WordPress is the BE Theme. I simply love it and since it comes with a ton of pre-built demo sites, customizing it is a breeze and can get your website up and running with minimal headache.
- Optimize your images
Far too many people upload images that are bloated. The images have not been properly sized or the images are of a resolution that are fit for poster-sized printing. Remember, even though we now see 4K and 5K monitors available out there, there web is still a 72DPI entity. Don’t upload an 8 1/2″ x 11 1/2″ image to your server and then ask your website to display is as a smaller graphic! This requires TIME and time is the killer of load speed. Instead, crop the image to the actual size that it will be displayed as and then re-upload that image to your page or post. You’ll be blown away at the improvement of your page loading time and get better search engine placement as your reward. For WordPress, there are many plugins that will handle this for you, my favorite being EWWW Image Optimizer. It’s 100% free and does all the work for you.
- Install Page Cacheing
Every time a visitor hits your website, your server has to deliver the files to their computer and build the site before their eyes. This appears to be quick to the human visitor, but milliseconds count and MOST websites are considered to be downright snails! A good page cacheing plugin will run through your entire site, build all the pages and then know exactly how to deliver those pages in a HIGHLY optimized format to save precious time. My website page load speed used to hover around 7 seconds which is an eternity for the Google algorithm. After installing page cacheing to the site, that time dropped to less than 3 seconds! This may not sound like a significant improvement, but trust me…it is HUGE and our SEO rankings quickly climbed once we respected this all important aspect of our site design.
We also offer a free speed optimization service here at Sticky Brain. If you’d like for us to run your site through its paces and offer you a free report on how to make your site screaming fast, just send us a note here.