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Website page speed – how does it work?


Have you ever considered the importance of your website page speed? According to recent consumer data, 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less, whilst 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Google now also takes site speed into consideration when ranking them in search engines, so, we’d say it’s pretty important to get right!

There are some factors that can often be outside of our control that the consumer may not be aware of at the time. These include using 3G data to access web pages on mobile or using insufficient website browsers. 

There are also many factors that are within our control that can help to improve website speed so we’ve put together a list of things you can check or have your website agency check for you:

1. Minimise your HTTP requests

Yahoo records that 80% of website load time comes from downloading parts of the web page like images, stylesheets and scripts, creating a request for each one, so the more components, the more requests. 

2. Optimise your images

Large image files will slow down your website landing page speed, frustrating the end user. You should consider reducing the size of your website imagery, but not at the cost of quality. There is no need for website images to be larger than 1MB.

3. Clean up your media library

If your website has been running for a long time, your media library can easily get clogged up with old images, branding or unused images, deleting unnecessary files will clear space and speed up your page load times. 

4. Clean up your database

Very similar to your media library, your website database can overflow with unused information with time, optimising your database by identifying unwanted data will help your website hosting server to fetch information more efficiently.

5. Avoid URL redirects

Regardless of the need for URL redirects (usually to protect SEO value of the forwarding page), the process slows the speed of your page as it transfers from one file to another – it’s seconds of course, but it all adds up! Try to avoid or minimise the number of redirects as much as possible. 

6. Minify CSS and JavaScript

Minification will strip out unnecessary characters, spaces, comments and functions in your code using shorter names and streamlining the data so that you have a more efficient load time on the page. 

7. Streamlining your HTML

You may find that your HTML code contains 5-6k lines of code prior to adding any content, this means your HTML is bloated which can impact JavaScript performance. Streamlining it will accelerate your site speed. 

8. Expires Headers

Ideal for returning visitors to your website. Expires Headers instructs the browser to request a file from the server or existing cache as well as how long to store a file in the cache which reduces the number of downloads and HTTP requests meaning returning visits to the page by the same computer bypasses those requests. 

9. Distance from the server

Your hosting server should be as close as possible to your target audience. The longer distance that your data needs to travel will take longer to reach its destination. At activ we use a CDN (content delivery network) to copy our website to servers around the world so it’s delivered as close as possible to the user. 

10. Use a good server

We have recently invested in improved servers which have increased the speed of our client websites. By moving to a better server we have cut our TTFB (time to first byte which is server response time) in half.

There are many ways to review your website page speed and a good website or digital marketing agency will support you in improving site speed with some of these approaches. 

For details on our own website services and how to get your business online with your digital shop window, click here.

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