A long page load time can hurt ranking and conversions! This how to guide covers ways to decrease your page load time. First off, although it’s not official, Google most likely takes into account how fast your page loads. Simply put, slow loading websites are going to be hurt when it comes to the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). Secondly, even if you are currently ranking high in Google, many users are going to be less likely to convert or stay on a page that is taking forever to load. Therefore it is important to analyze your websites loading time and work to decrease it. Over at Pingdom, they have a very nice page load time analyzer that breaks down what objects are being loaded on your web page. I often find myself using this tool when trying to increase the speed at which my blogs or websites load.
The best way to do this how to guide is with a list. So heres a list of four important tips to help minimize the load time on your pages:
Page Load Time Tips
- Use fewer images – By using less images or photos on each page, there will be significantly less data for the user to download. Images are usually, by far the biggest files that will be downloaded during any given page load. Sometimes it is possible to achieve the same style or effect using CSS styling, in place of images.
- Shorten CSS style sheets – If your website is making use of CSS style sheets, the user’s browser must download the ENTIRE style sheet before the browser can properly display a web page. Furthermore, if you have images in your CSS style sheets then the browser will not be able to make a request for those images until the CSS file has been downloaded. Basically, this means if you have a super large CSS file, then the rest of the web page is going to be waiting on it before it can continue loading the other content. Using a CSS shrinker tool, such as CSS Compressor, can provide an easy and quick way to shorten your CSS style sheets.
- Gzip your web pages – Just like you ZIP files on your computer, you can setup your web server (Apache usually) to compress or deflate your web pages. This can often result in a 70% decrease in file size. This is a little more advanced compared to the other page load tips, but if you know how to use Apache’s mod_gzip or mod_deflate, this can help a lot. Otherwise, it is probably worth it to contact your websites administrator and see if they can do this for you.
Now that I have given you some of the factors and tips I find important when dealing with page load times, you should go over to Yahoo or your favorite search engine, as they often have additional tips and guidelines for trying to decrease your web page load time. Good luck and if you have any extra tips that you think should be listed in this how to article, please comment below. Thanks!