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Page Speed – Where to even begin

Page Speed – Where To Even Begin

Your website is looking gorgeous, but it takes forever to load! A quick look at why that is and how to go about fixing it.

Let’s get straight to the point. If your website takes longer than 5 seconds maximum to load; It affects your SEO score negatively. You could have the worlds best copy, but, your website will still sit low in the list of searches.

Why is page speed so important?

As mentioned above, 5 seconds is the cut off. Most audiences will, however, click off of a website after 4 seconds of waiting time.

With the global internet becoming faster and more accessible, audiences expect almost instant loading. This sounds frightening but it’s not difficult or expensive to achieve.

Why is my website taking so long to load?

There are a number of factors that cause a website to lag when loading. It could that your image files are too large. Or that you have added video. Or that your website has some code that shouldn’t be there or is not working as it should.

Usually if a website is taking a long time to load I look at doing the following:

First, Use a Page Speed Test to check how fast your website loads

There are several free websites that run page speed tests and will score your website according to how long each part of your website takes to load.

Figuring out how long your website takes to load is an essential part of the design process that should never be neglected. Once you have established how long your website takes to load, you can start to begin identifying the causes of delay and effectively start working to shave off some off some of that loading time.

I personally use a free tool called GT Metrix. There is no log in or sign up required, simply copy and paste your URL and hit enter.

This tool then measures the exact time it takes for your website to load across a few different platforms and will provide you with a score.

Below is an example – I used my own website – No bragging intended *wink wink*.

The interesting part about this free tool is that it tells you in great detail what you need to do to speed things up, and exactly how long each image on your website takes to load. This can be viewed on the report entitled “Waterfall”.

Look at the example of the Waterfall report below, this is a very detailed report of the request-by-request loading behavior of my website.

What that means is that this report shows me exactly;

  • The order in which every part of my website loads,
  • at which points of the page loading each part of the website begins loading and,
  • exactly how long each part of the website takes to load.

This particular report is incredibly helpful in pin pointing exactly what areas of your website are problematic in terms of speed and function. Maybe you’re dealing with a broken plug-in, or maybe you have a line of code that’s misbehaving. This report would show you exactly what is wrong and what is right.

Next, It’s Time To Optimize Your Content

Let’s start with videos. I always recommend rather hosting your videos on YouTube and then feeding them into your website via a feed. Why? Because that is exactly what the YouTube servers are adept at doing. Always try to use the right tools for the right job.

If you’re wanting to only have the video accessible from your website: A simple fix would be to look at your account, accessibility and privacy settings in Youtube. You can always make your YouTube Channel private to stop people accessing your videos on that platform.

This seems like a mission and a half, but a website server typically speaking is not adept to host videos, this will almost always slow down a website.

Next, let’s talk about images.

Images are almost always the cause for a slow website. Try running your images through an image optimizer like RIOT Optimizer, which is a completely free tool to download.

To use this tool simply open it up and drag your chosen image into the box on the left side – resize anything huge.

Typically speaking you never want to go bigger than 1200px in terms of width for a website. You can push that image quality right down to 60% before it even starts to distort. Remember that a few Megabytes seems tiny to you, but you’re looking for Kilobyte sized images here.

For Added Measure Include an Auto Optimizer Plugin to Your Website

There are a good few free Auto Optimizing plugins for WordPress. I like to use Autoptimize and EWWW Image Optimizer both are free and easy to install.

Lastly, if you have any background images, try to use repeatable tiles, or keep the entire website on one static background image. This will help the server to just knock the background image out of the way, instead of eating up valuable time trying to load a few different ones.

Thanks for reading. If you have any further questions please feel free to ask by either dropping a question in the comments below or get in contact and ask me directly by clicking the button below.

Dani Bateman

I am the owner and founder of Fat Unicorn.

I have extensive knowledge and experience in WordPress Website design and thoroughly enjoy making information look beautiful. Chat to me today about your design woes, I may have an ace or two up my sleeve that I've been saving especially for you.

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