Did you know that most people will exit out of your site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load?
Search engines also factor load time into your rankings, and your website might be just slow enough to lose visibility in the SERPs. So how can you optimize site speed and monitor it, too?
Improve Site Speed (Step-by-Step)
Go through these steps to help improve your web site page speeds:
- Remove white space in HTML, JS and CSS files
- When possible, place scripts at the end of your document to allow other content to load first.
- Remove your scripts and CSS to external files rather than keeping them on page.
- Optimize them with technology like Smush.it. Avoid resizing images with HTML. Instead, resize them in your photo editor before uploading them.
- Don’t use images to display text.
- Combine multiple images into CSS sprites to reduce load time. SpriteMe.org is one service to get you started.
- Use a caching system, so that your website doesn’t have to constantly refresh on-page elements. Note: I used W3 Total Cache to help my personal site and this change alone doubled my page speed.
- Use responsive design or a mobile version of your website to decrease load time for mobile users.
Checking Site Speed
Of course, you’ll want to check your load time before and after making changes to your website. A few free tools allow you to do this.
There’s Monitive, which allows you to sign up for minutely monitoring of your website. YSlow is Yahoo’s own solution, which comes from the Developer Network. Firefox is compatible with addons such as app.telemetry Page Speed Monitor. Google’s Page Speed Insights, which you’ll read more about in a bit, has a Chrome extension.
Google’s Speed Tools
Google has its very own tools for Web developers, and PageSpeed Tools checks your site for speed issues. Log on and plug your URL into the form. The engine produces a report of elements that may be reducing the speed of your website. Remedy anything with a red flag immediately, while Google recommends fixing yellow-flagged issues if it won’t take a lot of time.
The search engine’s page speed tool offers specific advice for things such as reducing CSS and image file sizes.
If those things are above your level of expertise, you may be able to opt into the beta program of Page Speed Insights to allow the program to fix some of those issues on your website for you.