Importance of a quick downloading website lies in enhanced user experience and satisfaction associated with fast downloading of web pages. In addition to relevant search results and informative content, a visitor also expects fast downloading speed of web pages. Site downloading speed is also a crucial factor in page-views, bounce rate and conversions. Having a quick downloading site is advantageous in SEO as Google takes downloading speed into account when ranking sites. But putting all focus on downloading speed isn’t advisable as like other ranking factors, it can’t work alone in improving ranking.
Website Speed Guide
Below is the checklist of basic factors important for a faster website
- Website Hosting: Make sure you go with a reliable web hosting company and pay special attention to shared hosting service.
- Content Delivery Network (CDN) :Using a CDN can help improve your website speed and deliver fast downloading pages in multiple locations across the globe.
- Browser Caching: Browsers provide cache services that serve requests for same pages faster. Since the requested pages are already saved in browsers, the pages can be displayed faster.
- HTTP Keep-Alive: Keep-Alive feature stables connection between browser and server every time a request is made.
- Gzip Compression: Gzip Compression can compress the files in the site reducing their size considerably.
- Code: CSS/HTML Code should be clear of errors and well organized.
- Ads: Never allow the ads overpower the website content as they can slowly reduce a downloading speed of the site. Also the ads could overwhelm the visitors and distract them.
- Image Optimizations: Try reducing size of the images without compromising on image quality.
- Plugins: Plugins are responsible for slow downloading speed of web pages and some plugins can even do worst with a site.
- Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP): AMP not only improves user experience but also they are indexed faster by Google. What is more important is that they get a privileged position in SERP.
Some tools can help determine website speed and its performance. Also these tools can highlight the important factors to be taken care of. They can provide real help in improving downloading speed of sites in the long run.
Website Speed Test Tools
Some of the most important website speed tools
- PageSpeed Insights by Google: See speed score of your website and also get data on performance of the site. You will also get tips from the tool. And it works for both the mobile and desktop platforms.
- YSlow: Know why your website is slow and whether it is performing according to Yahoo guidelines
- Website Speed Test by Pingdom: This tool will give you details about downloading speed of your website and also alert you if anything goes wrong with the site.
- WebPage Test: Test your website performance by analyzing the first view and the repeat view. Also you can select the geographic location like a country where you want to run the test.
- GTMetrix: It is very complex tool as it analyzes PageSpeed, YSlow, waterfall breakdown, video and history of the site to provide a detailed analysis about site speed. It also grade the site according to the speed testing result.
Speed factor doesn’t impact all the sites in a same manner. It has different effects for different sites. For instance take ecommerce sites that are online stores. Here speed matters most. Slow opening online stores could be frustrating as buyers trying to select products and making financial transactions will have to wait for long time. Here it is necessary to mention that Google has fixed downloading speed for ecommerce sites at 2 seconds but for others it is 0-5 seconds. It clearly shows that speed factor isn’t an important factor for all sites. But its importance in increased user experience can’t be ruled out. Or it can be said that a good user experience is rewarding for the sites.
Faster download is a plus point for websites as it increases user experience and also keeps the visitors engaged. For some sites, speed is a factor for high ranking but for others it is factor for communicating with visitors. But there could be no difference in accepting the fact that it affects user experience.