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Slow Speed Is Killing Your Search Rankings

    Slow sites get severely penalised in Google’s search results. It’s that simple and that terrible: Slow Equals Low!

    Compounding the problem is the fact that if your website is still loading after five seconds, up to 20% of visitors will leave you for every extra second it takes to load. (Source: Google Research).

    So if you need better search results:

    • One of the first actions you should take is to make sure that you test your speed
    • Read and implement this advice. The team at Boylen has created a list of the eight key actions you should prioritise in order to improve how fast your site loads for visitors.

    One: Optimise Images For Faster Loading, Without Compromising Quality

    Use PNG image file format since its best compressed for the web with just 16 fewer colours than its JPEG counterpart, which is generally has a larger file size.

    You can also use CSS sprites to create a template for images that are frequently used on your website such as icons and buttons. It basically combines these images to load at once instead of fragmented batches. This means that your are saving load time by not having the server to load every single image.

    Two: Utilise Content Distribution Networks

    CDNs or content distribution networks are mainly used to store copies of your site that are located at multiple, geographically diverse data centres so that once a user loads your site from a specific location, the nearest data center will be responsible for “serving” your website to achieve for faster load times.

    Three: Improve Server Response Time

    Server response time is highly correlated with the amount of traffic you receive, the specifications of the server your site is hosted on, types of resources and content on each page, and the hosting solution you use. To improve server response time, look for network errors and performance issues on the server logs, such as slow database queries, memory shortage or slow routing bottlenecks. Then fix them! In general, optimal server response time is below 200ms.

    Four: Browser Caching Helps

    Every time a user visits your website, the server loads up all the images, content and files. By enabling browser caching, browser doesn’t have to reload the entire page each time a visitor comes back to your website. The result is that site load time is much faster. You can leverage a tool like YSlow to see if you already have an expiration date set for your cache. For static sites that are not frequently updated, 12 months is a good expiry date.

    Five: Remove Render-Blocking Javascript

    Technically, a browser has to build a DOM tree by parsing HTML before rendering a page. If the visitor’s browser encounters a script during the parsing process, it needs to stop and execute the script before it can proceed. If this is beyond your ability to fix, your web developer should be able to fix this in their sleep.

    Check out the Google Developer documentation on render-blocking javascript here

    Six: Redirects Affect Your Site Speed

    It’s good practice to redirect old, outdated or retired pages to new versions using 301 redirects. However, if it is not necessary either for Google and your site visitors, avoid redirects because users face additional waiting time for the HTTP-request cycle to finish. Unnecessary redirects make your page slower.

    Seven: Minify HTML, CSS and JavaScript

    Google recommends UglifyJS and CSSNano to optimise your website code. It can help you gain precious speed by automatically removing unnecessary spaces, commas and other characters and unused code.

    Eight: Enable Compression

    A popular software application for file compression is Gzip. It reduces the total size of your site’s HTML, CSS and JavaScript files that are larger than 150 bytes.

    For images, however, use a program like Photoshop where you can control the quality of images.

    Now What?

    Do you want more traffic? Better conversions?Contact Ustoday and we can start the conversation. We enjoy improving websites and think you will too.

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