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Four Tips to Improve Your Site’s Speed
December 18, 2019
STOCKHOLM

By optimizing your website speed, you can positively impact your conversion rate and increase your profitability. That we humans want results delivered to us within a fraction of a second is nothing new, especially when we are eager to buy something.

If a visitor experiences that your site takes too long to deliver its content, there is a high probability that the visitor immediately loses interest and abandons the site to move on to the next site. However, if the site’s load time improves instead, you will likely get a lower bounce rate and, hence, more chances at conversion.

From a user perspective, the site’s load time is thus a critical factor, which means that you have ample opportunities to improve conversion and profitability by increasing the site’s speed. In addition to having a positive effect on your conversion rate, there are benefits from a search engine optimization perspective. When your site is loading fast, it means that Google’s spiders have time to retrieve larger parts of your site’s content during their visits. This, in turn, means that Google will have a more up-to-date version of your content.

Furthermore, we have seen that Google has recently started to test marking pages with so-called “red labels” in the mobile search result. This label indicates that the site is slow to load and therefore warns visitors from clicking on it. If Google chooses to introduce “red labels” labels permanently, the incentive for optimizing your website speed grows further, because who wants to click on a site that has been labeled as ‘slow’?

So there are several reasons why you want to improve your site’s load time. Here we give four practical tips on how to get a faster site:

  1. Place JavaScript code at the bottom of the page
    By moving JavaScript further down in the source code, the visible elements are allowed to load earlier. The visitor’s visual experience of the loading time will be positively affected, while the total loading time remains the same. Pages are usually loaded from top to bottom. To save time, make sure that the page loads asynchronously using HTML 5 async attributes. The advantage of the async attribute is that the browser will load scripts simultaneously, independently of other processes and loads. The total loading time can be shortened significantly using the async attribute.
  2. Enable gzip compression on the server
    Compression means that the files’ size is reduced, which means that they can be loaded faster. A site’s load time is directly correlated with the site’s actual size. A reduction in the size of the site measured in kilobytes is therefore desirable. The solution is ‘gzip’ compression. By optimizing your site with gzip compression, the total size of the site will be reduced. You will find the correct setting in your server settings.
  3. Minimize CSS and JavaScript
    By minimizing your CSS and JavaScript files, you will reduce their size and make them faster to load. For example, some files on a site contain many blank characters and line breaks, making it much easier for the programmers to read, but which are entirely unnecessarily for the browser, making the website files larger than they need to be. Several tools can help you minimize your CSS and JavaScript files, including CSS Compressor and Minify.
  4. Review the size of the images
    The next step in your optimization of the site’s load time is to review the images on your site. Too often, the images on a site are too large, and therefore the images become a contributing factor that pages are taking too much time to download. The easiest way to solve this problem is to “save image for web” in Photoshop, which reduces the images without the user seeing any difference. An alternative is to use Smush.it, an online service from Yahoo, to remove unnecessary metadata from your images.

Several of the tips are relatively technical, and if you are not a fan of coding, you probably need to involve your web developers to optimize your loading time. However, not all points need to be addressed immediately but try to identify and prioritize the speed thieves who have an enormous effect and are not too difficult to implement.

Want more tips for optimizing your website speed? Google provides a valuable tool that analyzes your site’s load time. The tool also generates concrete improvement suggestions that you can advantageously implement to make your site faster. Good luck!