Optimising your website’s technical performance is an ongoing practice that’s essential in helping your site rank, and perform well for both users and crawlers.
Many people see the word technical optimisation and panic as it’s such a vague term, but fear not! We will go over a few elements here today to help you expand your knowledge and understanding of just what ‘technical optimisation’ means. We also have a team of experts here at Espresso Web, on hand with our SEO services that can work on this for you.
Google started recognizing site speed as a ranking factor way back in 2010, since then the emphasis of speed improvements sky-rocket! The concept has also evolved to include mobile usability and friendliness.
To start with, Google released the Google Page Speed Insights, that analyses the load speed and overall speed of your website, scoring it out of 100. The tool gives you possible optimisation tips and current optimisation that it has found, giving you a full view of where your site currently stands in the speed rankings.
Google then introduced Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to boost the speed of sites on mobile devices. AMP is designed to strip as much from a page as possible to ensure the page loads almost instantly for the user. This is growing quickly in popularity and ranking factors as more and more of the worlds audiences shift to mobile for the majority of their time spent on the web.
Recently, Google launched Think with Google Mobile Speed Test, to give you a full breakdown of your sites performance on mobile devices, comparing your site to average load speeds, classifications, how mobile friendly/responsive your site is and more.
Google are continuously proving that site speed and mobile friendliness are both thriving ranking factors with their continued tools and tests being released. So, this is definitely something you should be taking seriously when optimisation or building your website.
There is speculation over what is classed as a good load time, some say 2 seconds, some say 3 seconds. But the main element is that a slow site can switch a lot of users off, impacting your traffic, rankings, bounce-rate and ultimately conversion rate and return on investment. In fact, a recent user vs speed study found that 79% of web shoppers who have trouble with the site’s performance are less likely to buy anything else from that site.
So, what are the quickest ways to improve your sites speed and performance?
Images are usually the largest components on a site that slow a page down and ultimately the site thanks to the data held within the image file, the size of the image in terms of MB and resolution.
There are various tools around that will help you reduce the file size of your images, without compromising on quality or design of the image on a page. Using tools like: Kraken and Smushit , can reduce the page size down by up to 30-40%.
Use Browser Caching:
Optimising browser caching means that users are not downloading the same things every time they load a page. Enabling and optimising browser caching lets you temporarily store some data on a visitors’ computer so they don’t have to re-load every item of every page that they visit.
If your website is on WordPress, enabling browser caching is as simple as installing caching plugin like; w3 total cache, or wp super cache. If your site is not on WordPress it can get a little trickier, but involves editing your .htaccess file, GT Metrix Guide on Leveraging Browser Caching is a good guide to use when editing this.
Enabling compression is almost like putting your site in a zip file. This can massively cut down page size and improve load speed of your site as a whole. According to some sources enabling compression can reduce the size of your html and CSS files by between 50 & 70% that the user doesn’t have to download when they visit your site!
Content Delivery Network:
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a network of servers around the world that host your site. Meaning that users around the world will be able to view your site much quicker from severs that are closer to them. This improves speed as the server is physically closer to the user.