As you have noticed the heading of this article is also a question and the answer is Yes, Website loading Speed do matter. Faster loading of pages means more visits on your site and better SEO ranking in search engines. So, it’s really important for no matter new or experienced blogger to keep his website page load time as low as possible.
According to stats
- 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less
- A 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions
- If an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1 second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5 million
Even Google has made it official that page loading is one of the search engine ranking parameter. Check out this video from Matt cutts, where he is talking about how important loading time of a webpage is:
How to find your website loading speed
- Google Developers – Google developers is a online page speed test site, which provides some great insights on what you need to do to improve your sites performance and give you score out of 100 according to your page load time if your websites scores 90 or above then you can relax because your website is in good shape. Google page speed also notifies you the reason of slow page loading and how you can improve it.
- Pingdom – Pingdom is another great tool to test for site speed. Pingdom also offers DNS health check and free alert service that notifies you when your website is up or down.
- GTMetrics – GTMetricsprovides great analysis of a website by giving grades on both PageSpeed and YSlow. In addition to measuring speed, this tool also gives you info about the reason your page speed is slow.
How to Improve Website Loading time:
So, once we are done with Website speed analysis, next step is to make necessary changes to improve the loading time. This whole process starts with setting up a caching mechanism and implementing other working technique which has been considered as industry standard too improve website loading speed time. Here are some of the techniques that you can implement right now and notice the difference in site loading time.
If you are using WordPress and W3 total cache, you should refer to this guide and see your page loading stats right on your WordPress dashboard.
1. WordPress plugins to optimize performance and speed
- W3totalcache:W3total cacheis one of the best plugin available out there to improve site performance by caching browser, page, objects, database and more. Installing a cache plugin will improve page load speed and this plugin is definitely s need for better site speed performance. Read: How to Configure W3 total cache plugin. You can also consider enabling Cloudflare service and implement CDN using W3 total cache, which will make your webpage loading time considerably fast.
- WP Smush.it – Every blogger likes to use images in his post to make the post look catchier but images could lead to increase in the page load time. This plugin reduces image file sizes and improve performance by compressing the files. Learn more about this useful plugin here.
- WP Optimize – As your blog grows older and you write more and more posts, you will automatically create more and more post revisions. These post revisions may occupy a lot of space and could affect your websites performance. This plugin allows you to clean up your database and optimize it without a need for technical knowledge.
2. Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A CDN is a high-performance network of servers across the globes that replicate the static assets of your website and serve them to visitors from the closest POP. Well, that’s a highly technical definition in simple words CDN has proxy servers located throughout the world and if Proxy servers are located closer to your visitors they will likely website loading speed improvements as the cached content is delivered from the closest caching box. CDN is one of the most effective ways to supercharge your website speed and you won’t need much of technical skills to setup CDN. If you are new to Content delivery network, check out this video presentation from MaxCDN, which will give you an overview and understanding how CDN works:
3. Put scripts at the bottom
4. CSS Sprites
CSS sprite reduces the number of HTTP requests that the browser has to make for ex. If you combine 4 images into one big image, the number of image requests will get reduced to 3. This will automatically result into increasing your page load speed. If you are not a coding expertI recommend you to check out spriteme.org and try to figure out how CSS sprite works.
5. Utilize browser caching
There is a script available on various sites that might help you to set expire time for various types of file. You have to edit .htaccess on an Apace server in your root folder. Wordpess Seo plugin also provide .htaccess edit features. Paste this code on the top of your .htaccess file.
5.Lazy load images:
We have already covered how Lazy loading will help you in speeding up your Website loading and you can read complete tutorial here: How to lazy load images in WordPress for faster loading
6. Powerful Hosting:
Web hosting is another culprit for your slow website loading speed and you should consider checking your hosting performance via Host-tracker. If you are on WordPress, I recommend Bluehost for shared hosting (They have fantastic server for WordPress), and if you have high budget, you should definitely go for WPEngine, where ShoutMeLoud is hosted.
7. Optimize more and more:
These are some of those tips which has worked out from long, but one of the major reason for slow loading of site is 3rd party scripts. For example: check your site loading speed without Facebook fan box widget and without it, there is noticable difference in site loading time. Similarly, you can remove all ads and see the difference in loading time. The point here is, there are many scripts which we can’t avoid or ignore in our day-to-day blogging, in such cases try to find a work around. If your 3rd party ad network is taking ages to load, it’s time to make a shift to new ad network or ask your ad manager to upgrade the server.
Also, if you are using widgets like Alexa widget, Networked blog widget and any other blogger widget, I would suggest you to avoid it as much as you could. Try to give a better user experience by offering faster website loading speed. Also check out, our earlier guide on creating user friendly website.
Though page load speed matters but still it has its own certain and limited advantages. There are many websites who scores less than 90 in Google page speed test and still considered as top ranked in their niche. Page loading is one of the various search engine ranking factors, and a decent page load time is acceptable, but when we work hard on giving our readers a better user experience, why not work for 1 hour and avoid waiting time for our readers.
What I want to say is, if you have a large number of followers they will likely to wait for your page load but still no matter new or professional blogger it is good practice for every blogger to meet the needs of the visitor so that the visitors can enjoy the quality of content and a blog can enjoy the quantity of visitors.