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How Website Loading Speed Affects Usability & Solution

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How Website Loading Speed Affects Usability & Solution

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.

Webpage loading effect

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.
Website Loading Speed

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

If you are not script savvy then I would not recommend this tip to you until you have someone who is good with scripts and can help you with that without getting into much of a problem. The reason behind putting the scripts at the bottom is to be able to load all script related files after your content is loaded and your visitor will not see blank page while your javascript is loading. Since, there are not any specific plugin available to deal every problem with scripts you yourself have to play with your scripts. Google page speed and Gtmetrix can give you insights about the scripts causing delay in page load.

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

The idea behind browser caching is to set an expiry date or a maximum age limit in the HTTP headers for static resources. If caching is enabled browsers will automatically load previously downloaded static resources like images, css, javascript, pdf etc. from local disks rather than over the network. Though, W3total cache gives setting for browser caching but still it won’t do the job up to the mark. Both Google page speed insight and Gtmetrix provides info about browser caching and how you can solve it.

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.

ExpiresActive On
ExpiresByType text/html M3600
ExpiresByType text/css M3600
ExpiresByType application/x-javascript M3600
ExpiresByType image/bmp M3600
ExpiresByType image/gif M3600
ExpiresByType image/x-icon M3600
ExpiresByType image/jpeg M3600

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:

site accessibility Just ping

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.

Final words

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.

This is a guest post by Rehan from GetDigitize. If you would like to write for ShoutMeLoud, check our guest posting guidelines.

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Article by Rehan Thakur

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    { 18 comments… add one }

    • William V.

      Thanks for the article Rehan. Working for a CDN provider (CDNetworks), we’ve seen first hand how increasing website speed can make a significant impact on search rankings, usability, and overall conversion. A couple other tips…I’ve heard that using asynchronous codes can help page load performance and even though you’ve included Google Page Speed test, I’d also recommend monitoring Google Webmaster Tools, as it’ll give you some general info and tips on improving load time as well.

      Cheers,

      Reply
    • Jatin

      I read somewhere that if i load images from a subdomain, then website loads faster, can you explain it?

      Reply
    • Nikunj

      Sir my website is showing speed of 50% only how to increase please guide me I need your help

      Reply
    • Hemant

      Under utilize browse caching you gave the code to hold the resources for 3600 seconds. I wanted to ask you for images can’t we make the duration for around a week. Because image is a static resource and we don’t change them. If yes then do we have to write the code like

      ExpiresByType image/bmp M604800
      ExpiresByType image/gif M604800
      ExpiresByType image/x-icon M604800
      ExpiresByType image/jpeg M604800

      or something else? Please do reply

      Reply
    • Corinna

      Wow I learned about a few new programs to assist with my blogging. I’m checking for broken links right now and my website speed is 50% faster than most websites. 50/100 is never a great score, but 87% seemed to be decent. I think I need to study this more.

      Reply
    • Raheel Mushtaq

      Fast hosting and wp super cache can surely increase the speed of your website. and as far as i know speed does matter when it comes to SEO…!

      Reply
    • Ajay

      Recently one of my site was penalized, and my traffic was reduced to 1/4th. After considering everything, i concluded that my site was penalized due to slow loading speed. My site scored 66 in Google Pagespeed test.
      Therfore, i would like to thank you for writing such a detailed article. It is of great use to me.
      thanks.

      Reply
    • Sujth

      A well written article.
      It is a tough job to get good page speed without sacrificing some beauty elements. We can’t do much more on the essential social share scripts like Facebook share, like, subscribe etc.

      Reply
    • Anuj

      What kind of Script should i use at the bottom can you pls explain me in detail

      Reply
      • Rehan Thakur

        it’s not the kind of script you should use at the bottom it’s about the scripts you already have. Use Google page speed or Gtmetrix to know which scripts are causing delay in your page load. Try it only if you really know how to do it or leave those scripts as they are since there are other easy ways to increase page load speed.

        Reply
    • shashi kumar

      In the current time no body wants to wait, every thing they think come fast in front of him. And in SEO it is too much important to set webpage loading time otherwise no one will stay for long period or no one will again. So we need to check the health of our website time to time so can take feedback that we are working in a right way. Thanks for sharing website ” how to check website loading time”. Now anyone can check his website speed and find out the actual problem.

      Thanks for sharing such a useful and infornative stuff

      Reply
    • Sourabh Jain

      hello sir,
      i think website load speed is 60% metter in SEO. sir plz will you publish a article hot to increase the open speed of my website page.

      Reply
      • Rehan Thakur

        Sourabh, this article also covers the most effective ways you can check and increase your page load speed so, there will be no need to write another one. Open speed and page load speed they both are same.

        Reply
    • Shashank Johri

      i am using w3 total cache plugin and image compressor and i think it is enough to load my website quickly but all the points mentioned above are just awesome..After reading this i started thinking of customizing the website load speed again..Thanks for the article..:D

      Reply
    • Sarvesh

      If the Loading time of particular website is high..then visitors would tend to leave it without even having a look..so this can be another reason to improve your website loading speed…

      Reply
    • Avi

      Though I was already aware of these points, your post just pushed me a little more to optimize my blog loading speed. I think W3 total cache and a image compressor does a cool job. :)

      Reply
      • Rehan Thakur

        Certainly, w3 total cache do its job pretty well but defer parsing of javascript and leverage browser caching is something it won’t do for you and they have a really huge impact on page load speed, if you can totally figure out how to do it you might get a jump of 5 or more points from wherever you were in page speed test.

        Reply

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