Its widely known that having a faster website is good for SEO.
Not only that but it provides your users a better experience on your website, which is good for overall online business.
If you are reading this article, it’s likely that you are experiencing a slow loading website. Lucky for you, we have compiled a list of the best ways to increase your website speed for SEO.
But first, let’s look at why you should increase your page speed and how to check your website loading speed.
Why Increase Website Loading Speed?
When your website is slow, you lose visitors, sales, leads, and potential business because most people will leave after 4 seconds if your page hasn’t loaded.
Not only that but Google can see that people are leaving your website and this can hurt your search rankings. When you provide a poor user experience to visitors, Google is less likely to rank your site because they want to give their searchers a good experience.
For these reasons, it’s very important that your website loads as fast as possible. When your website is fast, you will increase your conversion rate, decrease your bounce rate, and grow your search rankings.
Website Speed Testing Tools
There are a number of tools to check your website loading speed, times, and resources.
Here are some of the most popular and widely used website speed testing tools:
These 3 tools to test your website speed will give you a general idea of how fast your website pages are loading.
They are very simple to use tools. You simply add your website URL or page URL into the tool and click run.
The tool will crawl your website and give you an overall performance grade and load time in seconds. Try and keep your load times under 4 seconds for maximum user experience.
You will also see a section below that shows you more detailed information about why you got the speed you did and ways to improve performance.
Each section will have a grade and a description of how to fix each issue and why you got that specific grade.
It’s important to note that you can have F’s or even a low overall grade and still have a fast loading time. As long as your website loads under 4 seconds and provides good user experience, then you will increase your rankings.
How to Increase Page Speed
Now that you have a baseline of your website speed, its time to go in and make the necessary optimizations to increase your website load times. If you are on a CMS like WordPress or Shopify, there are apps and plugins that you can get to implement most of these strategies but if your website is custom coded, you may have to make coding changes or hire a developer.
Get Good Website Hosting
The #1 reason that most websites are slow is due to bad hosting.
Cheap hosts like Godaddy or Bluehost have very low-cost plans but you will get slow loading websites that don’t rank well or provide a good user experience.
These website hosts will put you on a shared server with thousands of other websites fighting for resources and causing extremely slow loading websites.
It is really worth it to upgrade your hosting plan to a $20+ per month package at a good host that will provide you with lightning fast website speeds. This will result in better rankings, lower bounce rates, higher conversion rates, and more.
Whether you are on WordPress or a custom website solution, there are thousands of great hosts out there.
Here are some of the best hosts you should be using for a faster website:
Once your website is on a fast host, you will instantly notice the difference in speeds and loading times.
Remove Unneeded Plugins & Add ons
If you are on a CMS (content management system) like WordPress or Shopify, you can remove un-needed plugins to help speed up your site.
Go through your plugin or add on the list and remove plugins that you don’t NEED. Only keep the plugins that your website requires to run.
It’s also a good idea to hire a developer to build custom plugins that are optimized and don’t have any bottlenecks that can slow down your website loading speed.
Set Up Caching
Caching your website pages can really increase your website speed for SEO.
Caching is a high-speed data storage layer that saves a static version of your pages to serve to users for faster speeds.
When you cache a page, it saves a temporary version of that page to more easily and faster retrieves the page for future users visiting that page.
For webmasters on WordPress or Shopify, you can install a caching plugin to easily turn on and set up caching on your CMS.
Here are some of the best caching plugins for WordPress:
Any of these plugins will allow you to easily turn on page caching, browser caching, database caching, and more.
Minify Your HTML, JS & CSS
Modification of your code and files can help increase how fast your website loads for users.
When you minify your HTM, JS, and CSS, it will remove any whitespace and sometimes, combine files to make them faster to serve up to the client.
If you are on a custom-built site, you will need to use a library to minify your files. Here are some of the best resources to minify your files for custom sites:
- To minify HTML, try HTMLMinifier
- To minify CSS, try CSSNano and csso.
For webmasters who are on WordPress, you can install a modification plugin to minify your files in a few clicks. Here are the best plugins to minify your code:
Be sure to reload your website after minification to make sure everything is rendering correctly. Sometimes minifig files can cause HTML, JS or CSS errors so do some regression testing on your website.
Once you have implemented all of the page speed optimizations above, its time to get a final benchmark on your page load times. Use one of the page speed testing tools above to see how fast your website loads after the optimizations.
You may need to tweak some caching settings, server settings, and minification settings to get optimal performance. Just keep tweaking and testing the site speed untill you reach a fast load time.