Nobody likes slow websites. Thanks to modern technology and broadband internet, people have become intolerant of waiting. That’s why websites loading speed optimization should become a top priority for internet project creators.
WHY IT IS NECESSARY TO CHECK A WEBSITE’S LOADING SPEED
Nowadays search engines have become much more sophisticated. These intelligent algorithms no longer take into account artificial quantitative indicators like link mass or high keyword frequency.
Behavioral factors that reflect the nature of user interaction with a website have the leading role now. These include:
- Bounce rate
- Depth of page views
- Session duration
And a couple more.
Bounce rate and other parameters depend on the first milliseconds of user experience, specifically - the loading speed of the website. If you are just beginning your journey and the site has only been launched recently, then this article will help you understand whether you are moving in the right direction.
In the age of superfast internet available almost everywhere, the loading time of the site becomes one of the determining factors while working with it. Users are now used to speed.
In the process of choosing among multiple providers of goods, services or information, there is a good chance that a visitor will abandon the site that loads slower than competitors’ websites.
Web developers are fighting tooth and nail for loading speed, using various tools to analyze and improve the quality of this parameter. In this article we'll try to cover the basic tools and techniques that can help you do that.
WHAT THE LOADING SPEED DEPENDS ON
First, you should understand how loading occurs. Loading is done by exchanging data between two parties - the browser (on the user side) and the server (it is where all files are stored). Slowdown can take place due to the following factors:
- weak server: it lacks power (think CPU, RAM)
- non-optimized engine (CMS): if the core is written by inexperienced programmers
- server is too far from the client: physically files may be stored in Europe, but the user requests information from Singapore- the system needs time to connect the two points
- website is overloaded with elements: the browser has to load images, text, styles and other elements
- content selection: files weigh more than they should
To eliminate these problems you need website optimization techniques.
THINGS AFFECTED BY THE LOADING SPEED OF THE WEBSITE
The modern user is impatient - if the site does not open instantly, he leaves it. The loading speed also affects SEO factors. More on that below.
Indexation is the process of entering information about the site in the database of a search engine (for example, Google). The robot opens pages one by one, analyzes them and distributes them in the search engine. If the creator of the website wants customers to easily find his product, he needs to get to the top of search engines. And this is impossible without fast indexing.
The speed of updating information is affected by many factors: the correct content of the robots.txt file on the server, errors in the code, and the loading speed of the website. The robot takes into account optimization metrics for both mobile devices and computers. More user-friendly sites are indexed faster than others and, thus, take higher positions in the rankings.
Search engines are evolving to improve the quality of internet service. If a website loads quickly, the user does not have to wait until the content is displayed in the browser (speed is especially important for mobile phones).
Google has officially announced that if a portal is displayed with delays, it will lose ranking positions in the system. There were no official publications from other search engines in this regard, but optimizers agree that speed plays a major role in the ranking in any search engine.
In 2019, Colin Loughran (editor of Unbounce) published a study on page loading speed. According to surveys conducted by his team, following conclusions were drawn:
- about 70% of users admit that loading speed affects the chance of their purchase
- 19% of marketers don't admit that metrics affect conversions
Based on Loughran's research, delays in opening a page negatively affect a user's willingness to take a targeted action (watch a video, study material, buy a product, etc.).
WHAT IS THE NORMAL LOADING SPEED
Website loading speed norms are:
- 1-3 seconds — good
- 4-7 seconds — fine, but needs optimization
- 8-11 seconds — very bad, users abandon the website
If the website stops paying attention to the speed of the page display, then up to 60% of users will be leaving it (if loading lasts longer than three seconds).
SERVICES TO CHECK THE LOADING SPEED
There is a huge variety of services for testing the loading speed of the website. Each of them has its advantages and disadvantages, but the most popular are:
A product from Google, it works for both desktop sites and mobile sites. The overall result is displayed on a scale from 1 to 100, where 100 is the ideal situation in which the loading speed is close to zero, and sometimes its achievement is real.
The result of the analysis is a score and quality category - from A to F, where A is the best result. Additionally, in the list of main parameters the system displays page size, loading speed and how many requests the connection was tested with.
A tool for professional web analysts, developers and optimizers. It provides detailed information on many specific indicators, of which page loading time and number of requests might seem the most unimportant and amateurish.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR INCREASING THE LOADING SPEED
To increase the website loading speed, you need to take a number of measures that relate to both work with content and serious manipulation of the code and structure.
- Optimize the database. Bring the database to a structure where content requests do not overload it.
- Choose fast hosting. An important factor is where your domain is located. On the one hand, it is better to trust the reliable sites with a large number of users, but on the other hand, make sure that these users do not overload the hosting.
- Place secondary elements at the end of the code. If they are placed at the beginning, they are loaded first, and if there are lags, they slow down the display of the main content.
HOW TO SUSTAIN THE RESULT
For consistent quality of service performance, indicators need to be maintained, monitored and adjusted on a regular basis.
All web resources are in constant development. Templates, content, fonts and even program code change, and any change can have an impact on speed.
The owner must implement a monitoring system to immediately determine the dynamics and to identify the causes of the drop in traffic.
In order to publish the "right content" all the time, you need to introduce optimization procedures into the control systems. This is especially true for pictures.
MONITORING THE REAL SPEED WITH USERS
Continuous testing under ideal server conditions is useful for tracking the effect of code changes, but it's not enough. Any website owner wants the page to work not only for him, but also for a user and for these purposes, there are special services that allow you to record all user interaction with a server, they’re called RUM or Real User Monitoring. Monitoring actual user interaction with a website or an application is important to web developers to determine if users are being served quickly and without errors and, if not, which part of a website is failing. The data may also be used to determine if changes that are propagated to sites have the intended effect or cause errors.
Accelerating the loading of websites is a fairly new area of optimization. The procedure is important in competition. The owner of the site should always remember about the users and their comfort. Then the project will grow and make money.