The Need for Speed? Affirmative. How to Address Your Site Speed.

site speed
Most of us have come upon a site or page that just won’t load or loads super slow. What do you typically do when this happens? Wait patiently for the page to load? Maybe, if we’re interested or otherwise invested in what the content on the page is/could be. However, more often than not, we’ll exit out of the site or try to close out the page. And this action, closing out or leaving the page, affects what’s known as your site’s bounce rate. Bounce rate is the percent of site visits that are single-page sessions; it going up means that either your site’s content isn’t addressing what your users want or your page load times are way too long. Here’s what we can do to fix site speed and help level out or reduce our bounce rate. 

Site Speed. It’s a Definite Need.

People are busy these days. And they don’t want to be left waiting, especially while they’re online. If you’re at all familiar with website design, you know that people rarely read through all the content on a webpage—let alone wait for a page to load. When online, people often skip to headings that interest them or scroll through the page looking for something to pop out. They don’t view the page as they would a novel—and definitely don’t read it like one. 
These hard facts about online consumption hint to us at how important page and site speed are. And these two things are not one and the same, and often get confused for one another. Page speed is how fast your page content loads. Site speed is the page speed for a sample of page views on a site. However, as you can tell, there is an interaction between both page and site speed: Page speed helps to inform how your overall site speed is perceived. 
Before we move on, it’s also worth mentioning that page and site speed aren’t just good for user experience (UX): Site speed is also a ranking signal for Google on SERPs. Many believe that time to first byte is exactly what Google is measuring here. Additionally, slow page speed can affect how many of your pages are crawled by Google, leading to a less indexed site. 

How Can I Increase My Page and Site Speed?

If you’d like better insight into how fast your pages are loading, you can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights. This tool reports on two key speed metrics: First Contentful Paint (FCP) and DOMContentLoaded (DCL). FCP is when a browser renders an element such as text, an image, or background, offering the first indication to a user that the page is loading. A DCL event happens when an HTML document is fully loaded and parsed. 
Let’s say your pages aren’t loading as fast as they should or as fast as you would like. What can you do to help increase your page speed? Follow some of these practices:
Compress images. Images can heavily affect page speed. Make sure they’re optimally compressed for the web and not larger than they need to be. A good rule of thumb to follow is to use the file format PNG for graphics that have less than 16 colors and save JPGs for photographs. Photoshop offers a good way to effectively compress images without compromising image quality. 
Optimize your site files. For HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files over 150 bytes, you’ll want to use an application to compress the files down to size. Reducing these file sizes can drastically improve your page load speed times. Additionally, you’ll want to go through and spruce up things under the hood by eliminating unnecessary or redundant code. This can include unneeded spaces, commas, and other characters or more involved instances of scrapped code, code comments, or needless formatting.
Minimize redirects. Additional page redirects can cause your page to load slower. This is because of the time a new HTTP request-response cycle takes to finish. Getting rid of these redirects can help improve page and site speed. 
Take a look at your JavaScript. Render-blocking JavaScript can have an adverse interaction between your page and browser. Browsers build what’s called a DOM tree by parsing HTML prior to a page being rendered. If a script interrupts this process, the browser has to stop and deal with it before continuing. Avoiding this kind of script altogether or at least minimizing its effects is recommended. 
Address server issues. Server response time is influenced by a number of factors: your traffic, server software, hosting solution, and page resource allotment. Fixing delayed routing, database queries, and memory issues can help with page speed performance. You can also use what’s called a content distribution or delivery network (CDNs) to apportion your content load between multiple, geographically distinct sites through a network of servers. This can help users better access and use your site.

Contact Uptick

Site speed is an all too important part of your SEO and online success. If you’re concerned about it or your site in general, allow Uptick Marketing to bring things up to speed. Our SEO experts have the technical expertise and digital know-how to help your site reach its potential—and better reach your clients and customers in the process. Contact us for a no-hassle chat about your needs today!

About Lance

For nearly a decade, Lance has worked with Uptick in search engine optimization in some capacity, initially building our SEO department from the ground up. His expertise in the world of optimization makes him the ideal person to keep Uptick on the cutting edge of the ever-evolving SEO sphere. A graduate of Samford University, Lance is a member of Samford University’s Entrepreneurship, Management, and Marketing Advisory Board, creating the university’s first digital marketing course. He has spoken at the Birmingham chapter of the American Marketing Association, co-hosted ‘Grow With Google’ small business events, and presented to the Birmingham and Huntsville chapters of the Public Relations Council of Alabama. Currently, he spearheads Uptick’s SEO sales, business development, and overall strategies.

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