Why it's important that your website is fast

9 May 2019 / Published in:  from Ivan Messina
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The performances of your website affects conversions and its positioning on Google. At SupportHost we do our best to provide you with a high-performance service for your website, but the speed of loading does not depend solely on the server. The site must meet certain standards to load quickly.

How to test the speed of a website

There are various online tools that allow us to test the performance of a website, first and foremost GTmetrix and pingdom. Without going into details of what is actually being measuredand how, Gtmetrix usually reports longer loading times than pingdom, a more real result, as if a real user was visiting the website. Gtmetrix also provides us with more precise indications regarding the optimizations we can perform on our website.

If you want to perform a test on your website you need to set the location of the test server. The default setting on Gtmetrix is Vancouver, Canada. You therefore need to register a free account in order to use the test server in London, so you can have a more accurate test. In any case you have to choose the location of the test server so that it is as close as possible to your server.

Speed and bounce rate

We've all heard that the pages on our website should load in less than 2 seconds. In 2016 John Mueller from Google said that 2-3 seconds is the limit your visitors are willing to wait for to load the pages of your website.

A pingdom search found that the average loading time of a web page is 3.21 seconds. It was also measured that the bounce rate increases with increasing loading times:

Why It's Important That Your Website Is Fast Supporthost

Load Speed and SEO

Your website's performance affects its search engine ranking. Google has repeatedly stated that a fast website gets better ranking. Google is very attentive to the user experience, which is why it has decided to "penalize" slow websites, but without giving an advantage to faster sites. That's for now, but we don't know if there will be any changes in the future.

A long loading time affects crawling, meaning that the Google bot will take longer to scan the pages of your website. If your site is fast Google will be able to crawl more pages at the same time.

A fast site has more conversions, a lower bounce rate and a better experience for the user as a whole. All factors that Google takes into account in one way or another.

A glance at what determines the speed of a website

This is not intended to be a guide to optimizing a website, but an overview that indicates where to focus attention if you want to optimize your website for optimal speed.

HTTPS Connection

The HTTPS protocol, in addition to being increasingly necessary, supports HTTP/2, which guarantees greater performance by allowing simultaneous download of resources. With SupportHost you have the free SSL certificate active by default, so you just have to configure your CMS / site to use correctly the secure connection HTTPS.

Load time

The most important parameter to take into account is the loading time, which as already mentioned should be below 2 seconds. If you have longer loading times check the GTmetrix waterfall to see which resources are slowing down the loading of your website.

Page size

Page size depends mainly on images, JavaScript and CSS. Often in purchased themes the size of JavaScript and CSS are considerable and difficult to reduce without risking to compromise the theme or lose hours and hours of work. It would be ideal to be able to stay under 1MB, but not always possible unfortunately.

Number of requests

What is a Request? For example, an image is a request, a CSS file is a request, and so on. In many cases WordPress themes and plugins (but also the core) load files onto all pages, when they are only needed on one page, for example CF7 loads its CSS and scripts throughout the site whereas you only need them in the contact form. Or the WordPress core loads emojii and embed scripts into all pages even if you don't use them. You need to delete all unnecessary requests. Ideally you should have a maximum of 50 requests, unfortunately not always possible.

PageSpeed and YSlow Score

Gtmetrix also provides two different scores for our website. From a performance point of view, checking the PageSpeed and YSlow scores doesn't make much sense, in the sense that it's better to focus on loading time and reduce that. It's also true that rarely will a site with low scores have good loading times. So it's not a good idea to focus on getting high scores, better focus on trying to reduce load time.

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