If there is one thing that drives people crazy when surfing the web, it’s a site that takes forever to load. According to top SEO experts, if a page takes more than two seconds to load, most users will instantly hit their back button and move on to another site. As SEO becomes more important in today’s online world, user experience is a crucial factor in keeping a person on your website. However, whereas years ago it was not uncommon to wait 10 seconds for a site to load, the popularity of mobile search has now changed people’s expectations when it comes to waiting times. In most cases, someone using a smartphone or tablet expects a site to load instantly and that said, Google has made loading times a factor in rankings. If you’re wanting to improve your site speed, here are five SEO-friendly tips sure to do the trick.
Content Delivery Network
A group of servers that can handle heavy traffic while speeding up content delivery to multiple users, a content delivery network is highly recommended. This is especially important for WordPress sites that need to improve their speed. Tools such as Cloudflare speed up a site’s performance while also making it very efficient for any device.
Always Compress Your Images
As anyone who has visited a website can attest, one factor that almost always results in slow load times is waiting for images to load. While SEO experts know a content delivery network will not completely solve this problem, they do know of a variety of plugins that not only compress all images on a website, but even compress new images as they are loaded. The plugin known as ShortPixel is a popular choice for many users, since it compresses images in batches, making it more convenient. By using ShortPixel, your images are guaranteed to retain image quality, regardless of their size.
Don’t Let Ad Scripts and Pop-Ups Slow Down the Experience
Whether it’s third-party script running ads for revenue or using pop-ups to promote conversion, the key is to find a balance between site speed and building your audience. While considered a necessity for many websites, it’s important to use a variety of real-time monitoring tools that can track and identify certain scripts that often lead to delays in site loading. In fact expert SEO agencies have this balance down to a science as this affects site metrics and shows insights allowing one to make the necessary changes and adjustments. For best results, use tools such as Pingdom’s Website Speed Test, which will break down each file and script, showing you which ones take the longest to load.
Installing the Caching Plugin
Installing a caching plugin is perhaps the most effective way to reduce site-loading time. By creating a static version of your site and delivering it to site users and visitors, loading time is usually cut in half. For best results, use cache plugins such as WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache, both of which have produced excellent results. Easy to install as well as disable anytime if needed, they allow for selection of certain pages to cache, and also provide other content compression settings that can be easily turned on or off. However, before making a final selection, be sure you’ve tested the plugins to make sure they work well on your site.
Disable Any Plugins You’re Not Using
If you’ve got plugins on your site that aren’t being used, chances are they are dramatically slowing your site speed. Many people make the mistake of installing plugins, using them for a period of time, and then moving on to another without disabling the previous plugin. By doing this, you not only guarantee your site speed will be very slow, but the security of the site itself may be compromised. In general, just remember that if your site is slow it won’t attract traffic, even if it looks fantastic to potential users. HOWEVER before you disable a plugin make sure it will not cause internal errors to the site’s functions, as sites that have had previous custom work done may have been coded to perform certain tasks reliant on that plugin.
For those of you who have a website that’s running a bit too slow, it’s imperative to work with experts from award-winning SEO agencies that have experience in improving site speed. Whether it’s disabling plugins that have been collecting dust far too long or making sure your site’s images can be compressed effectively to accommodate today’s high-tech mobile devices, taking these steps can work wonders in changing the perception your site has with users. If your site speed is slow, you need to have realistic SEO expectations and prepare for high bounce rates and low conversions. Rather than being the site that’s always slow to load, follow these tips and your website will instead provide speedy consumer gratification on tap with roadrunner-like energy.