What is page load speed?
Page load speed is time is takes for contents of a page to load completely.
Which is, the time is takes for anyone to enter your URL in browser(or clicks a link), press enter till the home page loads completely.
Factors effecting page load speed
As a website is hosted on a server, when your server receives request to display the web page, it sends everything related to that page to the requester.
This brings in lots of factors into the play, like server specs, network quality, page design and in the end data to be transferred.
There are few factors which are beyond your control, but then they effect everyone, so it doesn’t matter much.
The factors, which are in your control are:
- Website Design : Be minimalistic ( not stingy ) about using extra effects, plugins, animation on your website. Every line of code that you add to your page, adds up to this loading time of your web page.
- Images: Use of properly formatted, compressed images can shave of ‘seconds’ off the page loading time. So, go easy on those high resolution multiple images!
- Cache validator : A cache validator tells the browser ( of visitor of the website) which part of web page to be loaded each time and what can be skipped from reloading as the information is still same.
- Hosting: This one goes without saying that a good hosting solution is paramount for good page load speed(among other important factors).
- CDN: Unless your website is geographically hosted closer to majority of viewers, a cloud distribution network helps a lot in good website browsing experience.
The good news is that, with little bit of research and planning, most of these factors can be handled with ease.
There are plenty of good well, well explained, articles online detailing into steps you can take to increase page load speed and how to do it. Here are few of them:
The main point is, you can’t optimize everything, as it will take focus away from what the website is all about. There are few main things that you need to take care of.
These are the important factor that effects your website, regardless of platform you choose for your website:
- Hosting: Hosting as solution is dependent on service provider. No need to go for most expensive package. Simple shared hosting for static sites and managed hosting for wordpress is more then enough. For hosting you can use, siteground, inmotion, bluehost (only shared hosting). When you choose managed hosting (where the cost is not nearly equal to shared hosting) on these sites, then server side optimization is taken care of.
- Theme: If you are coding your own theme, then just be careful about one thing: Don’t go overboard with fancy look of the site. Every library you call for that, will only add into the files to be loaded before the page is loaded. Thus adding to page load speed. Or You can buy a well optimized premium theme. It saves a trouble as these theme are well supported by their developers. You can look into themeforest, genesis
For CDN, cloudflare works well with plenty of website quite well. Apart from that more expensive option are MaxCDN( most expensive), akamai etc.
Is it enough?
Quite frankly, No.
The points mentioned above are what you will get inbuilt in most of hosting solution, but still you will lots of difference in the way most of website are experienced by users.
Take for example, medium.com itself. This is one of the biggest publication on internet currently with more than 50 million users per month.
Now if you check Medium.com on Google page load insights, then the results will make you wonder:
Still the user experience is awesome and numbers are the proof.
The reason is that team behind medium.com works day and night to make the experience awesome.
It is as simple as that.
So what does that mean for you?
It means, go through your website like a visitor who is new and has little interest in technology behind the site. Go through the flow of the content, buttons, placements, color scheme etc.
Then remove (if you had already added) anything that doesn’t serve the basic purpose of the viewer.
Remember, it is their experience that matters. After all this topic of page load speed came from loading speed on visitors device only.
From my experience, a lot of page loading speed depends on how website is designed: theme, plugins and effects etc. You sort that out and this factor is taken care of
Another factor that effects page loading speed is proper responsiveness of any website.
Anyone who is accessing your website from mobile device is more interested in information that the content is providing and not in the any of the fancy effects.
A well designed responsive website takes care of these issues but having media breakpoints a correct pixels as well as not loading certain elements on mobile devices at all.
How responsive website effects page load speed?
Despite the improved connection speed, a mobile has limited processing power as compared to a laptop or desktop. Which means if content provided is optimized for mobile, it will be processed faster. A responsive website is just that, a content which is optimized according to viewer.
Thus, reducing the data and processing of that, which is required for loading of page and information on a mobile device.
Moreover, as you can see from google page insights (and elsewhere) that google give higher priority of mobile optimized websites. Thus it helps in your page ranking too.
Aah, the conclusion.
Page load speed is an important factor but this is not the only factor.
And there is so much you can do about it.
Following statement may sound counter to everything I mentioned above but still it holds true:
Don’t fret yourself into trying to reach 100/100 rating on pageload insights.
Anything above 80 is good enough. After that, you should focus on user experience and how you present the content.
So, if you are designing your website yourself, buy a good theme, modify it as per your website and get going.
Over time, you can always improvise depending on the feedback you receive!
I always read feedback and comments. It will be kind of you to share your thoughts in comment section below or via email.
Also published on Medium.