How to Speed Up Your Website (and Why It’s Important)
Have you ever clicked on a website with an intriguing title tag that piqued your interest, only to be forced to wait longer than you wanted for the page to load? Slow website load times are, to say the least, inconvenient for your visitors. More importantly, search engines are aware of this.
Search engines have a service to provide to the people who frequent their homepage to try to find something of interest on the internet. When somebody chooses Google over Bing or vice versa, they do so because they trust that the search engine will give them high-quality web pages that match their interest and search terms.
Search engines want to keep this trust, so one way they weed out websites that may turn their searchers away is by checking the speed of a website. If your website is slow, not only will you frustrate visitors but you will also hurt your SEO efforts.
With this in mind, you should be anxious to shave milliseconds off your site’s load time. Here are a few ways to achieve that.
Table of Contents
Never Auto-Play a Video
Videos are a great way to add value to your website, give personality to your brand, and look good in front of search engines. However, when your video automatically starts to play when a person lands on your website, you take the risk of annoying them and make the time to load the page longer. Instead, create a clear call to action to make visitors want to click that play button. This will be less obnoxious and make your web page load faster.
Minimize the Number of Redirects You Have
Many companies, large and small, purchase a variety of domains and redirect all of these domains to one main page. This is a smart strategy in terms of making your web content available on a variety of domain names so you are more likely to be seen. However, having too many redirects can significantly slow down your page load time due to all of the processing that the computer must do to get to one page. Minimize these as much as possible.
Fix 404 Errors
404 errors occur when a web page is incorrectly linked. Broken links such as these are wasteful and take up bandwidth trying to find pages that do not exist. This can also have a dramatic impact on your page load time. Instead, do frequent searches on your website so that you can find these 404 errors and fix them before they hurt your SEO efforts. There are several free tools that make this easy and fast to do.
Specify the Dimensions of your Images
Images take extra time to load. This is particularly true when there are no dimensions specified for the images themselves. When you do not specify the dimension, the browser reflows after the images have been downloaded making it so that the browser has to figure out how to fit the images, which makes it seem like the page is loading slowly. Instead, use height and width tags within the <img> tag to keep your images within a dimension.