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How to get the best page speed score for your website

How to get the best page speed score for your website
24th May 2017 Adam Jackson

We’ve had our ears close to the ground over recent months and the stampede of page speed warriors are on the march. It’s not surprising, considering that the speed of your site is a crucial component in the overall user experience and its SEO ranking. Therefore, it’s important to have a high page speed score.

Why make page load speed faster?

Page load speed and page speed scores have become the obsession of the internet hungry human species. We are now a breed with little patience and expect things instantaneously, especially online, and even more so on mobile. If we are made to wait longer than 3 seconds for a webpage to load, we will abort. This is where potential customers are lost and why business owners are stampeding towards greater page load speeds.

How to make pages load faster and page scores higher

A web designer’s weapon of choice to test your page speed score is the Google PageSpeed Insights Tool. We use it as a guideline for best web performance practices, and we like it. It provides recommendations (some require technical expertise but not all), however, we’re going to look at some other tricks too. 

Optimising Images

The instruction will be to reduce the file size of your images. Easy enough. Use free compressing tools like jpegmini who put ‘your photos on a diet’, slimming them down but keeping the quality. 

Another tip would be to reduce the images to the minimal dimensions which you require. For instance, if the placeholder for an image is 200x200px, there’s no need for it to be any larger than what you need it to render at. Oh, do not use CSS or HTML tags as a way of reducing images sizes either; it’s no good.

Enable Gzip Compression

Gzip is a method of compressing files (making them smaller) for faster network transfers. It allows your web server to provide smaller file sizes which load faster for your website users. Enabling it is standard practice. If, for some reason, it’s not enabled, visit your server’s settings and make sure it is.

Minify CSS & JavaScript

In short, there are a lot of things in your files which aren’t always necessary. Programmers use a language with many white spaces, characters and comments, whilst coding, and these are the things that can often double the overall size of your CSS and JavaScript files, slowing your page speed down.

To minify them for say a Magento eCommerce store, you will probably need the technical expertise of a Magento specialist, however, the tools we use are cssminifier and javascriptminifier.

For a WordPress website the W3 Total Cache plugin is the recommended weapon of choice.

Mobile Speed Optimisation

Nowadays, if you’re mobile is not responsive it can hinder your page speed. Loading additional content or images, which you don’t need to display on the mobile version of your site, will slow it down dramatically. Naturally, the sort of connection you have to 3G, 4G or WiFi can play a part, but don’t make it work harder than it has to.

Leverage Browser Caching

If you’re still not happy with the overall page speed score of your site, you can opt to move a load of your files from your server to a CDN (Content Delivery Network). A CDN is a network of servers located at multiple locations around the globe. They cache all static web stuff like images, CSS and JavaScript files. Then it stores a copy of all that content, so when someone lands on your site, it is loaded from the server closest to them.

Page Caching

Page caching is a way of a browser remembering what it’s seen before. Therefore, it has no real need to reload it every time you visit it (making the load time quicker). However, if you are constantly changing your website with offers or other information, you can instruct page caching to load these relevant areas such as the header every time etc. whilst remembering the other elements from before (again reducing load time).

Speed Summarised

As you can see, there are a collection of things you can do to tame the need for page speed. We’d recommend implementing all methods to obtain the best page speed score for your website, and we’d be happy to assist with anything too technical for you.

At the end of the day, it rings true that if your website isn’t ‘up to speed’ it can be detrimental to your business.