Page speed is regarded as a ranking factor. Actually, the time a visitor has to wait until he fully accesses the content of a website matter. On average, a page load for ecommerce website takes 7 seconds meanwhile the ideal load time is around 3 seconds or less.
Load time does affect your user experience as they will just close your window if your page speed is too slow. Your rankings will get penalized and you will face a higher bounce rate.
OnCrawl helps you check your load time performances easily by giving information about how many pages are too slow, their average load time, their weight distribution and their load time by page depth.
Best practices to load time
- Optimize your code: by minimising your code (like deleting code comments, formatting, unused code) you can gain some load time. You can use YUI Compressor
- Reduce redirects: you can increase your page speed by avoiding useless redirects. Each redirects lower your pagespeed as the HTTP request-response cycle take longer.
- Set up your browser caching: when a visitor comes back on a website, the website does not have to reload the entire page as it keeps informations in the cache. You can set up how long your cache is keeping those data with a tool like YSlow.
- Improve server response time: your server performances relies on how much traffic you receive, your hosting solution, resources used, etc. That server response time should be under 200ms.
- Optimize images: use the right file format (PNG for small images like icon and JPEG for high quality images) and compress your images. Also, use CSS sprites to lower HTTP request and save load time.
- Choose a content distribution network: they help distribute the load of delivering content as copies of your site can be stored in multiple places.
How to improve your load time?
In order to improve your load time performances, you should avoid:
- Cheap host: you get what you paid for. In the long run, a cheap offer can damage your page speed. Pick the right host that fit to your business size.
- Too large images: images which are too heavy to load can really lower your page speed. It is often due to extra datas included in the comments or to a lack of compression. Prefer PNG for images that do not require high details like logos and JPEG for photos.
- External embedded media: external media like videos are highly valuable but can largely lower you load time. To gain some load time, host the videos on your own server.
- Unoptimized browsers, plugins and apps: you should test your website on all browsers since they do not all load your site in the same way. Moreover, apps like Flash can seriously lower your page speed.
- Too much ads: more than just bothering your visitors, lots of ads have the drawback to slow down your page speed.
- Themes too complex: some highly designed themes containing a lot of effects can penalized your load page.
- Widgets: some social buttons or comment areas can have an impact on your page speed.
- Double-barreled code: if your HTML/CSS is not efficient or too dense, it will lower your page speed
For any questions about load time, feel free to drop us a line @Oncrawl_CS