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How to Increase Your Website Speed

 

Nobody likes to wait for a website that takes forever to load. In fact, if your website doesn’t load within 3 seconds, most users will just click back and never return.

In addition, it can hurt your position in the search engine results pages. Google made site loading speed one of their search algorithm signals in April of 2010. This means whenever Google crawls your website for indexing, it will record the loading speed and use that signal in the calculation of where your website should be in the results pages for any given keyword you rank for.

The best way to quickly determine if your website is loading fast enough for Google is to simply use the Speed Insights tool. This is a free tool that not only shows your loading speed, but what factors about your website are directly affecting your loading speed.

 

speed-insights-results

 

You should use this tool and follow whatever recommendations are put forth by the results suggestions.

Another resource from Yahoo! yslow, has a list of items you should address that will ensure your loading speed is in the green.

Some if these items may be very technical in nature and you might be more comfortable having a web developer look into it for you.

At a minimum, make sure you fix, or have a developer fix the critical items as soon as possible. These are the items that show up at the top of the list and are underneath the red highlighted speed score.

One common suggestion is minification. This just means to remove all white spaces from your markup, CSS, and JavaScript files. Removing the spaces will reduce the amount of work your web browser has to do to render the webpage. Which of course will increase the speed at which the page loads.

Luckily, you don’t have to go into each file on your web server and delete the spaces yourself, there’s a tool for this.

To minify your files, go to minifier, then copy and paste your file into the text-area, then it will return a minified version of your file. You can then copy, and paste over the existing content to have a minified version on your server.

This is of course if you are a DIY person or web developer.

If you are developing your own website, make sure you have a development copy and a production (live) copy to work with. It’s not practical to try to work with a minified file.

When you visit a well done, fast loading website, do a view source and you would notice the link tags with style-sheets will likely have a file name ending in .min.css. The ‘min’ signifies a minified file. This will usually be true of the JavaScript files as well, they would be .min.js.

Many websites will even have the entire HTML markup minified so the source looks like a big wrapped paragraph with no spaces.

Another thing that will speed up your loading time is to have all JavaScript files included at the bottom of your page just above the closing </body> tag. This way, your browser can render the page first, then load your libraries.

Sometimes JavaScript libraries can load slow and the entire page will have to wait on this if you place these files at the top of your web page. So again, make sure you place them at the bottom before the closing body tag.

Conclusion

By using the tools and resources listed above, you should be well on your way to getting all green check-marks on Google’s Speed Insights.

I recommend you check your website right now and start fixing anything that comes up. That is if you want to increase your position in the Search Engine Results Pages!

Do you have any questions or anything to add? Please leave a comment!

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