Why is Website Loading Speed so Important?

Why is Website Loading Speed so Important? A fair question we all have lightning fast internet now, so why is it so important?

This is not as straight forward as you may think and can be broken up into a few reasons. It is more important than ever to do regular speed tests on your website and look to make improvements where possible.

Google now use your website loading speed as one of their many ranking factors. If you care about being found in search engines then you should also care about your website loading times. They even have a tool called Page Speed Insights to test your site and offer advice on improvements.

Mobile Use Has Increased

First and the easiest reason to explain is mobile use for websites has massively increased. Obviously if the user is on mobile internet they have a hard time downloading complex code heavy and image heavy websites. Secondary to this even when they are on good internet mobile devises are generally slower at decompressing files, processing the code and then rendering it on your screen.

Website Functionality

Websites have become a lot more complex over the years. In order for the functionality we expect in modern websites the amount of code required has drastically increased. We use more complex CCS (Cascading Style Sheets) and we use more JavaScript than before. Increasing the number of files along with larger file sizes.

The increased number of files for each page means more requests are being made to the server which leads to an increased time before your device can even start downloading.

Most sites are now powered by a CMS like WordPress or and Ecommerce platform. These are very code heavy out of the box to enable designers and site owners the functionality and flexibility expected from modern day websites.

Lots of server side scripting has to be processed and database queries made to then serve the files to a client device. This part of the process makes your internet speed irrelevant. It is reliant upon how good the server is and how efficient the server side coding of your site is.

Website Image Usage and Quality

We also now use more images and better quality images than ever before. Which increases the number of files needed to be downloaded for each page and increases the size of these files. All these will affect website loading speed.

So What Can be Done to Improve Website Loading Speed?

This is quite a vast subject but I will cover some of the most common things being overlooked on websites being made. Most websites we do SEO work on have overlooked these areas and is something we generally tackle with a high priority.

Next Generation Images

Using the likes of WebP images is a great way to reduce file size for your images without loosing quality. Unfortunately not all browsers support WebP images though most do now, so you would need to ensure a fallback option is available for browsers which don’t support WebP.

Minify CSS and Javascript

Minifying your CSS and Javascript is another way to reduce file sizes. However, I would advise always keeping a non minified version safe for editing purposes.

Combining CSS and Javascript Files

Websites these days often have lots of different CSS files which have been used to do different functions on a website. These can often be combined into a lower number of files reducing the amount of file requests to a server. The same goes for Javascript files often they are split into many files when they could be combined into a fewer amount.

File Cache

Ensuring a good file cache policy is in place can reduce the requests to a server and reduce the amount required to download.

How it works. Let’s say you have visited website page A and downloaded all the files for that page. Then go to site page B, these pages will more than likely use the same CSS and Javascript files, even some images.

When your cache policy is set up correctly you won’t need to download these files again. It will use the local copy cached on the client machine. This cache can even work if you visit the site then 10 days later revisit depending on how long the cache is set for.

Files which are edited on regular basis will require a shorter cache length. This is to ensure the client always gets the correct copy and site bugs don’t arise. Images and videos are often not changed though so can have a long cache date set.

File Compression

Server technology file compression can help reduce file sizes further. Often something not being used to its potential.

Published by John

I have been working in the digital marketing industry since 2006 in that time have made many websites, optimized many sites for better search engine results. I have created and managed AdWords accounts of in excess of a million pounds a year.