Webpage load speed is becoming more important for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) purposes. Google (and other Search Engines?) use the time it takes for a Website page to load as part of its ranking algorithm; faster is better! Fortunately there are some great free tools and methods that help to make your Website faster. Here is a list of five means of improving Page load speed:
Measure Page Load Speed
If you don’t know what needs improving then how do you know what activities to perform? The first (and last) step in any performance improvement should be measurement; by measuring before making any changes then you’ll be able to identify what needs to be changed and by measuring after making changes you’ll know whether the changes are yielding positive results. Two of the best Tools for measuring Page load speed are the YSlow Firefox extension by Yahoo and the Page Speed extension by Google. Both of these tools measure varying factors and provide recommendations for improving Page load speed. These Tools are excellent however common sense is needed in addition to using the Tools as they both fail to recommend important Page speed enhancements such as reducing image sizes.
Reduce Image Size for better SEO
All too often Webmasters spend countless hours optimizing their Website performance but fail to address large image filesizes. Images are often the single biggest bottleneck to fast loading Pages. The problem with images too is that they are misunderstood much of the time e.g. add a few large images to a slideshow on your Page and the load speed will become very slow for many visitors. An essential Tool available for reducing image filesizes is Smush.it which will decrease your image filesize even once you think you have the image at the smallest filesize possible.
Enable Web Caching
‘A Web cache sits between one or more Web servers (also known as origin servers) and a client or many clients, and watches requests come by, saving copies of the responses — like HTML pages, images and files (collectively known as representations) — for itself. Then, if there is another request for the same URL, it can use the response that it has, instead of asking the origin server for it again’.Caching your Web Pages can result in large improvements in Page load speed. The best means of using caching is to use Apache or IIS to enable the caching.
There are other means of improving the performance of your Website such as compressing your content and perhaps I’ll get onto these in future Posts 😉