How to improve your website loading speed?
Did you know ? Half of the users of a website abandon their navigation on the latter if the loading time is greater than or equivalent to 3 seconds. 3 seconds seems like little and it is sometimes even difficult to imagine that a single second or several milliseconds can impact the natural referencing of a website, and yet it is true. Focus on the loading time of a website: why is it important? How to control the loading time of your website? And finally, our 11 tips to increase loading speed.
Table of contents
- Why is the loading time of a website one of the essential factors for the good referencing of a website?
- How to control the loading speed of your website?
- What are the main indicators of the loading speed of a web page?
- 11 tips to reduce the loading time of your web pages
Why is the loading time of a website one of the essential factors for the good referencing of a website?
The loading time of a website is essential on many points, but in particular for the user and for crawlers.
The importance of the loading speed of a site for the user
We have all experienced it: this impatience that seizes us while waiting for a web page to load. It's rather unpleasant and doesn't invite exploration. Here are some figures:
- 1 in 2 users leave a site if the loading speed is equal to or greater than 3 seconds,
- 0.1 second of loading could allow a site to obtain 8% more conversions (Google data) ,
- 77% of smartphone users buy more easily if the page loads quickly (Google data),
- Amazon has calculated that a slowdown of just 1 second could cost it 1.6 billion in annual turnover…
These figures are very representative of the importance of loading speed.
A user who sees their page not loading is annoyed and annoyed. He then goes to another site to find what he needs or completes his purchase on a competing site.
The importance of a site's loading speed for robots
The robots that crawl websites in order to classify them in natural referencing also spot their fast loading capacity (spoiler alert: they spot everything). You should know that robots have a crawl budget allocated to each website. The bigger the budget, the more pages the robots crawl. If the pages of the site take time to load, then the robot does not have the time necessary to access all the pages. Thus, it is natural referencing potential that is lost if a page takes time to load, since it slows down the progress of the robot on the site.
In addition to this crawl budget, the robots also rate the experience on the page, i.e. its loading speed. Unsurprisingly, the robots depreciate the natural indexing of so-called slow pages, since they work to promote the user experience above all, regardless of the multitude of information, the video or the 3D view present on the page. In short, nothing can justify too long a loading time in the eyes of Google, you have been warned.
How to control the loading speed of your website?
Once the news has been digested, it's time to take action and see for yourself how fast your website is loading.
Lighthouse is an extension created by Google to measure the loading speed of a web page. There are many tools to measure this data, some of which are very well known, but Lighthouse is first and foremost a product of Google, and it is the most reliable method of obtaining the loading speed experienced by all.
It is important to use a solution whose servers are based in the 4 corners of the world, so that you can experience the same thing as other users. If a French web developer tests his site hosted on a French server when the server of his site's speed evaluation method is located in the United States, he will receive a bad score and will not live the experience of a user who lives 50 km from his home. Clearly, it is important to remain relevant as to the method of evaluating the loading capacities of its website.
Evaluation of mobile loading time
The biggest error of developers is often to only test the loading capacities on machine when it is also (and above all) necessary to test them on mobile. Indeed, the loading speeds between a computer and a mobile phone can vary considerably, depending on the responsive dimension of a site (whether it was designed to be presented on mobile or not). A non-responsive website will take longer to load on mobile and the quality of the display will be significantly reduced.
What are the main indicators of the loading speed of a web page?
The tools used to assess the loading speed of a website take into account what Google calls Core Web Vitals. The Core Web Vitals include 3 representative indicators of the user experience on a web page:
- The LCP (Largest Contentful Paint): the loading speed specific to the page
- The FID (First Input Delay): the time under which the user can interact on the page (click on a button, fill out a form, etc.)
- Layout CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift): the visual stability of the page (the pages clicked on when another element appears, such as an advertisement, for example, have a bad CLS).
11 tips to reduce the loading time of your web pages
When you return from a trip, you are generally happy to have traveled light: it allows you to have clearer ideas, a lighter suitcase that is easier to handle and to avoid many inconveniences. The optimization of the loading time of a web page goes through the same principle: the lighter the page, the more it will be easily navigable and therefore better referenced.
Upload lightweight files
Whether it's video, visuals, or any media, make sure to upload the lightest version of the file possible. To do this, reduce the weight of the images as much as possible while making sure to maintain optimal quality; try to convert your videos into the format that is best suited and do not multiply the media present on a single page, otherwise it will become heavy. The more media a page contains, the longer it takes to load.
Monetizing a website involves displaying advertisements that consist of additional media, which often take a little time to load, thereby slowing down the speed of the site. We've all had the bitter experience of an unintended click on an ad due to the extended page load time. Since monetization in itself is not a problem, it is rather the impromptu appearance of advertisements that harms the Core Web Vitals.
Working on a responsive site
As we explained above, the ability of a website to adapt to a mobile, tablet or computer format has a positive impact on loading speed. A web page that is not designed to adapt will have to make efforts to adapt and therefore spend more time loading than a page intended for. A bit like the layout of a small space: it goes faster to nest furniture and objects next to each other once on site if you have already thought about the layout upstream than if the we haven't thought about it at all.
Reduce the HTML/CSS code
If the user perceives the result of the code present on the page, the robot crawler and the browser only see the lines of code used to build the page. It is important to purify this code as much as possible in order to allow it to be read quickly and therefore to reduce the loading time. Half a page of a book is faster to read and interpret than two full pages. It's the same principle with the code.
Avoid plugins and widgets
Beware of analytical solutions
Google Analytics, Google Search Console, but also many other modules to analyze its data and track the behavior of its users represent a gold mine of information must be properly evaluated before being installed . Whether it is the Google suite or other tools, these are called by the site when opening a page and therefore reduce its loading speed. This is why it is mandatory to keep only the essentials.
Afford quality accommodation
The choice of accommodation is a key factor that should not be overlooked. Shared server or dedicated server, capacities and of course security, must be at the center of your concerns. For example, a shared server, therefore shared, slows down the loading speed of a website compared to a dedicated server.
Using a CDN
Content Delivery Networks, CDN by their small name, make it possible to accelerate the loading speed of a site via a caching process, which temporarily stores the content called up by the website to avoid user to wait. CDNs are scattered all over the world so that everyone can get a satisfying experience without waiting too long. “You could compare a CDN to an ATM. The presence of an ATM on almost every street corner makes it possible to get money quickly and efficiently. There's no waiting in long bank queues, and ATMs are placed in many convenient locations for immediate access.” Source
Limiting the number of redirects
If 301 redirects are very practical, and essential from an SEO point of view, they nevertheless inevitably generate more waiting time since they redirect the user to a new page. Also, it is important to set up alerts so as not to leave in place redirections that are too old, which risk impacting page loading speed and user navigation.
There are many ways to improve to solve a long loading speed problem. Nevertheless, sometimes these techniques are not enough, and the constitution of the site is too old to minimize the codes and plugins used. In this case, a refactoring must be carried out in order to modernize the fundamental elements of the website.