You might not think it is necessary to have your website load fast. You might think that as long as you have pertinent content available to your targeted user and it’s SEO optimized, your site will pop up on the first few ranking pages of search engines.
This is not true anymore. Google has enhanced its web crawling spiders to not only harvest information about a particular website’s content, but also about loading speed of the pages on that site. This means that even if you have the most relevant product or information matching a user’s query, if your site doesn’t load fast enough, it might not be ranked highly on the search results pages (SERPs) by Google. Site speed might stop you from getting the visibility you deserve or need to grow your business and remain profitable.
One of the key elements to keep in mind that will make your site load faster is to reduce the number of HTTP requests required to render the page. As much as 80% of the time it takes to load your page is due to the amount of HTTP requests needed to load it the first time the user stumbles on it. This includes requests to load images, Flash, java scripts, style sheets, etc. If your initial landing page takes too long to load, many users will just click the back button instantly, meaning you will lose a potentially valuable client. Google’s spiders have realized this impatience on the part of users; that’s why they may no longer rank some websites high in the search results, despite the fact that it might contain relevant data. Here’s what you can do:
1. You can compress images a few ways to make them less cumbersome to load. Combine your inline images into your style sheets to effectively reduce the size of your pages and thus reduce the number of HTTP requests. You can also combine multiple images into one image map; the number of HTTP requests will be fewer, but the page size will remain the same. Use CSS Sprites to combine your background images into a single image.
2. Reduce your proximity to the web server. The only way to do this is to send your content across different, servers geographically. This reduces response time by reducing your content’s distance from the potential user. You won’t have to reconfigure your whole site, just use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) that will disperse your content for you. Oftentimes, the server that is selected for delivering your content to a user is based on its virtual proximity, (such as how many jumps the content will have to make to get to it). Disperse your static content widely so that is close to many servers, which will reduce the response time needed to get it to an actual pair of eyes.
3. Use third party services such as “CloudFlare” to take advantage of the most recent proxy technologies. CloudFlare offers an amazing CDN Service that will cache your website content to increase the speed at which your website loads in addition to filtering out bad traffic to ensure that spammers and hackers are blocked from accessing your site. CloudFlare powered websites see a significant improvement in performance and a decrease in spam and other attacks. People view your site through an accelerated path that uses the shared security knowledge of thousands of other sites to automatically detect and block malicious traffic.
The result: Your pages load faster and are more secure than ever before, at zero cost.