Website speed optimization has never been so disputed as at the moment. Although the speed of the Internet is constantly increasing, the subject is becoming more and more pressing. We are in a pursuit of perfect scores and not real performance. Google is the main culprit, although it claims that speed is essential and offers many criteria, it is dual in nature and does not take into account half of them.
This optimization means that certain criteria are met so that a user can download a page of a website as quickly as possible. The criteria are both technical and non-technical. Non-technical criteria result in a much smaller page size and involve content optimization. The technical criteria relate to the way the website is built and how the content is delivered to the user.
Therefore, website speed optimization involves building the website and content so that it is as compact as size to be delivered as quickly as possible. The term speed, referring to the length of time from accessing pages to fully uploading content.
Now that we have established what website speed optimization is, let’s see why it helps. It appeared at the same time with websites, when the Internet speed was measured in kilobytes not megabytes or recently, gigabytes. That is, when an image as small as a website extended the waiting time by at least 5 seconds. So, at that time, for the end user any optimization would be essential.
In Romania, speed and speed optimization are less relevant. Our Internet can download entire websites in just seconds. In the rest of the world, things are not as happy. In countries such as Germany, France or the Netherlands and continents such as America and Australia, Internet speeds above 1mb / s represent only a dream, a future aspiration. So website speed optimization matters when the target audience is internationally located.
Even if we left the age of modems, instead of simplifying, the scale is tightening. Why? Because of Google and partly mobile phones. In 2010 with the emergence of the HTML5 standard and the massive popularization of smartphones, Google decided that speed is an important factor in search page impressions. In short, if the speed is not right, you don’t show up in Google. Back then, mobile phones did not have the processing power that computers had. So optimizing the speed of a website should also target slow low-end mobile phones.
Today, with the advent of 4G and 5G technologies, almost any phone model can load a website very quickly. That doesn’t change Google’s decision. The requirements imposed do not take into account almost the actual loading speed, but the fulfillment of the technical criteria. The criteria which is now relevant only for SEO optimization.
We have established what it is and why it matters, let’s see and how it is done. We will divide the guide into 3 sections: Content Optimization, Technical Optimization and Testing.
Optimizing the speed of the website at the content level does not require technical knowledge. If you are a blogger or you only update your content on the website you have to consider only 2 rules.
Website speed optimization at technical level implies an advanced level of involvement in the development of the website. Whether writing the source code, assembling the platform or coordinating with the developer. Even if you do not have a technical profile, read the list of criteria to understand the process. This ensures that you will not be fooled by the developer (as is often the case, pay close attention to the speed test section!) Or better understand the explanations offered by it.
Deliver images in WEBP format. The new web image format, supported by Google, offers the ability to optimize images well beyond the JPEG standard. The main advantage being the possibility to include more images per page without sacrificing the website speed optimization. It is a technical optimization as automatic loading conversion systems can be created.
There are many services for testing the speed of the website optimization, some good, some … less good. Even Google offers a testing platform but we do not recommend relying on it (see Myths for details). A basic rule is that any two services used will show different results. The scores are not equivalent. We recommend GTmetrix as the main source of information. The test is easy, free and displays a list of corrections in order of importance. The advantage is that GTmetrix aberates the least. Another valid alternative is Pingdom. To test a page, simply enter the URL into the desired service and start analyzing the results.
It is very important to consider the server on which the test is being performed. If the website is hosted in Romania, do not be afraid if the loading time in Canada is more than 10 seconds. The distance is high, and the Internet speed in Canada very low. Choose the region closest to the host server.
There are many myths behind the optimization of the speed of the websites that we frequently hear from our customers. We will approach the most important ones and establish the truth value of each one.
Although it is a long article, which needs to be digested slowly, we have only touched on the essence of the subject so as not to go into too technical details. Because there are many development methods, optimizing the speed of the website differs and evolves from case to case. The information provided is generally valid. Special cases, such as WordPress platform or other CMS we will address in dedicated articles because each one has its own particularities.
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