Now that Google is using page speed as a factor in search engine rankings, implementing page speed best practices is more important than ever. This is particularly true given the emergence of mobile as the dominant form of web access.
Mobile users are almost always on the go and need information as quickly as possible. While most primers still quote three seconds as the maximum amount of a time most users will wait for a site to load, the reality is that window gets narrower all the time.
Page Speed Defined
A lot of people tend to confuse site speed and page speed. While site speed is in fact a function of page speed; the latter operates independently of the former.
Page speed is usually thought of in terms of the amount of time it takes to fully display the content of a given page. Another way to measure it is the time it takes for the first byte of data to get from a server to your browser.
However, if you’re running an ecommerce store, shoppers won’t care about that first byte as much as they do the entire page. On the other hand, Google measures time to first byte, so both are important if you want your site to rank well and your shoppers to be happy.
With that in mind, these efforts have been proven to increase page speed.
Employ Code Compression/Optimization
Each of these factors amplifies the advantages of using a supplier like Shopify’s free ecommerce websites. The best providers have already done much of this work. All you have to do is be careful to load optimized content. Speaking of which, image files should also be compressed before they’re added to pages.
Streamline Server Response
Slow database queries, slow routing, and insufficient memory are all performance killers. The amount of traffic your server gets, as well as the software it employs and the amount of resources each page uses can retard page speed as well. If your hosting service is suffering from issues such as these and seems unable to resolve them, it’s time for a switch. A content distribution network (CDN) can help alleviate issues such as traffic-related delays.
As we mentioned above, image optimization is a key aspect of page speed performance. Images should only be as large as absolutely necessary and posted as either PNG files (best for graphics with 16 colors or less) or JPEG files (best for photography). All image compression should take place before loading the files to your content management system.
If you’re coding your site, the use of CSS sprites will speed the loading of your images by combining them all into one, thus minimizing the HTTP requests required to transmit them to a user.
These page speed best practices will keep your site solidly in the running as far as delivery goes. Remember though, you must also adhere to best practices for your content if a favorable search engine ranking is your primary goal here.