- 1 Page Load Time Is the Key
- 2 Two Categories of Page Load Time
- 3 What Data Suggests
- 4 Add A CDN
- 5 Optimise Image Size
- 6 Embed Your Videos
- 7 What Should Be My Page Load Time Then?
So, you’ve launched your first website, or you’ve probably revamped your old website and published it again. With all the indexing and SEO integrations completed, you probably are expecting tons of traffic flocking right to your amazing home page and see what special you’ve to offer?
But things don’t go as planned. Even if you do get decent traffic visits, you observe that the bounce rate is just too high, something not ideal if you really want to get some real customers streaming down that funnel.
More often than not, your website is just taking a wee bit more time than ideal, and with the attention spans people have in current times, they have already closed your website and moved on to the next link. What’s the point in spending all your time and effort in making the perfect website if people are not even getting to see what it has to offer?
Page Load Time Is the Key
- What is page load time?
It is the time it takes for the visitor to see any content once they land on a web page.
- So, what should be my ideal page load time?
According to Google Developers and Google Search Central, the ideal time for a web page to load is less than half a second, i.e., the page load time shouldn’t exceed 0.5 seconds. If you have an ecommerce store, then this threshold increases to 2 seconds, give or take 0.5 seconds.
- Factors influencing page load time
It’s not all black and white. There are 2 practical factors that come into play when it comes to web page speed or page load time:
- Consider the webpage as a jigsaw puzzle, it loads piece-by-piece. It doesn’t load ‘fluidly’ on your screen.
- Moreover, the web page speed also depends on which device the user has employed, the browser they are opening it in, its version, and of course their internet speed.
- But is there a way I can monitor or analyse my page load time?
There are several ways in which you can do so. Some reliable and easy ones are:
- You can use metric trackers like Google Analytics
- You can also use the Chrome extension: Page Load Time
- You can use Page Speed Insights by Google
- You can use GT Metrix
- A new tool in the market by Experte which tests all pages
Is that all there is to it when it comes to web page speed? No, not really. If you want to delve deeper, page load time is further categorised into 2 types.
Two Categories of Page Load Time
- First Contentful Paint (FCP)
As the name hints, First Contentful Paint (FCP) is nothing but the time it takes for the visitor to see the very first piece of content on the web page once they land there.
You must have come across this type a lot when you see some of the elements loading a little sooner than others when you visit a web page.
- DOM Content Loaded (DCL)
Simply put, DOMContent Loaded (DCL) is the time it takes for a website to load completely, which means each and every pixel, data, and bit from top to bottom of the web page. It’s basically FCP followed by everything else.
What Data Suggests
One recent study highlighted these findings:
- Approx 75% websites take more than 5 seconds to load
- Approx 50% websites take 3 seconds or more to load
- Approx 75% websites take more than 1.9 seconds to load
- Approx 95% websites take 0.9 seconds or more to load
Add A CDN
Another simple way to decrease your page load time is to add a CDN to your website. Let’s explore what it is in the first place, how it works, and how you can add it to your website.
1. What Is a CDN?
CDN stands for Content Delivery Network. It is a distributed network and also a storage service that hosts your website’s content instead of your servers doing so, hence reducing your servers’ traffic load and increasing the time it takes for your website to load.
That said, it also functions as a proxy between you and your visitors by providing services such as automatic HTTPS, firewalls, load balancing, and redundancy in the event that your origin servers are offline.
2. Is a CDN Really Worth It?
As mentioned before, CDNs unburden your servers by shifting traffic from them. Not only this, they’re also speed-optimised and performance efficient, something that Google highly appreciates for better SEO rankings. Moreover, CDNs have widely distributed centres across the world, making your website easily and quickly accessible to users anywhere. This goes a long way in reducing potential downtime users face because of a server going down.
3. CDNs’ Functioning Explained
A CDN is made up of many data centres located throughout the world–known as points of presence or PoPs. Each PoP has the ability to host and serve content to users. Users are routed to certain PoPs via CDNs depending on a variety of parameters, such as availability of the PoP, speed of the connection, and distance.
Being the proxy between your origin server and your users, a CDN has your website content cached, such as multimedia, images, HTML pages, style sheets, et al. It furnishes these to the visitors of your website. But how is this data transferred? It’s done either through pushing or pulling.
- Pushing: Pushing involves you sending content to CDN in advance before any visitor requests for it. This option is good if you want to be in control of what your visitors can and cannot see on your website. But this is not that user-friendly because if a visitor tries to access something that you haven’t pushed, then they might face difficulties.
- Pulling: Pulling is a much more automated approach in which the CDN obtains content that it hasn’t already cached. When a user requests some content that hasn’t previously been cached, the CDN retrieves the most current version from the origin server. The cached content expires after a specific period of time, and hence the next time some data or content is requested, the CDN refreshes it from the origin server.
4. Which CDN Is Right for Me?
You can select the best CDN for you upon considering these factors:
- Availability: You’ve to take into account your availability and which CDNs would be able to support it. Another essential thing to take care of is PoP time instead of total uptime, particularly in the locations you plan to service. Verify that your CDN provides backup alternatives that include routing around PoPs that have gone down, if possible.
- Cost: A CDN’s cost would depend on the bandwidth that you use. Some CDNs also charge based on the number of cache hits (files that the cache serves), cache misses (file retrievals from the origin server), and refreshes.
- Locations served: Assess the geographic locations for most of your users or visitors. You can then select a CDN depending on the PoPs it has in or near to those locations. This will even make your CDN more effective and of course efficient in performance and speed.
5. How to Add a CDN to My Website?
How you add a CDN to your website would highly depend on where your website is hosted and how it is hosted. Here are some ways to add a CDN to your website:
- Your web hosting provider: Some web hosting providers include CDN as a built-in service, such as HostGator, 1&1, and inMotion Hosting.
- Self-hosting: This option provides the best flexibility when it comes to incorporating a CDN to your website. However, this route demands more configurations and setup.
- Content Management System or CMS: Some well-known examples of content management systems are WordPress and Squarespace. They have their plugins available that you can use to enable their CDN support. Jetpack provides automatic CDN support for WordPress. There are quite a few other WordPress plugins that let you select which CDN to be used for your visitors, such as W3TC, WP Fastest Cache, and WP Super Cache.
All of this might seem a lot but when you actually implement this, adding a CDN is really not that hard, we promise. You can explore the internet to delve deeper to know the detailed steps you need to implement to add a CDN to your website.
Optimise Image Size
Yet another way to load your web pages faster is optimising images, which means decreasing their file size. This can also be done using dedicated plugins or scripts, which helps reduce the page load time of your website. There are two methods generally used for compression: lossy and lossless. You need to choose the right file format, medium compression rate, and the right tools to achieve this.
Embed Your Videos
Rather than uploading a heavy loading MP4 video file direct to your website, it is a much better option to embed the video. Most common mediums to use is YouTube, Vimeo and Facebook. Most website CMS platforms such as Elementor and Divi have elements to even a novice to embed their videos easily. Don’t forget to think about placement of your video to ensure ease for the reader.
What Should Be My Page Load Time Then?
Though you can follow Google’s recommendations and aim for a 0.5 second or a 1 second page load time, but let’s face it, this is not possible to achieve in all situations. Does this mean that your website performance is poor if it takes 1.2 seconds to load, or it’s supposed to be great if it takes a mere 0.3 seconds to load? The answer is: Not at all.
If your website has basic HTML pages then it’s easy for them to load in 0.1 seconds, that doesn’t mean it would appeal to visitors or be of any use to you. On the other hand, an ecommerce website may take 2.5 seconds to load everything but it might provide high value to its clients through its user-friendly experience afterwards and unmatched products it offers.
When all is said and done, just keep one thumb rule in mind: of course it’s ideal to keep the page load time as minimum as possible, but on the other hand, aim for a page load time of less than 3 seconds as the upper limit, which is the average time taken for a relaxed breath.
It’s logical that even if your website doesn’t open in the blink of an eye, that should be completely fine, but it doesn’t mean at all that it can take its own sweet time to make an appearance in front of your prospective customer, like 7 or 10 seconds. That’s definitely not ideal at all and should be avoided at all costs.
All our website builds have the website speed optimised after going live.