Your website’s loading speed influences a visitor’s first impression of your site. The speed at which people are able to access information on your site influences the user experience. Many people are not keen on waiting several seconds for pages to load, especially when they are using high speed internet services. This is why website speed is considered a ranking signal for many search engines and many site owners implement different website speed optimization strategies to keep their sites working smoothly.
Websites that load quickly and smoothly have greater chances of inviting return visitors, getting lower bounce rates, encouraging higher conversions and, as a result, higher search engine results placements. A slow website can damage your reputation and traffic. Improving your loading speed through site speed optimization can help ensure that you’re maximizing your content’s potential to build your web presence.
How do you optimize website speed for SEO? Here are a few strategies to keep in mind.
1. Assess your website speed
The first step in web site speed optimization is to assess your website’s performance. There are several tools that you can use to check your site’s loading speed. PageSpeed Insights by Google lets you run performance tests on websites and provides recommendations on how you can improve your website. This tool works on both mobile and desktop versions of websites. The recommended load time is 3 seconds. You want to make sure that your page loads completely within this timeframe or better.
2. Use a reliable web host
Your business website cannot afford to go offline for long periods. To ensure consistent uptimes, go for a reliable website host that can guarantee reliable site speeds. Strikingly offers reliable cloud-based webhosting service when you create your website on its platform. The site builder guarantees that every website - including those on free accounts - will run smoothly and load fast on its platform.
3. Optimize media files on your website
While it’s good to use high-quality and high-resolution images on your website, huge file sizes can slow your site down. A lot of photos and visuals on your site can improve engagement but if they don’t load fast enough, adding them is useless, and, if anything, can even affect the user experience especially if visitors end up seeing empty squares where your images are supposed to sit.
Strikingly recommends paying attention to the file size limits on the website to ensure that your visuals and the rest of your website loads well. You want to compress the images without compromising its quality. There are a number of online tools that you can use to do this. ImageOptim and JPEGmini are just two examples.
4. Reduce plugins on the site
Strikingly creates templates that are free from unnecessary code and fluff to ensure that your page loads smoothly. To help keep it this way, we also recommend keeping the number of plugins that you add to the site to a minimum. It’s nice to build a full-featured website but make sure to stick to the ones that are necessary for your site’s functions. Run regular performance testing to identify which plugins are causing your website to slow down. Try to avoid unnecessary scripts and make sure that your plugins are always updated.
6. Listen to data analytics
Your website is a work in progress. Site speed optimization is a continuous activity that you have to do every so often. You should make it a point to schedule performance and speed tests on your website to ensure it is running smoothly. Strikingly has a built-in traffic analytics tool to give you an overview of your website’s performance however, it is recommended that you add Google Analytics to get a more granular view of your site traffic. Any drops in traffic call for website speed optimization strategies.