How to Improve Site Speed: Tips from a Software Engineer
Published at April 24, 2023

If you’re learning about website development, you will know how site speed is a critical factor of success for your business. You know how frustrating it is when you visit a website and it takes a long time to load. 

Slow site speed impacts lower user engagement, dissatisfaction, high bounce rates, and lower conversion rates. Google and other search engines also consider site speed a ranking factor in search engine results pages. 

The average page load time for websites that appear on Google's first page is 1.65 seconds.

In this article, we will discuss site speed in detail, how to measure site speed and tips on how to improve it from our software engineer. Let’s get started!

What is Site Speed?

The definition of site speed and page speed is often misunderstood. So here we try to break down the definition to get it more clear.

Site Speed: It refers to how quickly visitors can access and engage with information. You can pinpoint areas that need improvement and then track how far those improvements have come. 

Site speed is cumulative of traffic distribution and performance as a whole. It represents the behaviour on each page. So that Google will see the speed from your domain.

Page Speed: It refers to how fast content loads your page. In some cases, developers will relate page speed with page load time, how fast the page displays the content, and how long the web browser such as Google Chrome receives the information from your web server. 

You can go to Google page speed insight. After that, you type in your site URL, and it will load the page and calculate the speed metrics. You will get a set of metrics and a score. 

Because page speed represents the single page, the score only represents the page speed for your homepage. Your homepage is one of your many pages, while site speed is the whole website speed. 

If your page speed is fast, it doesn’t mean that your site is fast. Otherwise, if your homepage is slow, it doesn’t mean your site is slow. 

Why Site Speed is Important?

Site speed is a critical factor in determining the success of any online business or brand. It can have a significant impact on its user experience, search engine rankings, and overall conversion rates. Here are the reasons why site speed is essential:

1. First Impressions

Site speed can impact a user's first impression of a website. If a website takes too long to load, the user may lose interest and leave before even interacting with the content. On the other hand, a fast-loading website can make a great first impression and keep users engaged.

2. User Engagement

A slow-loading website can lead to low user engagement, resulting in a high bounce rate. When users have to wait for a page to load, they may lose interest and leave the site. 

It can negatively impact user engagement and cause the user to look for information elsewhere. A fast-loading website, on the other hand, can lead to increased user engagement and higher conversion rates.

3. User Satisfaction 

Website speed is directly linked to user satisfaction. Users want websites that are fast, easy to navigate, and provide the information they need quickly. Slow-loading websites can cause frustration and dissatisfaction while fast-loading sites can lead to increased satisfaction and positive user experiences.

This also happened for the applications. “Just like queuing in a restaurant, the users may not like it if the applications slow while used. Faster services increase user satisfaction as much as the website,” Vederis Leanrdus, a Software Engineer at VirtualSpirit explained. 

4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Website speed is a critical factor in SEO. Google and other search engines consider site speed as one of the ranking factors. Websites that load quickly are more likely to rank higher in search engine results in pages. 

This is because search engines prioritise sites that provide a better user experience, and a fast-loading website is a part of that.

5. Mobile Optimization

Mobile users expect websites to load faster. With the increasing number of mobile users, having a fast-loading website is crucial for mobile optimization. A slow-loading website can result in a high bounce rate and lower conversion rates for mobile visitors.

How to Measure Site Speed

How to measure website speed? How to make the site faster for users? Before making any changes, you need to know your website's performance. There are various tools available to measure site speed, here are the details: 

Sentry: Sentry is a tool for monitoring errors in web applications, it can also be used to measure site speed. By measuring the time it takes for a page to load, you can identify performance issues and address them proactively.

GTmetrix: GTmetrix provides detailed reports on your site speed, including load time, page size, and the number of requests made by your website. It also provides suggestions for improving your site speed.

Pingdom: Pingdom is another tool that provides detailed reports on site speed, including load time, page size, and the number of requests made by your website. Pingdom also allows you to track your site speed over time to identify trends and improvements.

WebPageTest: This tool allows you to test your website's speed from different locations around the world. WebPageTest provides detailed reports on site speed and offers suggestions for improving your website's performance.

Tips to Improve Site Speed

Now take a look at how to optimise site speed, so it can improve performance. 

1. Analyse Site Speed Data

Use tools such as Sentry to log current data and analyse which pages or parts of your web app are taking the longest time to load. Identify which part of your web application should be optimised and which team should handle the optimization.

2. Optimise Images and Other Media Files

Use a content delivery network (CDN) like Cloudfront or Cloudflare to cache and serve images and other media files. Compress images before uploading them to reduce their file size and use the appropriate image format for each use case.

3. Implement Caching

Caching helps to reduce the number of requests that a client needs to make to the server, thereby reducing load time. Use browser caching to save static assets such as images, CSS, and JavaScript files in the client's browser cache.

4. Minimise HTTP Requests

Reduce the number of HTTP requests made by your website by combining multiple files into one and minimising the use of third-party plugins and scripts.

5. Optimise Code

Remove unnecessary code, minify CSS and JavaScript files, and enable Gzip compression to reduce the size of files that need to be downloaded.

6. Prioritise Security

While optimising site speed is crucial, it should never be at the expense of website security. Ensure your website is secure from vulnerabilities such as cross-site scripting (XSS) and SQL injection attacks.

At Virtual Spirit, we place a high priority on security and do not tolerate any compromises to our users' safety. It is better to prioritise security over speed, but we also understand the importance of providing a satisfying user experience. 

Therefore, while we prioritise security, we also strive to continually optimise and improve our systems to reach a level of user satisfaction that meets our high standards. 

Optimising Your Site Speed with VirtualSpirit

From the article above we know that site speed is necessary for website performance and user experience. It refers to the overall speed of a website, while page speed measures the speed at which a specific page loads.

If you want to improve your site speed but need help figuring out where to start, our team of experts at VirtualSpirit can help. We specialise in optimising website performance and give solutions to meet your specific needs. Contact us today to discuss your project for free!

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