Have you recently checked how long your website or web pages take to load?
Google is considering adding web page speed as a ranking factor in the search engines. If your site doesn’t load fast enough it’s rankings may be lowered.
Google is constantly trying to improve people’s search experience so the results will be quick and targeted. Computer users get very frustrated when they have to wait more than a few seconds for your web site to appear.
What does this mean for you?
Google offers a tool called “page speed” that evaluates the performance of your web pages and suggests how to improve them. Ideally, your pages should load within 30 seconds on a 56K modem and less than 2 seconds with a high-speed cable connection.
How to improve web page speed
Use CSS Navigation
Use external files
Validate HTML code
Html errors prevent the search engines from easily spidered your page. Google “W3C HTML Validation Service” to check and correct your HTML errors.
If you have too many images or a few large images on your web page it will drastically reduce the loading time. Use thumbnail images and optimize them using graphics software like Photoshop or Fireworks to reduce the file size of your pages.
Use Server Side Includes (SSI) for easy maintenance
SSI enables you to update 100s of pages by just editing one file instead of editing each one separately. These files must be loaded each time they’re accessed from the server so make sure your web host uses fast servers.
Most web hosting servers host multiple websites on the same server. If one site suddenly receives a surge of traffic it may overwhelm the server and your site could be temporarily offline. This means you could lose sales. Beware of businesses that offer unlimited space. Look for a reputable service that guarantees 99% uptime and does daily backups.
Static vs Database-driven sites
Static HTML web sites tend to load faster than a database is driven web sites because database sites contain 100s or 1000s of files. Most static sites are under 100 pages. Before designing or redesigning your website check the page speed of database sites built with software like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc).
Web Hosting Service
Most websites these days share the same server. If one website suddenly receives a surge in server resources it affects all the other sites on that server. Therefore beware of web hosting companies that offer unlimited space and/or bandwidth. Check the uptime of the server your site is hosted on.
If you’re planning on designing or redesigning a web site check the page speed of websites using the hosting service and/or design software before you begin. Having a fast loading website will help you rank well in the search engines thus generating more traffic and sales.