Nobody likes a slow website.
It’s a terrible user experience.
The speed of a website, or lack of, can have a big impact on your user’s perception of you as an organisation.
Whether you are a business owner or a marketing director, understanding Google PageSpeed could be very helpful for improving your website’s user experience and increasing conversions. This comprehensive guide will look into what Google PageSpeed is, why it matters for your business, and even how it can contribute to environmental sustainability. We will also discuss some of our favourite tools for WordPress websites, including WP Rocket, Imagify, and Cloudflare, for optimising PageSpeed effectively.
What is Google PageSpeed
Google PageSpeed is a set of tools by Google that analyses the performance of a website and offers recommendations for improvement. It is instrumental in assessing a site’s speed, optimisation, and overall user experience.
Google PageSpeed is a tool that grades the performance of a webpage on a scale from 0 to 100. It analyses both the desktop and mobile versions of a site and provides insights into your webpage’s loading time, user experience, and the overall efficiency. PageSpeed’s significance is twofold; it plays a crucial role in determining website performance and affects search engine rankings. Speed has become a ranking factor for Google, making it essential to understand and implement Google PageSpeed insights (Google, 2018). Yes, that’s right, page speed affects your ranking potential.
Why Google PageSpeed Matters
PageSpeed directly impacts the user’s experience. The faster the website, the better your user’s experience. Studies have shown that a 1-second delay in page load time can result in a 7% reduction in conversions (Neil Patel, 2011). If increasing conversions through your website is at all important to your organisation, then it is well worth exploring ways to improve your page speed. Conversions can be anything from submitting a contact form to booking a call.
Search Engine Ranking
Google’s search algorithms factor in webpage speed. A faster website is not just better for the user but also boosts your website’s visibility (Search Engine Journal, 2020). With the advent of mobile-first indexing, optimising your site for mobile speed has become more important than ever. If you have a WordPress website, then getting started with a plugin that speeds up your site is a great place to start, keep reading to learn about our plugin recommendations.
Speed and conversion rates are directly proportional. A faster website means higher conversions. Google found that an extra .5 seconds in search page generation time dropped traffic by 20% (Greg Linden Blogspot, 2006). Think about it: when you’re waiting for ages for a website to load, what goes through your mind? It’s unlikely that you’re thinking, ‘This is great; I love slow websites.’ The frustration you feel when using a slow website, regardless of the device you’re using, can lead to a negative perception. This does you no favours in increasing conversions on your site.
Faster websites are more energy-efficient, which reduces their carbon footprint. According to Wired, the more complex a website is, the more energy it requires to load – and the greater its climate impact. (Wired, 2021).
You may be wondering how the internet emits CO2. It turns out that the vast network of cables, mobile networks, satellites, and data centres that power the internet are significant sources of electricity and fuel consumption, which in turn emit CO2. In fact, the internet’s carbon footprint actually surpasses that of the aviation industry (The Guardian, 2018). Reducing server operations not only cuts costs but also lowers energy consumption, contributing to environmental sustainability. Additionally, faster websites are more energy-efficient on user devices, particularly beneficial for mobile users reliant on battery power. In essence, fewer data transfers result in less energy required, making for a more sustainable internet ecosystem.
Common Factors that Affect PageSpeed
- Large Images: Uncompressed images are one of the most common reasons for slow PageSpeed.
- Unoptimised Code: Bulky code, or using outdated libraries or plugins can reduce PageSpeed.
- Excessive Use of Plugins: Having too many plugins can slow down webpage speed. Tools like WP Rocket can help manage and minify these plugins.
How we Optimise Page Speed
The first step in our approach is the initial audit. We use a variety of tools, including WP Rocket and Imagify, to assess the current PageSpeed of a website. This allows us to pinpoint the areas that require attention, such as image sizes or code clutter.
Once we’ve identified the bottlenecks, we get started with fixing issues. The fixes vary from website to website, but usually we carry out the following:
- Image Optimisation: Imagify helps us compress images and convert them to efficient formats.
- Leveraging Browser Caching: WP Rocket is also useful for managing a site’s caching.
- Content Delivery Network (CDN): We use Cloudflare to distribute a site’s load, which saves bandwidth and speeds up access for users.
- Lazy Loading: WP Rocket enables us to defer non-critical resources, enhancing the initial load speed.
- Critical Path Optimisation: This involves optimising the sequence in which resources are loaded, ensuring users see visible content faster.
- Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP): Google’s AMP can make content load up to four times faster on mobile devices.
It’s important to measure the impact of the fixes. After one month, we conduct another audit to evaluate the improvements and make any necessary adjustments. Monitoring and staying updated with the latest performance optimisation trends are part of our ongoing commitment to your website’s success.
In just three steps—Initial Audit, Applying Fixes, and a One-Month Review—we can improve Google PageSpeed ratings. We use industry leading tools like WP Rocket, Imagify, and Cloudflare which make it easier than ever to optimise various aspects of your website, from user experience to environmental sustainability.
Additional Resources and Plugin Recommendations
- WP Rocket: This WordPress caching and optimisation tool helps in code minimisation, browser caching, and lazy loading, contributing to a significantly faster website and better user experience.
- Imagify: Specialising in image compression, Imagify allows for the efficient resizing of images, which is crucial for improving PageSpeed and reducing energy consumption.
- Cloudflare: As a Content Delivery Network (CDN), Cloudflare distributes your website’s load across multiple servers, speeding up access for global users and enhancing security.
- WebPageTest: This tool offers a comprehensive analysis of your website’s performance, helping you identify bottlenecks and areas for improvement in your PageSpeed optimisation journey.
- Google PageSpeed: Developed by Google, this tool not only measures your website’s speed but also offers suggestions for improvements, influencing both user experience and search engine ranking.
- GTmetrix: Combining Google Lighthouse and other technologies, GTmetrix provides detailed reports on your website’s performance, aiding in the optimisation of load time and the improvement of user engagement.
- Google Lighthouse: This open-source tool audits your website for performance, accessibility, and search engine optimisation, offering actionable insights to improve PageSpeed and user experience.
- Ahrefs: While primarily known for SEO analysis, Ahrefs also provides valuable data on website performance, aiding in the identification and correction of issues that could negatively impact PageSpeed and, consequently, search engine ranking.
- Neil Patel. (2011). How Loading Time Affects Your Bottom Line. Retrieved from Neil Patel website: https://neilpatel.com/blog/loading-time/
- Search Engine Journal. (2020). How PageSpeed Affects SEO and Google Rankings. Retrieved from Search Engine Journal: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/ranking-factors/page-speed/
- Gren Linden Blogspot. (2006). Marissa Mayer at Web 2.0. Retrieved from Greg Linden Blogspot website: https://glinden.blogspot.com/2006/11/marissa-mayer-at-web-20.html
- Wired. (2020). Your website is killing the planet. Retrieved from Wired website: https://www.wired.co.uk/article/internet-carbon-footprint
- The Guardian. (2018). Our phones and gadgets are now endangering the planet: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jul/17/internet-climate-carbon-footprint-data-centres
By understanding and implementing Google PageSpeed optimisation techniques, you are investing in better user experience, higher search engine rankings, improved conversion rates, and a greener, more sustainable internet. Start your PageSpeed optimisation journey now!