What is my page speed and how do I improve it?

Have you created a beautiful website for your brand or business, but visitors are leaving your site quickly? This might be due to your page speed. After all, a fast website provides a much better user experience than a slow one. Google even stated that the speed of your website will affect your site’s rankings in the search results. That’s why it’s important to keep tabs on your page speed. And try to find ways to improve it. Read on to learn more!

What is page speed?

The simple answer: it’s how quickly all the content on a specific page is displayed. Page speed is measured separately on desktop and mobile devices, because they both have a different technology. Now, you might be thinking: “But my website loads really quickly on my computer!” And you’d be right. Unfortunately, this is only the case for you, because the browser stored your website’s files in the cache when you visited it the first time. In other words: if you’ve visited a website before, it will load faster the next time you visit, because your computer saves information about that site. But you want your website to load quickly for first time visitors too!

The nitty gritty of page speed

Now, let’s look at the complicated answer. Because there isn’t just one way to measure your page speed. When you look at page speed, you can look at multiple things. For example, how long it takes: 
– for a page to be fully loaded
– to start the loading process
– before a visitor can read the content on a page

As you can see, there are multiple ways to measure page speed. And there isn’t one right way. Determine what works best for you, and focus on improving that first. You can always revisit the others later.

What affects page speed?

Everything on the page. Images, videos, text. Even the web server you are hosting your website on will affect the speed of your pages. In fact, we’d argue it’s one of the most important reasons for slowing down your website. 

Most hosting companies, such as Bluehost, offer a range of hosting plans, starting with inexpensive shared hosting and moving up through virtual, dedicated, and cloud servers. The prices increase as you move up, but so do the number of resources dedicated to your website. If you’re just starting out with your website and business, it’s okay to use shared hosting. Just make sure you regularly track your traffic volume and resource usage. If your site gets slower, we recommend you upgrade to a better hosting plan. 

Why is page speed so important?

People don’t like to wait. Think about it: how often do you quickly look something up on your phone? The keyword being quickly. Most visitors expect a page to load within two seconds. If it takes longer than three seconds, studies have shown you will lose around 53% of your mobile users. That’s more than half of your audience! Now you know why it’s so important that your page speed is fast.

How to check your page speed

It’s good to check how your efforts have been doing. Luckily, there are loads of tools available online to help you check your page speed. For example, Google PageSpeed Insights is a free and insightful tool. Pingdom and GTmetrix are other popular tools with excellent free versions. 

These tools will run a series of tests on your website to identify performance issues. They even give feedback on how to correct these issues!

How to improve your page speed

Reduce the size of your images

This is a really useful and quick fix. Images look beautiful on your website, but they can also take a long time to load. That’s why we recommend you size them down, using image editing applications or online apps like Squoosh. WordPress users can also opt for using plugins like Smush. Smush is a free WordPress plugin that compresses your image sizes without affecting their quality.

Don’t overdo it with plugins

Plugins are a great way to streamline and optimize your website. After all, they can do a lot of the hard work for you. But they can also slow down your website. Consider which plugins are vital for your business, and which you could do without. Then remove the plugins that are just taking up precious space.

However, it’s not just the amount of plugins that could slow down a page. The quality of the plugins also plays a part. A poorly coded plugin can generate a lot of queries on the database and load several scripts, which will put a massive strain on your website’s speed. That’s why it’s important to spend time looking through the plugins you have installed and only keep the best ones.  

Enable caching on your website

If caching is enabled on your website, visitors can store parts of your page in their browser cache. But what is cache? It’s a technical term for storing data in a temporary storage area. If you don’t have this enabled, visitors will have to download web files every time they want to view a page on your website. This can take a lot of time. However, if page caching is enabled, these files will be temporarily stored and can be easily fetched. Meaning, they are displayed much faster. 

We recommend you use the caching plugins provided by Bluehost. You can find these in the cache settings in the performance page of the Bluehost plugin or WordPress section of the control page. 

Use a CDN

A really effective way to speed up your loading time is by using a CDN, otherwise known as a content delivery network. How does it work? A CDN is a global network of servers that allows you to store your site’s static elements and files, like CSS, Javascript, images, documents, and videos. When a visitor lands on your website, these files are then delivered to them from a server closer to their physical location. This is useful, because the further away users are from a server’s physical location, the longer their loading times are. A content delivery network will solve this issue. 

For example, if your website is hosted on a U.S. server, visitors from other parts of the world will have to have to wait a (relatively) long time for your content to reach their browsers. A CDN reduces this time dramatically, since the static content is provided from a local server much closer to them instead of one from across the world.

Tip: Bluehost offers the TrueSpeed CDN inside the control panel, making it quick and easy to improve your page speed.

Compress your code

Large parts of your website are built with CSS and JavaScript. Both use text files that can get pretty large. And sometimes, these files can be outdated. For example, when they still contain code from a feature you don’t use on your website anymore. The larger the files, the more data needs to be transferred when people visit a page on your website. If you compress or minify these files, you will reduce the loading time. 

If you’re not a developer, this might sound confusing or complicated. But trust us, it’s not. There are multiple plugins that can help you compress your code! WordPress plugins such as WP Super Minify and Better WordPress Minify will automatically do the job for you. If you want to do it manually, consider tools like Closure Compiler.  

Keep your website up to date

Research has shown that people don’t buy from or engage much with slower sites. That’s why you need to make sure that your site speed is as fast as can be. Test how fast your website is now, then look at ways you can improve it. And keep improving it! Make sure your website is always up to date and, if necessary, delete whatever isn’t working for you. 

And if you’re looking for a reliable web hosting provider for your website, then feel free to contact our Bluehost customer service today. We will help you choose the right web hosting plans for your website.

Tiffani Anderson
Tiffani Anderson |
Tiffani is the Content and Social Marketing Manager for the Bluehost brand. She has a passion for creating engaging content, SEO and social media!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*