There are a hundred things to consider when you’re creating a website. Do the colors and fonts fit your company brand? Is the content robust enough to communication your message? Are the buttons in the right place? Do all the links work? Are there enough images? Are there too many images?
But before the customer can reach your site and judge for themselves, there’s another question to ask: do my pages load fast enough? The average mobile page takes 8 seconds to load, according to Facebook, which while not an eternity, is an awful long time on the web. Page loading on desktop is significantly faster. As Smashing Magazine points out, smartphones generally have around 2 GB of RAM in comparison to the 8 or 16 GB on your desktop. For that reason, at Immerge we focus on mobile-first. Increased loading pages also helps improve your ranking in search results, meaning slow loading pages might mean you’re never seen by potential customers.
At Immerge, following best practices for increased page loading time is part of our package, Below are several ways we ensure that your pages load as fast as possible.
How we start
Before we touch any actual code, we start by checking the page speed scores of pages. In order to get a thorough picture, we run pages through both the Google PageSpeed Insights Tool and GT Metrix. Those tools give a score out of 100, as well as suggestions on how to improve your number. Usually, the highest priority is image optimization and code minification. Having a low pagespeed score can lower your SEO ranking, and vice versa.
Your website runs on code. When developers write this code, they leave spaces and blank lines for readability sakes and comments about each section. Though this helps with the actual writing of the code, it can slow the page down. We use a plugin to condense the code so it can run faster.
There isn’t much that can be done to optimize videos, but we do check to make sure the video frame size matches with the size of the container it sits in. This ensures that the page doesn’t waste time loading a bigger file than necessary.
Images however, are often far too big for the page. Sometimes we find images that are a thousand pixels tall for a box that’s only a hundred pixels. To remedy this, we shrink the image to the correct size and save it in an web-optimized form. This means your browser only has to spend time loading pixels that will actually be seen.
Server Response Time
For some, the only way to improve their page speed score is to get their site hosted on a more powerful server. That responsibility falls to your webmaster rather than than your digital marketing or SEO department. There are numerous services out there who can get a better server response time for your site, like Amazon’s Elastic Cloud.
The future: AMP
Google has made it clear they put value in mobile response time, and that emphasis is only growing. They recently introduced Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP’s as their alternative to Facebook's Instant Articles. Though both of these services are targeted to content creators, they will no doubt begin to become more common-place with other sites.
Google has said they will not prioritize AMP’s in their SEO rankings, but as they move towards faster and faster mobile pages, AMP’s will no doubt rise in rankings naturally. As such, we should all prepare to be working on AMP’s in the next few years.
As you build or maintain your web presence, don’t lose sight of your loading speed. Whatever you need, Immerge is here to help!