Improve your website loading speed

In case you missed it: Part 2 of Ten Ways Download Speed Helps Your Website

6. Go Green, or Go Home.

There is no documentation from Google on what minimal score will affect your SEO in a positive or negative way. However, they do give color codes for what, they consider Bad, Good and Excellent. Red indicates a Bad or failing score, Yellow seems to indicate a Good, or passing score, and the ever sought after Green is for an Excellent loading speed grade. So our (and your) goal is to get as much into the Green as possible.

Google Website Speed Peformance screenshot

As you scan the results on the Google PageSpeed Insights dashboard (after you put in a URL and click the Analyze button), scroll down and you’ll see Google gives you reasons for your low scores and ways to fix these problems. It's very detailed, which is great! The downside is, many of these issues Google is pointing out, can only be fixed by an experienced web development company.

  • Most of the initial issues will be centered around reducing your images’ file size and providing next-gen image types in place of the typical JPG or PNG—which was discussed in Part 1 of this blog.
  • This is where we, or another web development company, would come in—if you need help with choosing a web designer, we have a great article that might help.
  • While we’d love it to be us—it doesn’t have to be. Any Columbus web design company worth their mettle should be able to at the very least get your scores up to the mid 80’s or higher.
  • Ask them to show you the Google PageSpeed Insights score of some of their recent websites. We say, recent, because a website could have been built years ago, with the client is updating the site themselves. That means a well-built site at launch could easily go downhill without proper attention to adding blogs and pages.

Honestly, no one should recommend to go for a 99 or 100 score on Google's PageSpeed Insights. If they are, then they're probably doing something they shouldn’t, most likely cheating or gaming the system. And it’s not nice to fool Google. Just because you get a score of a 100 on Google PageSpeed insights, doesn’t always mean your website is loading at blazing speeds. There are ways to trick Google, but this should never be done… it will always come back to haunt you.

7. What should you expect from a Columbus web development company?

In the best case scenario, we would only have to re-save/re-optimize all your uploaded images, and create a guideline for maximum image file sizes going forward. A sort of best practices guidebook for creating, uploading/optimizing images, because that is one of the most basic steps.

Many times, content administrators are more worried about spellcheck and the content of their copy, rather than the file size of the image they're uploading. If we can get folks to be just as sensitive to the image sizes they upload, as they are to their content, that's a great place to start!

The next big step on the checklist is to use “Next-Gen Images.”

Writing the correct code will cross that issue right off the list, because Google “yells” at people for writing bad code. Basically we write code that talks to mobile web browsers that says “Hey, I know you see that JPG image sitting there, but we’ve got a next generation WebP image that loads way faster, wanna give it a try?” And then viola! The browser uses that WebP image instead of the JPG that was uploaded.

When a website is coded well, all of this happens behind the scenes, so you don’t have to do anything different. Just upload your JPGs, your PNGs and let the system take care of the rest.

After optimizing all the images, we then walk through all the other issues Google lays out for us. Everyone’s site is different, so not all the same issues will appear. Some might be just fine the way they are, while others will need some attention. We go through the entire Google checklist and evaluate what we have to do, what we might want to do, and what we won’t touch with a 10 foot pole.

screenshot of web development company website performance analysis.jpg

8. Why would Google suggest things that might hurt your site?

In short, they don’t care what your site looks like, they care how fast or efficient it loads, and how good your content is. One thing Google recommends is pushing some codes to load last, to help boost overall page load. One example would be using web based fonts like, well… go figure, Google Webfonts.

They'll recommend moving the web fonts to the bottom of the code and load last. Yes, that’s good for loading speed, but that makes your site look strange as it’s loading. All your fonts will start off looking like the internet circa 2003. They’ll all be Times New Roman, or at best, Arial. Then after a second or two, they’ll revert to which ever fancy Google font you have set in your stylesheet. This just looks ugly and we don’t think it is worth the little points it might raise your score.

What we would focus on, is getting your score as high as we can without damaging the experience your visitors have bouncing around your website. We’ll manage your expectations of things like this before we work on optimizing your site.

9. How much does something like this cost?

Much like buying a car, a phone, or even a house… it depends on what you want, and what you need. The main factor is how bad your current website is. If your site is 2 to 3 years old and has hundreds of pages with issues on every single page, it could take a while (which translates into cost), to get everything the way it should be.

We could also just optimize the top 10 or 15 pages on your site, which could be a Phase 1 thing, and do a Phase 2 or 3 thing later down the road.

If you're in the market for a new site, all this optimizing should be included in the price of your initial website build. When your awesome-new-website goes live, it should be getting a passing or excellent grade right out of the gate. If it isn’t, you should be having a talk with the company that built it, or you should give us a call.

10. Last, but certainly not least.

Google is always changing the way they evaluate websites. Whether it’s using Next-Gen images or Render Blocking,  it’s not always a guarantee that your passing grade or even your excellent grade will stay that way in perpetuity. Your website should evolve with Google’s algorithms, and should be built with the ability to update and improve it.

One thing we can guarantee, is that technology is forever changing, and always seems to be in flux. But if you start with a good base, clean code, and follow most of Google’s recommendations, your site should stand heads and shoulders above the rest. (Like that 10 foot Pole!)