Google PageSpeed Insights: How to Speed up Your Website
If you haven’t heard of Google PageSpeed Insights, then you could be losing hundreds of potential customers without even knowing.
As the name suggests, Google Pagespeed Insights is all to do with speed and how fast your website loads. If you want to improve your conversions, user experience and SEO rankings, then you need to improve your score. But don’t worry! It’s not as hard as it sounds.
Increasing your PageSpeed score can only do good things to your website. So it’s about time you learned how to do it. We’ve put together a useful guide that covers everything you need to know about Google PageSpeed Insights. From what it is to how to improve it, we’ve got you covered.
What is the Google PageSpeed Insights Tool?
Before we start explaining how to improve your Google PageSpeed score, we should probably run through the tool and explain what it does.
Google PageSpeed Insights is a tool made by Google that analyses the loading time and general speed of your website. Once it’s analysed your website, it gives you a list of recommendations and suggestions in order to speed up your site.
The results will give you a score from 1 to 100 for both desktop and mobile devices. Remember, most people who use mobiles won’t be on WiFi and will generally experience a slower load time.
Although it’s important to understand that you shouldn’t take the final score as gospel, it still gives you a good benchmark.
How A Higher PageSpeed Score Improves Your Website
There are several ways in which a high PageSpeed score can help improve your website. Some are obvious, and some are not so. Here’s how you’ll benefit from having a high PageSpeed score and a fast loading time on your website.
The first and probably the most noticeable improvement on your website will be your user’s experience. No one wants to wait around waiting for a website to load when they are looking for something. Visitors can get really frustrated when a website takes a long time to load and a lot of the time they will give up.
Imagine going on a website and every page takes 3 seconds to load. Are you going to stay on that website for long? Definitely not.
On the other hand if the website is super responsive then you probably won’t mind sticking around and visiting some other pages.
The second and not so obvious benefit you get from having a fast website is a boost in rankings. Known as a technical SEO factor, speed plays an important part in Google’s algorithm when working out your rank. Slow websites are frowned upon and are severely punished. If your website takes a while to load then you can wave bye bye to your rankings.
It’s no secret that visitors love fast websites and the faster your website is, the better. In fact, a rather surprising statistic is that 47% of consumers expect a web page to load within 2 seconds or less. If it takes any longer, then they’ll leave and go on your competitors website instead.
You put lots of effort into ranking highly on Google and getting them to click your page, don’t fall at the last hurdle! A slow page load speed will ruin all the hard work you’ve put in to get the visitors on your website.
Now you know how a fast website and a high PageSpeed can benefit your site, how exactly do you go about making it faster?
How to Improve Your Score
In this little tutorial, we are going to assume that you use WordPress to run your website. After all, it is the most popular CMS out there by far. The main thing you will be doing to your website in order to speed it up will be optimising your images and code.
The first thing is to take a look at your scripts and code.
The first suggestion you’ll receive on the Google PageSpeed Insights tool will most likely be regarding your scripts and code. If you have installed WordPress and have not touched anything, then you’ll likely get an error telling you to optimise your code.
To minify your code, you’ll need to install some plugins. We suggest the following ones:
If you do then excellent! You page will load faster for users and you’ll reap all the benefits we mentioned earlier. If you don’t notice a difference then double check it’s been activated and have a look through the settings and the support forum. Sometimes it can be something as simple as not ticking a box!
The second plugin is a great alternative to the first one. Unlike WP Super Minify, W3 Total Cache is more of an all in one optimise plugin. Not only does it allow you to optimise your code but it also allows you to do your images with the same plugin. It might be best to check them both individually to see if you see any noticeable difference in PageSpeed scores. However, it’s very likely the results will be the same.
Optimise Your Images
Now that you’ve optimised the code on your website it’s time to move to the next step – optimising your images. Images on your website can be a major drain and a large contributing factor to slowing down your website. By optimising and compressing your images, you can increase your PageSpeed significantly with just a simple plugin.
If you want to “Smush” your images to size, then this is an excellent program to do exactly that! Simply install and activate the plugin and press the bulk smush button. It’s as easy as that. The plugin will automatically optimise and compress all the images on your website which will significantly help reduce your load times.
Like we mentioned earlier, if you’re looking for an all in one plugin that optimises both code and images, then you need W3 Total Cache. If you already have lots of plugins installed on your website then adding any more could actually slow it down. Using an all in one plugin reduces the load on your server and can actually increase response times.
Once you’ve installed the plugins and made sure all their options are enabled, it’s time to check your PageSpeed Score again. You should notice that it’s significantly improved compared to before. You might be disappointed that you didn’t hit 100, but honestly, it doesn’t that matter. Anything around 80 or higher is superb and getting to 100 is very hard to do. Sometimes your website can be slowed down just due to your web host. Unless you want to go through the whole effort of finding a new web host, then it’s best to stay with the one you’re currently with.
Now you know everything about the Google PageSpeed Insights tool and how to increase your score, what are you waiting for? Get out there and speed up your website! Your visitors will thank you later.