So here is the latest in the continuing reach to be on page 1 in Google! Speed Matters!
Straight from Google’s world in the ever important Webmaster Tools we get the following:
Google’s goal is to provide users with the most relevant results and a great user experience. Fast sites increase user satisfaction and improve the overall quality of the web (especially for those users with slow internet connections), and we hope that as webmasters improve their sites, the overall speed of the web will improve…
It shows you the average page load time for pages in your site, the trend over the last few months, and some suggestions on how to make the pages load faster. Page load time is the total time from the moment the user clicks on a link to your page until the time the entire page is loaded and displayed in a browser.
The last paragraph of that quote refers to the Site Performance tool in the Google Webmaster Tools. If you do not have a Google Webmaster Tools account – I HIGHLY suggest you get one! It has some great information to help you achieve better results for your site in the search engines.
In regards to speed some things that can have an adverse affect are (there are of course more, but these are the basics without getting too techy):
- Slideshows or flash animations – these drain web resources
- Too many CSS files – these are the files that control the look and feel of your site, too many of these files mean more work for the search engines to load them all – consolidation is best!
- Using the write image files! GIF images are for images with a few colors only – logos, text and line art. JPG is good for images with lots of detail and colors like photographs. PNG is a format that is specifically for website use and is for use with transparent and non transparent images. When saving ANY image you must save the image in a web sized version. Images are one of the biggest reason for slow loading pages!
- Your host! If you are hosting with a company like GoDaddy on a basic plan this CAN be affecting your site speed. GoDaddy’s shared hosting means you are sharing a server with thousands of other websites, this can wreak havoc on your site.
Here are a few other tools that can help you evaluate your site speed beside the Google Webmaster Site Performance Tool:
- Page Speed – this is a Firefox Add On
- YSlow – a free tool from Yahoo also a Firefox Add On
- WebPagetest – offers data on site load performance
So how can site speed directly affect you?
- If your site loads too slow – visitors WILL leave and find a site that loads faster
- There is a direct relation to the speed of your site and what visitors feel about the overall satisfaction of the site – remember you have about only a couple of seconds to catch their interest, if a site takes more than this to load you have already lost them – forever.
- Slower sites will start to see themselves slipping in the search engines
- Faster sites are more easily indexed by Google – improving your search engine placement
- Many customers really want slideshows and flash on their home pages – we usually discourage this. The home page is your critical point and slideshows and animations drain site speed.
Site speed is not easy for beginners to understand, but it is an important thing you should learn! It just a small portion of the website owner experience! 🙂