Unleash Your Blog’s Page Speed

 

Your page load speed needs to be a rocket ride, so fast that your visitors feel like they’re hanging onto the handlebars.  We all wonder?  Are my pages loading too slowly?  Is my site’s page loading speed affecting search traffic?  Are slow pages costing me money?  

I’ll try to help you answer these questions and much more.  You’ll discover how to assess and improve Your website or blog page speed and learn how to assess the mobile friendliness of your pages.

 

Use Social Media to Boost Your Traffic

 

We all understand the numbers.  Marketers and bloggers primarily use our social media presence to increase traffic (78%), generate leads (64%), and improve sales (53%).

Social media audiences expect a fast experience and immediate results.  Your audience is not willing to wait for slow pages to launch.  If your page is slow, they just click away to find what they want.  And, if your blog or website doesn’t meet their speed expectations, you’ve probably lost them forever.

If you measure the success of your social media campaigns using metrics, you may be surprised to learn that the average mobile website in 2018 took 15.3 seconds to load.  That’s too slow and Google has the metrics to prove this.

According to Google, 53% of all mobile visits are abandoned if a page doesn’t load within 3 seconds and half of all of your visitors expect pages to load in less than 2 seconds.  Those are very high expectations to meet.

 

75% of Users Rate Speed as Most Important

 

Additionally, 75% of users rate page load speed as the most important part of their user experience (UX).  In real life situations, mobile conversions drop by 20% if there is just a 1-second delay in page loading.  Making this even worse news, a negative experience on your mobile page means people are 62% less likely to buy from you in the future.

So even if your social media marketing game is great, a slow blog could be costing your company thousands of dollars in potential income.

 

Google has Shifted Toward Mobile Search

 

Google is focused on serving up fast mobile experiences.  In July 2018, they made mobile search page load speed a ranking factor and introduced mobile first indexing.  This means that the mobile version of your website takes priority over the desktop version when it comes to ranking and indexing.

These developments reflect how committed Google is to improving the mobile experience.  For businesses that ignore mobile optimization, these changes will have a huge negative impact on their revenue.

 

Your Sites Mobile Friendliness Matters

 

Understanding Google’s emphasis on mobile speed, you’ll want to ensure that your blog is living up to their expectations.  Are you providing a mobile experience that is fast enough for your audience? 

 

Run the Mobile Test on Your Site

 

The first thing you need to do is run the  Google mobile-friendly test.  Plug your blog or website URL into the search field and click Run Test.  In less than a minute the search is run and your results will display.  

On the results page, you’ll see a screenshot of the page on mobile and a list of usability issues for mobile devices such as small fonts, Flash usage, clickable elements that are too close together, and so on.  You may be surprised by the results.

 

Run Google’s Page Speed Test

 

Second, you’ll want to test your blog’s speed using Google’s PageSpeed Insights.  Google has made a big change to this tool and how it measures page speed.  Instead of focusing solely on technical elements, PageSpeed Insights now scores your site according to two separate criteria, it’s looking at your page speed and your page optimization.

Optimization is a new name for the same old optimization tips you’re used to: avoid redirects; compress images; minify CSS, HTML, and JavaScript; and so on.

Speed is something new. It’s measured using two new abbreviations: FCP (First Contentful Paint) and DCL (DOM Content Loaded).  You can’t get these two metrics through local tests.  FCP measures when users first see a visual response from your page.  DCL measures when an HTML document has been loaded and parsed.

 

Chrome’s CrUX Metrics Matter

 

Both metrics are based on the Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX) database, which includes the aggregated results of millions of real users opening websites in Chrome browsers.  The numbers collected depend not only on the speed of your website but also on users’ connection speeds and their devices.

So even if your tests show an optimized page speed, when a user with a slow Internet connection or outdated smartphone lands on your blog, Google may consider your website to be “slow.”

The bottom line is that Google has fully switched from lab data to field data, assessing page speeds based on real user measurements.  That’s why increasing your site’s optimization score is a must if you want to stay competitive, especially in the light of these latest findings.  Your optimization score, not just your page speed now plays a role in your rankings.

To run a PageSpeed Insights test, simply enter your URL in the text box and click Analyze.

After PageSpeed Insights evaluates your page, you’ll see real-world performance data and suggestions for improvement.  Remember that the results page has two tabs now, for Mobile and Desktop.  And your mobile optimization is pivotal for user experience.  

 

Your Page Speed Affects Revenue

 

To instantly discover how fast your blog loads and determine the potential effects that page speed has on your conversions, use the Mobile Speed Scorecard and Impact Calculator.  The Mobile Speed Scorecard lets you compare your blog’s speed to your industry peers.  You can include up to 10 domains in the test.

Run the Impact Calculator tool to discover how much potential revenue you’re missing out on based on your blog’s loading speed.  Fill in your current speed from the Mobile Speed Scorecard along with your average order value, monthly mobile traffic, and mobile conversion rate.

Drag the Minimum Speed slider to see the potential annual revenue impact from improving speed by a certain number of seconds.  It’s very motivating when the metrics can visually show the speed effect on revenue.

 

Assess Page Speed With User Data

 

If you’ve never gathered Real User Measurements (RUMs) before, then Google’s CrUX database is your new best friend.  To get started using it, go to the Google BigQuery public project page.

If you don’t currently have a project, you’ll need to create one.  To do this, go to Google Cloud Platform and click Create a Project.  Then name your project and click Create.

If you’re prompted, provide billing information. (CrUX is free, but there are limits to the free tier.)

 

Study the Metrics

 

Now you can query the dataset to learn things such as connection type, device usage, and granular data about FCP, DCL, and other useful metrics.

Because CrUX gives you the ability to look at the performance of 3 million sites, you’ll be able to use this tool as a competitive benchmark.  You can find out how you stack up against your top competitors.  For more information about querying the dataset, visit the official Google page.

 

Tools Improve Your Page Speed

 

Now that you know how important a fast website is to your blog’s ranking and conversions (and, by extension, the ROI of your ad campaigns), it’s time to look at what you can do right now to improve page speeds for your blog.

Install the Smush WordPress plugin to compress and optimize images (and thereby improve page speed) automatically.

 

Chrome has Tools to Help

 

Use Chrome DevTools to remove redundant JavaScript. This tool, which is built into the Chrome browser, will track JavaScript elements and remove whatever you can afford to.

To access the list of your JavaScript elements, open a page you want to check in Chrome and go to Settings > More Tools > Developer Tools. Then click Network > JS and sort the elements by Time.

At the top of the list, you’ll see the elements that make your blog most vulnerable. Items marked in red are canceled JavaScript elements, which still take a considerable amount of time to load. You should consider removing them.

 

Eliminate Non-Essential Third-Party Items

 

Third party items can drag down your page load speed.  It’s important to minimize your reliance on items that you load from third-party websites.  Examples are such as social sharing buttons, ads, and video player embeds.  You don’t have any control over how fast a third-party server and assets on that server load.  

 

Balance Need vs Speed

 

It’s not always possible to get rid of these elements altogether because user experience and your business goals may suffer.  You’ll need to find the right balance.  For example, you can’t get rid of social sharing buttons on your blog altogether, but you can keep only the most popular ones.

Use Lighthouse to instantly improve the quality of web pages including basic performance audits, accessibility fixes, PWAs, and more.

 

More Tips to Boost Your Speed

 

Other tips include resource minification, browser caching, and eliminating redirects, but I highly recommend that you ask an SEO expert to help you identify and implement these fixes.  For more information, see Google’s nine recommendations for improving page speed.

What do you think?  Have slow speeds ever impacted your user experience, organic reach, or overall marketing approach?  Have you tried any of these tools to assess and improve your page speeds? 

Become A Marketing Rockstar for Your Business, embrace the options you have learned about.

 

You Can’t Afford to Lose The Page Speed Race

 

People’s expectations for faster and better digital experiences are on the rise.  And the mobile web is no exception.  But the thrill of the hunt, whether it’s researching the best hotel deals for spring break or buying a new pair of running shoes, is often hindered by slow mobile websites.

We’ve all been there, eagerly waiting for a mobile site to load and then abandoning it out of frustration.  It’s a challenge most businesses struggle with.  In fact, the average mobile webpage takes 15.3 seconds to load.  

 

Don’t Loose Customer’s

 

Count that off to yourself.   15.3 seconds feels like an eternity, doesn’t it?  If people have a negative experience on mobile, they’re 62% less likely to purchase from you in the future.  And it doesn’t matter how beautiful or data-driven your marketing campaigns are.  Speed matters……

 

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