As we know, SEO or search engine optimization is an important process in the promotion of your site. And there are many aspects of SEO one can address when building your site. One of the more important one is the speed of your site.
A search engine values a fast site highly and at the same time users will visit webpages more frequently when the website loads fast.
So how do we maximise a website’s speed? Well, a bit of fair warning – some technical terms might be involved in the next few paragraphs but as this guide is written for the SEO newbie, I have made these as simple as possible.
There are some page speed optimisation tactics that any internet-informed user may be able to do and the next paragraphs will describe two of them in Part 1 of this topic and two more in Part 2.
Caching refers to the habit of browsers saving webpage files on the user’s computer instead of downloading it again every time the user visits the page. When a web browser visits a page for the first time, it downloads all the files that are necessary for the user to see the page and saves some of those files in the user’s hard drive load pages faster the next time it is visited. There are probably some objects on your site that don’t change often if not at all. You can tell the browser which objects (like the site logo) to load from cache instead of re-downloading it entirely. We can do this by first setting the expiration date for static resources to a year.
- IIS: you can enable caching with the IIS Manager.
- Apache: you must add the following lines to enable mod_expiresthe .htacess file:
– ExpiresActive On
– ExpiresDefault A0
Then, define the files it should affect
To finish, set the expiration time
The time you define should be in seconds. You can search the net for time conversions if you feel lazy.
- WordPress: in wordpress, the recommended is W3 total cache. In the settings menu, look for the box next to “browser caching”, check it and that’s it, your caching should be good to go.
One of the most fundamental aspects to increasing your site speed is optimizing your files, specifically the images. Image sizes can be large and thus would increase the time it takes a browser to load these images and show it to the user. You should optimize the size of your images to not exceed your needs.
First, you have to use software like GIMP to handle your images. Crop your images to the correct width and height. Its dimensions should suit its purpose on your page. Then, save it in the correct file type like .png or .jpg. Then use tools like jpegtran or PNGOUT to compress them. When you use Google’s PageSpeed Insights, it may also suggest you with optimised image sizes for your site. You may also use those.
I will discuss two more aspects to increasing your page speed in Part 2 of this guide.