For a several years topic related to website speed is very hot. On one hand it is already known that website speed signal is already implemented in Google algorithms and particular page need to respond fast enough to web requests. On the other hand a visitors that prefer fast pages and not much time waiting when surfing the Internet – statistics shows that fast websites have lower bounce rate and most likely this improve user experience to browse several pages and proceed to order or subscription.
Being realistic there are many ways to speed up particular website – from really basic one like image optimization (excellent tool – Yahoo Smush.It and there is also plug-in for WordPress – WP Smush.It) to advanced methods on server side – for example installing additional modules like mod_deflate or mod_pagespeed, which actually require more resources and processor power from the server and of course advanced knowledge.
Website template or theme is a factor that shouldn't be underrated, be sure to use light website template.
How to check website speed?
There are several very useful tools that can help webmasters to determine website speed and discover what exactly is slowing down loading time. All tools below are free and can be used by anybody.
Free Website Speed Tools
- YSlow – Free tool by Yahoo that analyses pages and suggest ways to improve website speed, based on top performing websites. This tool is available as extension for most popular browsers like – Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera.
- Page Speed – Started by Google this open source project is one of the best. It is available as extension for Firebug Add-on for Firefox and Chrome, recently online version was developed.
- Site Performance – part of Google Webmaster Tools -> Labs -> Site Performance, excellent way to see how particular webpage compare to other website on the web and what the loading time is.
- There are many other related tools and resources that can be found at - https://code.google.com/speed
While website speed is new factor for higher ranking, still not many websites are affected by this new algorithm signal, however I suggest everybody to take a look at this tools, gather more information and speed up the website. Some of the factors will not improve loading time and are just informative for example “ETags”, however changes there will improve your score. In general website speed also depends on quality web hosting, another great way to speed up the website is by using quality web hosting provider as well as CDN.