12 Actionable Ways To Improve Page Speed

Having fast page speed is definitely vital for improving your website’s search engine ranking, conversion rates, and overall user experiences.

12 Actionable Ways To Improve Page Speed

If your website isn’t running at peak performance, this sluggishness could be costing you big in lower rankings and less organic traffic. Page speed has a large effect on your website’s user behavior and conversions.

In general, users will wait just three seconds before abandoning ship. Around 44% of Internet users also report becoming anxious about the transaction when the site loads slower.

While browsing through different products on your site, it becomes very frustrating when users must wait another 10 seconds to navigate around. Even a two-second delay in load time can cause an abandonment rate of 87% on transactions. Just one second in delay can cause 7% loss in customer conversions too. This can negatively affect your revenue, especially when your aggravated visitors turn to your closest competitors.

“Two thirds (67%) of UK shoppers and more than half (51%) of those in the US said that site slowness is the top reason they’d abandon a purchase.”

Impact of page slowdown

Let’s imagine that your website has one million monthly visitors, an average product price of $10, and a bounce rate of 50%, a product page load time of six seconds would cause a conversion loss of 42%! This is equivalent to 250,000 users leaving your website and not making a purchase due to the slow loading times. On a monthly basis, this would cost you $2.1 million in lost revenue. Also, a case study proves that slow page speed, cost retailers £1.73bn in lost sales each year.

Page load time graph

Now it’s clear that slower website speed can be detrimental to your bottom line, but it also can harm your search engine rankings. Google loves websites that provide good user experiences and often checks for this via pogo sticking and dwell time. The amount of time that users stick to your website before returning to search engine results is used to depict how informational and useful your site is. Although average website duration, your number of returning visitors vs. unique visitors, exit rates, and bounce rates aren’t search ranking factors, they play an essential role in user experience, which is the ultimate search ranking factor for Google.

As we’ve already discussed, low page speed badly affects your user’s experiences and results in falling search engine rankings that won’t get you noticed. Therefore, it’s crucial that you speed up your website to stop unwanted loss on all of your hard work. I recommend checking your site speed through the Google PageSpeed tool. If you’re not at 100, don’t worry because even Google.com doesn’t have 100/100. Here are the page speeds for the world’s top 10 websites:

  1. Google- 92/100 (Desktop) & 78/100 (Mobile)
  2. Facebook- 89/100 (Desktop) & 71/100 (Mobile)
  3. YouTube- 74/100 (Desktop) & 75/100 (Mobile)
  4. Baidu- 98/100 (Desktop) & 100/100 (Mobile)
  5. Yahoo- 81/100 (Desktop) & 66/100 (Mobile)
  6. Wikipedia- 85/100 (Desktop) & 66/100 (Mobile)
  7. Amazon- 87/100 (Desktop) & 46/100 (Mobile)
  8. Twitter- 81/100 (Desktop) & 45/100 (Mobile)
  9. Taobao- 80/100 (Desktop) & 59/100 (Mobile)
  10. QQ- 58/100 (Desktop) & 41/100 (Mobile)

Google recommends that websites strive for an ideal page speed of 85 or above for both their desktop and mobile device versions. Make sure that you have a website that’s compatible with any mobile device because Google will be launching a Mobile Friendly update on April 21st. Avoid mobile SEO common mistakes to ensure your site won’t be hurt with this update.

Top 100 retail sites

It’s surprising to note that only 14% of the top 100 websites open in less than three seconds and that nearly one-tenth took 10 seconds or longer to function properly. However, this likely won’t be any good for your business. So, focus on building a lightning-fast website that will be convenient for your users and more profitable in your wallet. Below are my top 12 tips for how you can easily start revving up your page speed.

1. Optimize Your Images

First and foremost, you’ll need to optimize all of the images presented on your webpage to have any chance of speeding up your website. Remove the extra comments, unnecessary space, and useless colors from the source of your images. Save your images in JPEG format because it uses the least capacity while still maintaining picture-perfect quality. In Photoshop, you can use CTRL+SHIFT+ALT+S to automatically optimize and save images at the smallest possible size.

For your WordPress website, I advise using the smush.it plug-in to optimize your website’s pictures automatically and receive a speed boost. If you have any images that are saved in PNG format, you can also use tinypng for optimizing the image and improving image quality too.

2. Enable GZip Compression

GZip compression may sound complicated, but it’s simply a large term used for reducing the size of the HTTP response to improve response time. Since this allows your site to send a GZip file instead of an HTML file to the browser, you’ll reduce page wait time and loading time. For the Apache server, you can enable it by adding the following code to your .htaccess file:

<ifModule mod_gzip.c>
mod_gzip_on Yes
mod_gzip_dechunk Yes
mod_gzip_item_include file .(html?|txt|css|js|php|pl)$
mod_gzip_item_include handler ^cgi-script$
mod_gzip_item_include mime ^text/.*
mod_gzip_item_include mime ^application/x-javascript.*
mod_gzip_item_exclude mime ^image/.*
mod_gzip_item_exclude rspheader ^Content-Encoding:.*gzip.*

However, make sure you check your work with the GZip compression checker. If the code doesn’t enable the compression, then remove the old one and use the below code:

# compress text, html, javascript, css, xml:
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-javascript
# Or, compress certain file types by extension:
<files *.html>
SetOutputFilter DEFLATE

Or, use the following PHP code at the top of your HTML/PHP file:

<?php if (substr_count($_SERVER['HTTP_ACCEPT_ENCODING'], 'gzip')) ob_start("ob_gzhandler"); else ob_start(); ?>
3. Leverage The Browsing Cache

A browsing cache is used to store certain files from a website within the browser, but having a clogged browsing cache can reduce the loading time significantly. Luckily, you can leverage the browsing cache by enabling the expires headers within .htaccess file. Utilize the following code to enable this function:

<IfModule mod_expires.c>
ExpiresActive On
ExpiresByType image/jpg "access plus 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access plus 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/gif "access plus 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/png "access plus 1 year"
ExpiresByType text/css "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/pdf "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType text/x-javascript "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType image/x-icon "access plus 1 year"
ExpiresDefault "access plus 2 days"

Using the expires header does have an issue that you should watch out for though. Once you set an expiry of a month to a file, then any changes to that file will not reflect for a user who has already visited the page in the last one month. Setting an expiry for one year is generally common because there’s less likely to be changes over that time. You can use either the last modified header or an etag header for cacheable resources.

4. Enable Keep-Alive

The Keep-Alive header is important for reducing the latency period for subsequent requests between the browser and the server. Once you hit the enter button for opening a site, browsers request that the server sends the html file of the particular web page. Then, the browser reads. If there is a Java script or CSS, then it again requests the server sends respective files. As you can imagine, these communications increase your page load time.

Use a Keep-Alive header to keep the connection on once the complete files have been transferred to the browser for viewing. Below is the code used in .htaccess file to enable it.

<ifModule mod_headers.c> Header set Connection keep-alive </ifModule>
5. Use CDN


The Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a collection of web servers distributed across multiple locations with the purpose of delivering requested content more efficiently to visitors. You can use the Amazon cloud front or MaxCDN for enabling CDN on your website.

6. Minify CSS

Minify CSS

To minify the Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) simply means to make the CSS smaller in size by removing any extra white space. Look out for any unnecessary codes that are slowing down your speed time too. Minify your CSS and use the new code for loading your site much more swiftly. No matter whether you use your CSS inlined, combined, or with external files, smaller will always be better.

7. Minify HTML & Javascript

Along the same lines, you should minify HTML and Javascript for making your pages load considerably faster. This will also provide a better user experience.

8. Avoid Redirects

Redirection is an overwhelming sense of irritation for website visitors. It’s similar to going to a friend’s house and then finding out your friend has moved to another house three blocks away. Being redirected to other web pages consumes extra time, reduces your loading speed, and makes your users groan in frustration. So, I always advise that you avoid redirects on any page of your website unless you don’t have another choice.

9. Specify A Character Set

Specifying the character set for a website is another great technique for speeding up the browser rendering for lightning-fast page loads. It’s also simple to achieve by using the following code in the header:

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8">

Also, many CMS use a PHP script to add the character set onto the header. If you’re comfortable doing so, then you can also use the code instead of a script. Either way, you’ll make good strides in reducing the calling function request.

10. Reduce Server Response Time

Server response time is the term used to describe the amount of time spent between the browser request to the server and the final page load. Your server response time will depend upon the number of requests by the browsers and your server configurations. Make certain your server response time is kept short for the best results.

11. Avoid Bad Requests

Avoid Bad Requests

Imagine going to a restaurant and asking for your favorite meal, but the waitress tells you that the kitchen is out of an essential ingredient. That’s how frustrating it is for website visitors to receive a 404 or 410 error in place of their sought-after destination. These bad requests can have an extremely bad effect on page speed. Thus, it’s recommended that you try avoiding them on your pages at all costs. Check My Link can help you find broken 404 links and eliminate them quickly to improve user experience.

12. Ditch Tracking Codes, Video Embeds, and Share Buttons

Many webmasters think that using multiple tracking codes to provide embeds and sharing buttons will give a better user experience. In reality, they’re playing so much with their websites that there’s too many requests to the server. For instance, an iframe calls a complete new page for viewing on the existing page, which automatically reduces website speed. Ditching these tracking codes, video embeds, and share buttons will definitely improve your website’s page speed and boost your visitor’s enjoyment.


Overall, it’s important that you don’t let your page loading time slide simply to accommodate a more aesthetically pleasing design or nifty new feature. Website visitors typically care more about page speed than all of these superfluous bells and whistles. Having a slow loading website is a surefire way to kill your bottom line and your search engine rankings. In fact, 47% of consumers expect web pages to load within two seconds or less!

So, don’t make your website’s users wait for perusing your epic content. Make sure you use these 12 easy tips for creating a website that opens with ease for each visitor. All of these strategic tactics have been proven to boost page load times as well as Google rankings and overall user experiences when used properly.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this guide. If you have any further questions, then feel free to ask below in the comments section. Don’t forget to spread the word with your friends on your social media page too!

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  1. Great post Shane, my 2 cents …
    1. try to move javascript to bottom of the page or at least use “async” property.
    2. you can use server-side cache e.g. varnish in front of apache

  2. All the points are really good and should be followed to make a site load faster on desktop or mobile browser.
    Additionally (if possible) placing the javascript files and scripts before the closing body element also makes pages load faster. Placing JavaScripts in the head section delays the HTML rendering which intern makes site load slower. Inline and internal styling also make sites slower.

    Soumya Roy

  3. Hi Shen, it’s a great post. Image optimization is a must and most important to be kept in mind for site speed optimization. Because an un-optimized image can increase page load time resulting a high bounce rate, loss of potential visitors and conversions. Sometime using CSS Sprite is a best way for reducing server request and page load time. Using EXIF data remover to shed un-wanted Meta data also can reduce image file size. Image compression quality should be kept in mind while using CTRL+SHIFT+ALT+S (save as web) in Photoshop. In general 30% compression can go better while other’s can prefer more …. Thank you for sharing this very important aspect of optimization.

  4. For choosing image type for speed optimization, GIF should be used for flat or repetitive background with few colors while JPEG should be used for detailed photographs and logos. Image should not be scaled i.e. if you need 250 x 150px image, never ever use image with 750 x 650px, instead Photoshop the image or use third party image cropping tool. Thus using proper sized image with proper file type can help to increase site speed.

    Harry Prasad

  5. Thanks for sharing this precious information! Personally I believe that caching and image compression play the most important role for site speed optimization. Recently I connected to CDN, and must admit, it works well for my project.

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