Page speed and site speed are very different even though they get lumped together. They both impact conversions, UX and pageviews, and this summer page speed becomes a ranking signal while site speed is still a good practice. Here are the differences between the two and how to begin working on both to help improve site performance, organic rankings and conversions.
(note, the links in this post are advertisements (affiliate links). If any of them aren’t, I’ll change them out once a program becomes available).
What is site speed?
Site speed is the speed at which your site loads as users go through it. From the time the page renders to the click through and finally users converting in your shopping cart or lead form. Site speed is about rendering, pre-rendering and seamlessly guiding people through the various important paths and funnels you define within your site.
You can begin optimizing site speed by working on:
- minifying and combining sitewide css and js
- deferring render blocking scrips
- Removing excessive scripts and pieces from those files
- Applying a good CDN
- Caching the site properly (I use this for wordpress sites) you can save 15% with code Adam15.
- Removing outdated scripts or code and http/s requests
- Deleting unused themes, scripts, code, databases and unpublished UGC
- Reducing the amount of http and https requests
- Properly naming and sizing site wide assets
- And anything else that impacts the main frame of the website
What is page speed?
Page speed refers to decreasing the load time of a specific page on your website or blog. It is similar to site speed, but when looking at page speed you focus on specific on page attributes and optimize their performance. This could be important for rankings because if the user is on a non-internet connected mobile device and the content is equal, if one page loads in 10 seconds and the other in 5, the 5 second load time is the better user experience and therefore should be given the priority and ranking.
How to make page speed faster:
- Lazy load images (although this makes them not as SEO friendly)
- Minify image sizes on the page
- Remove excessive images
- Delete any scripts, font families or anything being pulled that are not actually used on the page
- Check for plugins, referred products and widgets that aren’t being used (through UX tools) and remove those
- If possible, stop scripts or remove scripts from the rendering and loading process that aren’t important for the page
- Look to see if any old scripts, tracking pixels or anything else had been placed on the page and remove them
- Anything else that is unique to the specific page that causes it to load slower and that isn’t important to loading it
Now that we know what the differences are between the two and have a few starting points, it’s time to figure out where to begin implementing.
The first thing to do is look at your site as a whole. Go into analytics and any recording tools like this one to find where users are getting stuck, bouncing and experience issues on the site. It could be categories or specific pages. Maybe it is leaving for your cart and the cart is loading slow. This is where you determine that.
Next look for your most important pages SEO wise. What is bringing in the most sales, then traffic and then conversions. Now go through one by one and begin working on their individual page speeds. If it’s a product, use the tool I mentioned above to see if specific image shots are not being used. You can pull them. Maybe people aren’t engaging with the social features or widgets for reviews and feedback. These are all things you can do to help increase the page speed. You might even find that specific images weren’t saved correctly and can be minified or reduced in size to work on your page speed.
Now that you know where to look and how to improve your site speed and page speed, it’s time to do a few larger tests. For these you can use site speed tools. If you subscribe to certain tool sets, you may have a tester that you pay for and can give you some detailed and specific results. If not, there are plenty of free ones from webpagetest to pingdom and builtwith (even though that isn’t a speed test). These will help you to see what is render blocking, find blog plugins that are loading before your page or are no longer being used and also excessive code, tools and scripts that exists within the pages you’re working on or your site in general. By using these tools you now have a road map for even more site and page speed optimization.
If you have any questions about site speed or page speed, or just want help or an audit, leave a comment below or use the contact form on the right and I’ll be happy to help.