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Tools To Improve Website Speed

Looking for tools to speed up your site? We’ve got you covered with this informative guide that contains all the nitty-gritty about website speed.

Photo of Brodey Sheppard
Brodey Sheppard
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Ever wondered how fast your website speed should be? Well, if it’s anywhere over three seconds, it is high time you stepped up your game.

Website optimisation is essential for improving the site speed, conversion rates, search rankings, user experience, among many other things. Think about it- why would users wait for your website to load when other pages can load faster and hence, be more responsive?

Tools To Improve Website Speed

A slow page speed portrays your brand in a bad light. Slow website speed or a web page full of errors look unprofessional. Sometimes a website looks presentable on a desktop but may seem like a disproportionate mess to mobile users. Since you have less time to grasp the users’ attention in the online world, the first impression is indeed the last.

So, let’s take a look at some tools you can use to improve your site’s performance!

What Slows Down Your Website?

Before you start digging into site speed tools, you need to know the root cause of the problem. Let’s start with understanding how a website is loaded and what determines its load time.

When a user types a website name and hits “Enter”, the DNS request gets directed to the server, and the DOM begins to load the CSS, HTML, or JavaScript. Since the DOM usually requires additional resources to load everything, the page speed begins to slow down. Some of the most common deterrents to a smooth and fast website are as follows:

  1. Large images take a considerably long time to load.
  2. Apps, widgets, plugins, and other third-party tools can hinder the site speed.
  3. Too much redirection is bound to slow down the page load time.
  4. Hosting issues caused by a cheap server.
  5. Theme and large files need time to load properly.
  6. HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are some render-blocking codes that increase the loading time of your website.

Tools To Measure Page Speed

To improve page speed, you will have to start with measuring the loading time. With a ton of speed measuring tools, you might be wondering which one works best for you. Hence, we have listed some speed measuring tools that will provide an idea of your website’s performance. Some are paid, while the rest are free tools that can help you get started.

Page Load Bounce Statistic

1. Google PageSpeed Insights

Even amidst various speed tools, Google PageSpeed Insights remains the go-to option for beginners with its simple UI and compatibility with desktop and mobile. Since it is supported by Google, you can check whether the website performance is good enough for high search rankings.

All you have to do is enter the URL of the website on the text bar and click on “Analyse”. Then, PageSpeed Insights will test the content page and provide a score between 0-100. Needless to say, a higher score depicts a faster website.

Besides the speed score, you will get a detailed list of factors that are slowing down the content, along with suggestions to rectify them. Additionally, you will get a separate score for the mobile version.

Overall, this speed testing tool by Google is a simple, beginner-friendly, and effective way to improve page features.

Load Time Impacts On Rankings Infographic

2. Pingdom Website Speed Test

Albeit less informative than Google, Pingdom is another popular tool that’s been around for a while to test page speed. You do not need to log in to use this speed test. Simply add your URL, and it instantly shows the speed and analytics you must know to improve the website performance.

The free trial period allows a single test, while the paid version includes features like speed monitoring and alerting.

3. GTmetrix

For a detailed insight into your site’s performance, getting a registered account on GTmetrix will go a long way in enhancing your page speed. It provides in-depth information on performance, speed, timings, and so on. Other than that, it suggests solutions for the problems your page might be facing and helps make it more responsive.

Without an account, you can test your website from the default location, i.e., Sydney, Australia only. So, we recommend signing up and running the test from different locations, browsers, and connection types.

4. Uptrends

This tool allows you to run a test from either of the ten locations available. You can check the speed and performance of your website on desktop and mobile devices.

It is interesting to note that you can pick the screen resolution while configuring your website on a desktop. This implies that Uptrends will check the website performance with a more comprehensive approach by choosing one of the four browsers- Chrome, PhantomJS, Firefox, and IE. Bandwidth throttling is another consideration it uses to check the website speed under various conditions.

If you register for a paid Uptrends Synthetic account, you will get alerts, basic monitors, message credits, and much more.

5. Google Analytics- Site Speed Suggestions

Another tool by Google, this one is a game-changer for websites with slow load time. Although it shows the score of PageSpeed Insights itself, by showing the analytics differently, you can get a better idea of the user experience.

Google Analytics lists the average page load time and shows the web pages which need immediate optimisation along with the ones which perform the best. Knowing the highly visited web pages will help analyse the factors that may help improve the conversion rates of the rest.

How To Improve Page Speed?

As discussed earlier, there are many culprits behind a slow site speed. Accordingly, many methods can help you with website speed optimisation. Here are some common and easy ways to improve page speed.

Slow Sites Impact Sales Graphic

1. Decrease Image File Size

A website must have images to catch the users’ attention and retain it. However, when image files are too large, the load time gets affected. So, what do you do? Of course, getting rid of images is not an option, you simply must find the perfect size for your image.

Simply compress the images to decrease the size and optimise other factors as well. You can use image optimisation tools like WP Smush to resize images without degrading the quality. Just install and activate the plugin and let it work its way to spruce up your page speed.

Other options for reducing image size are tinypng.com and imagecompressor.com.

2. Reduce Server Response Time

The DNS consists of IP addresses and their respective hostnames. Every time a user enters a URL, the DNS server translates it into the IP address that locates the website. Looking for the exact DNS record is what consumes the most time.

Even a three-second delay can increase the viewer bounce rate by 32%, which can go up to 90% with a five-second delay. Hence, switching your DNS server can be a game-changer in terms of speed optimisation.

How Dns Lookup And Webpage Queries Work

3. Decrease HTTP Requests

Loading a web page creates several requests. Every server contains many coinciding requests, each of which has a separate response. Usually, a web page with many elements like images, scripts and stylesheets creates more HTTP requests, and ultimately, it takes longer to load.

Just like testing the site speed is a prerequisite for decreasing the loading time, tracking the number of server requests is essential for minimising it. However, these numbers may fluctuate if you are using third-party services. For an accurate measurement, you must opt for monitoring tools like Sematext Synthetics.

Another simple method for Google Chrome users is using the Developer Tools present in the browser itself. Right-click on the desired web page and select “Inspect”. Then, choose the “Network” tab, and a window will show the name, size, and time each file takes to load. The total number of HTTP requests will be mentioned in the bottom left corner.

4. Choose The Most Optimised Hosting Option

The hosting provider you choose plays a pivotal role in the load time and user experience of the website. You can select from VPS hosting, Dedicated server, and shared hosting.

Beginners usually opt for cheaper alternatives like a shared server. While this may be sufficient initially with low-traffic, high-volume sites require performance-optimized providers.

Full User Experience Flow Graphic

5. Load CSS And JavaScript Asynchronously

Did you know you can shorten the load times by optimising the way your web page loads? When combining and compressing files is not enough, you can choose to load scripts like JavaScript and CSS asynchronously.

This allows some scripts to load simultaneously if possible, which helps in speeding up the loading process. WP Rocket plugin is a popular choice for performing this web page optimisation step.

6. Minimise TTFB

Time to First Byte (TTFB) is the time taken to get the first byte from the server to the browser. Ideally, a TTFB should amount to anything less than 200 ms. While this is a secondary concern for a website, you can use Chrome’s Developer Tools to understand how long the site takes to send an HTTP request and get the response.

What Is Ttfb On Website Speed

If slow TTFB is the main culprit behind your page speed, you might want to check the network, content of the page, traffic, server configuration, and more.

7. Run A Compression Audit And Enable Compression

Similar to resizing images, other files on the web page also need to be compressed for faster page speed. A page of over 100 KB is relatively slower, which significantly lowers the performance.

You can use third-party tools like GIDNetwork to understand how compression will optimise your website. Just enter the URL and click “Check”. You will get all the required details of the uncompressed website, along with suggestions for potential compression.

Further, you must enable compression with any suitable application that locates replicated codes that can be temporarily replaced. For instance, you can use Gzip to reduce download time and enhance the overall speed of your website.

If your website does not have Gzip enabled, you will have some extra tasks. For an HTML site, you can enable Gzip on your .htaccess file. On the other hand, WordPress users can resort to plugins like W3 Total Cache and WP Rocket to allow the compression process.

8. Minify Files

“Minifying” HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files can improve the appearance of your website. This step is especially beneficial for those who use a template website builder. While these templates are easy for beginners, your website will often have way too many redundant codes, which can increase load times.

Thus, minifying eliminates unnecessary codes, formatting, and whitespace, keeping your web page “light”. Additionally, you can combine multiple HTML, JavaScript and CSS files.

Remember- fewer elements require fewer requests which will result in faster page speed.

9. Enable Browser Caching

By now, you know that entering a URL sends an HTTP request to the server. When the website loads, its elements get stored in your system cache. So, the next time you enter the same URL, the browser does not make another request since the elements are readily available from the cache.

Web Cache Understanding Graphic

For sites that run on WordPress, W3 Total Cache is an easy plugin used to enable browser caching. Alternately, HTML website users can add codes to the .htaccess file for the same.

Tools To Improve Page Speed

Now, you are well-versed with the different tools that can run a speed test on your page and identify the various reasons behind lagging load times. So, what next?

The next and most important step is to use effective tools to make your website more responsive and increase traffic. Some of the options require a sound knowledge of JavaScript and technical server settings, while the rest are easy-peasy. Take a look…

Image Optimisation Tools

Besides resizing images on Photoshop, Paint and other editing software, you can use the tools below to make sure your images are fully optimised.

1. TinyPNG

Simply drag and drop images to reduce their size without any visual difference. With the simple process of “quantisation”, which implies combining similar colours, a complex 24-bit PNG file can be reduced to an 8-bit image. TinyPNG saves bandwidth and decreases loading time.

2. Kraken.io

Kraken.io allows bulk compression of images by quantisation and eliminating junk. You can choose from various modes of compression- lossy, lossless, and expert.

3. PageSpeed Insights Tool

You can check the “Optimise Image” section for “See Optimised Content” links. Click on each link and use them for your website on the PageSpeed Insights Tool. Talk about spoon-feeding!

Mobile Optimization Tools

Percentage Of Mobile Traffic Statistic

Nowadays, cell phones are the most common devices used for browsing the internet. Thus, ensuring a smooth page speed and compatibility on mobiles is important. Most of the time, elements like heavy images, texts, and pop-ups increase the load times on such devices.

You can check the number of mobile users of your website on Google Analytics to decide whether mobile optimization is worth it or not. Some tools for enhancing page speed on mobile devices are Google Analytics, Mobile-Friendly Test by Google, Google Search Console, WebPageTest, etc.

CSS Sprite Tools

You can further combine the images and icons by using CSS Sprite to make your website load faster. This saves the time required to make multiple HTTP requests. Although the process of combining images of various dimensions is quite time-consuming, tools like SpritePad and SpriteCow turn it into a breeze.

UX Optimisation Tools

A great user experience is crucial if you want to make your viewers enjoy and stick to the site and eventually boost the conversion rate.

UX tools will help you make your website more human-centric. In the end, a human will read the content, see the images, make a purchase, and increase your revenue. So, optimising your website according to the needs of users makes a lot of sense.

Some popular UX optimisation tools you must check out are Hotjar, TryMyUI, and UsabilityHub.

Minifying Tools

We have already discussed how minifying files can enhance load speed by getting rid of extra whitespace. The resulting file size is condensed and hard to read but easy to load.

Yet again, Google PageSpeed Insights is a helpful tool for minifying HTML files. W3 Total Cache is another top pick among WordPress users. Third-party tools include YUI Compressor, which works best with CSS and JavaScript to “lighten” the site load.

All-in-One Solution- SiteCentre

We know all of that was quite a lot to digest and may be difficult to understand for beginners. What if we tell you there is a one-stop solution for all of your website optimisation issues? From page speed to ranking in search results, sitecentre has got you covered!

We understand how important technical SEO and user experience are in selling your content and improving the overall conversion rate of your brand. Even after establishing an online presence, the grind never stops; in fact, it gets even more challenging. So, let us handle the task for you.

Our team of professionals will provide all the technical support required for site optimisation, and your search rankings will shoot up like never before. Still doubtful? Feel free to call us, and we will answer all your queries and help you get started.

The first step to a new, improved, and fast website starts here!


Photo of Brodey Sheppard

Brodey Sheppard

Brodey is the CEO of sitecentre and a data-analyst in the SEO, Paid advertising space who uses machine learning and AI to advance sitecentre as an industry-leading digital marketing agency across Australia.

Find them on their website: sitecentre, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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