What is Page Speed and Why is it Important?

Date: September 8, 2022

In today’s day and age, people don’t have the time or patience to wait for a website to load. In fact, 40% of consumers will wait no more than 3 seconds before they decide to leave a site and try another. This makes understanding what page speed is and its value to users all the more critical. 

What is Page Speed? 

Page Speed is the speed at which the content on the pages of your website takes to load. When looking at your page speed, it is important to consider both the mobile and desktop score. Due to Google’s mobile-first indexing, it’s important to place an emphasis on ensuring your mobile score is thoroughly optimized. Mobile-first indexing means that Google is now using the mobile version of your website for ranking and indexing purposes.  

How to Identify Your Website’s Page Speed

There are many tools out there that will show you what the page speed score of your website is. Our personal favorite at 9Sail is the Page Speed Insights Report created by Google. When we run this test, we look for two things: first, we examine both the mobile and desktop speed. When evaluating the scores, we like to see them in the 90+ range which appears as green. The second aspect we look at is whether the website passes Core Web Vitals. 

It’s important to note that page speed scores can vary day-to-day. For example, one day you may check your scores and note that they are 80 for mobile and 98 on desktop; while the next day you could check and find them at 85 for mobile and 92 for desktop. This is nothing to worry about – it’s just important to be aware that your score can regularly fluctuate by about 10 points or so. 

Factors That Affect Page Speed 

When it comes to page speed, there are many factors that could contribute to a low score. Below, you will find a few of those factors potentially affecting your page speed. 

Poor Hosting 

The hosting provider and plan you choose for your website have a large impact on page speed. For example, while many people opt to use a shared hosting plan due to its cost-effectiveness, this could cause your load time to be negatively impacted. This is why when you are deciding on a hosting plan you need to keep in mind the number of users that are coming to your site on a daily basis. The more users you get, the better hosting plan you’ll need.  

Unminified JavaScript and CSS Files  

When your website has unminified JavaScript and CSS files, it can cause slow page load time. In order to fix this, you’ll want to minify these files by optimizing your code. The minification process consists of removing unnecessary characters from the code of your website. A developer is the best person to help you with fixing your unminified JavaScript and CSS files. 

Too Many Redirects 

Having too many redirects can cause slow load time because each time a page redirects to another, users will have to wait additional time for the request response cycle to complete in order to direct them to the correct page. 

Too Many Plugins 

While plugins are great, having too many can be harmful to your page speed. This is why it’s important to review the plugins you have installed and remove any that have not been used in a while, as well as those you do not plan to use in the future. 

Unoptimized Media

To help improve page speed, you’ll want to make sure that images and videos are properly optimized. In order to do so, you want to ensure that images are not larger than they need to be. 

Why is Page Speed Score Important? 

Page Speed and Core Web Vitals are factors that Google takes into consideration when determining the rank of your website. In fact, in 2018 there was an algorithm update that put a strong emphasis on ensuring that websites are fast enough to satisfy users in order to find the information they’re looking for in a timely manner.  Essentially, having a slow loading website can hurt the ranking of your website. 

In addition, having a properly optimized page speed score enhances the user experience on your website as just a one-second delay in load time will decrease user satisfaction by 16%. With that said, having a good user experience is a win-win situation. This is because you satisfy both the users coming to your site and the Google bots that crawl your site. Also, having a positive user experience and quick page load time can decrease bounce rates, which in turn keeps users on your site longer and helps increase the number of leads you receive. 

Need Help Determining If Your Website Has Page Speed Issues?

As you now realize page speed is something you should be paying attention to. At 9Sail, we are here to help with your website because when your website is in tip top shape your rankings will see a positive effect. Contact us today!