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5 steps to improve Page Speed and boost page performance

The eighth installment of the #SuccessStack takes a second look at page speed, specifically tips you can implement that may improve your metrics.

Last week the #SuccessStack illustrated lots of reasons why mobile Page Speed is critically important to the ongoing success of your publishing business. Now you can explore what you can do that could improve this metric and boost your overall page performance as a result.

Step 1: See how much more you could earn

Before you put time and effort into improving your mobile speed, you want to see what it’s worth to you. This useful tool will help you make a personal calculation of how much more you could earn with a faster mobile experience. However, this tool does not calculate user experience or user loyalty, both of which are impacted by either a fast, or slow, mobile experience.


Step 2: Look at how you measure up

Using tools to measure different aspects of your site will help you identify areas for improvement more easily than if you were to just estimate. Here are a few of our favorites:


  • Page Speed Insights analyzes your site performance, scoring its speed and user experience and identifies issues to fix. The best practice is a score of 85 or above.1
  • Webpagetest provides a Speed Index that indicates the average time at which visible parts of the page are displayed. Aim for a Speed Index of 3,000 or less and load time of 3 seconds or less — ideally 1-3 seconds.2
  • Chrome DevTools is a versatile real-time tool for evaluating your website’s performance right in the browser. You can simulate network and CPU speeds, examine network loading details and see how your site’s code is impacting your page.
  • Mobile-Friendly Test is designed specifically for mobile sites. This tool analyzes exactly how mobile-friendly the site is, and focuses on elements beyond speed as well. 

Step 3: Have a clear out - reduce the size of your pages.

Reduce the size of your pages.

  • Target 50 or fewer requests and 1,000 or fewer bytes to optimize load time. 
  • Compress and select efficient images, and prioritize download of visible content.
Assess the ads and trackers running on your page.
  • Use a tool to measure the bandwidth and latency impact of pixels and other elements on your pages (e.g., Ghostery). Evaluate if trackers are needed and used, and if they provide enough benefit.
  • Review latency of your ad partners, especially those delivering video ads, and remove low performing monetization partners.

Step 4: Prioritize the order your page loads in

It sounds obvious, but prioritizing loading of the elements that are visible above the fold will enhance your user experience, even of your net page loading speed doesn’t change.

 

  • Prioritize loading elements that are visible above the fold first: Minimize the amount of pieces that show above the fold of visible content. Load styling, javascript logic and images that are only accessed after direct interaction later. 
  • Enable HTTPS and HTTP/2: Support modern HTTPS to provide site integrity, encryption, authentication, and better user experience. More than 1-in-3 of top 100 sites run on modern HTTPS, and a quarter of them use HTTPS by default
  • Limit server requests where possible: Each mobile page makes an average of 214 server requests,3 some of which happen simultaneously and some that can only happen one after the other. Review each request on your site to understand the benefit it provides.  

Step 5: Measure, test, repeat

As the shift to mobile continues to grow, so will users expectations of lighting speed experiences across the web. This means that improving your mobile speed isn’t a one off job, you need to have a process in place to regularly evaluate and improve it. Follow the steps outlined above at regular intervals and record the results of the adjustments you make to refer back to when deciding on new optimization techniques in the future.

 

  • Continually assess your ad-related calls to remove low performing monetization partners.
  • Pick third-party ad-tech partners with lower latency.
  • Remove or reduce any bulky content.
  • Consolidate data and analytics tags.
  • Investigate open-source tools such as Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and Progressive Web Apps (PWA). 
Implementing the strategies outlined in this article could have a serious positive impact on your business. Check out these inspirational stories from Sinclair News and What to Expect to see how significant shifts in mobile speed were achieved with a few technical tweaks. 

 

Next steps 

From your interest in Page Speed, you’re clearly committed to doing all you can to improve the performance of your site and grow your publishing business. With this in mind, you may benefit from a chat with one of our experts. They can offer a personalized consultation to help you make the right technology choices to support your business growth. Book a time.

1 Google Developers 

2 Google and kissmetrics 

3 DoubleClick, “The Need for Mobile Speed”, , September 2016