What is page speed?
Page speed is a metric composed of several different factors that relate to how quickly a web page loads and is interactive on desktop and mobile devices. Websites and webapps are scored between 1-100 with 1 being an incredibly slow experience and 100 being an incredibly fast one.
We know for certain that page speed on mobile devices has a direct effect on rankings, with google preferring pages that provide a fast, data and power efficient experience. Webmasters looking to improve their SEO can use page speed remedial actions as a good jump off point for on-site optimization.
How is page speed influenced by website design?
Clients often ask for the most flashy and impressive content possible above the fold, in the form of videos, animations and moving images to capture their audience and solidify the quality of their brand. While there are ways of minimizing the impact videos and animations can have on load times, often these are the main culprits in reducing our page speed scores. We can retain these more resource intensive elements if we choose our technologies carefully, avoid bulk and ensure our videos and images are correctly compressed and formatted.
What page speed factors are there?
When we look at page speed, the main factors you see in scores are
Image optimization: how compressed your image is, what format it is presented in, is it enabled for lazy loading
CSS/JS optimisation: is your page using unnecessary CSS or JS? Is non-essential CSS/JS being called before the page loads? Is your CSS/JS minified and served progressively?
Render Blocking Resources: Is your website configured in a way that certain unnecessary resources must be loaded before the page itself begins showing on users’ screens?
Server Response Time: Is the server you are using geographically close, able to serve the content required efficiently, is it under a heavy load from other functions or services?
How can I improve page speed?
There are automated services that can help you tick a lot of boxes regarding page speed if you are using a CMS like WordPress, Shopify or Magento. My favourite to use with WordPress is LiteSpeed cache, when paired with a LiteSpeed server, achieving high page speed scores is easy and replicable.
If you’re using a website or webapp with a custom CMS, you can skip a lot of the heavy lifting by using a service like Cloudflare to optimise your code and images for you, this lets them act as an optimisation middleman between your project and the end user without having to touch any of your original code.
You can read a bit more about manual optimization here.