CONTENT MARKETING & DESIGN
5 ways to optimize page load time and UX in 2022
The speed at which your page content loads has a significant impact on UX, SEO, and of course, your reader’s first impression.
If you want your content to get traffic, coverage and search engine recognition, you have to take care of your site performance; of which page speed is crucial.
But,why bother at all? Because, page speed optimization significantly impacts on the user experience (UX), and UX impacts Google's rankings, as well as the impression visitors make of your website.
Users are an impatient bunch, and often equate speed with quality: most are unwilling to wait for pages to load. If a site has performance problems, there’s a high probability they’ll leave your page and visit another resource instead, which is why performance directly affects site metrics, like Bounce Rate and Avg. Time on Page.
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Why is page load time important?
More than half your website visitors abandon a page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. At the same time, 47% of visitors expect a website to load in no more than 2 seconds. In short, page load time is critical.
A few years ago, Google announced that page load speed is one of the most critical indicators for ranking sites on searches. Since then it’s believed they’ve placed even more and more weight on page load speed
Further, Google announced that after May 2021, all search engine results would take into consideration both page load speed and optimization for mobile.They’d be considered equally significant alongside other indicators of Core Web Vitale, which is a set of metrics that display three website health indicators: loading speed, interactivity, and visual stability.
47% of people on the internet
That is, the portion of visitors to your website who expect all websites to load in 2 seconds or less.
It’s now essential that you take into account mobile page load speed – separate to planning web version load speed – when looking at Google search ranking.
How to manage page load time - 5 ways
Speed loading optimization and management are a shared responsibility between the development team and content creators. Here’s five things to consider when creating content for 2022. Also included in the list are key points to discuss with your development team.
1. Plan for image optimization
One of the most important factors affecting the page load speed is image size.
It’s also one of the easiest and most effective ways to increase your page loading speed.
Designers often worry about the quality of photos and pictures, but they forget that the size can critically impact page loading speed.
It’s especially important for the images on the first screen that loads. Ideally, you should always use, design and crop pictures so they fit the device's screen, and are well-compressed.
If the platform you’re using doesn’t modify images, you can prepare correctly sized pictures in advance (depending on the type of content). Of course, you can do this yourself, but there's also various tools that automatically resize and compress images without affecting their quality:
- Imageoptim and Squoosh.app are handy for optimizing images one at a time (optimizing without losing quality and clearing unnecessary metadata).
- Photoshop and other software that lets you optimize images in batches.
- You can also experiment with the format of the images.
In the pursuit of quality, content creators often overuse images in PNG file format – despite the fact that the PNG format doesn’t make sense as an optimal choice for page load speed. For example, it makes no sense to use PNG for photos, while for graphic images it’s often the best option. Experiment with different file formats to choose the best combination of download speed and quality.
And If you use any image libraries (Unsplash or others), choose the proper image size for its use – don’t use original size images (they can be either too big or too small).
2. Optimize and improve images already on your website
There are several options on the development team's side, which can significantly help with the optimization of images already published on your website. These include:
1. Converting images to modern image file formats
It’s worth converting images into modern image formats (webp, etcs). Google mentions using modern image formats as an important influence on the speed of page loading.
2. Lazy Loading
Lazy loading helps speed up image loading below the first screen. This technique is most useful if you’re using a lot of pictures or embeds in your content. However, remember that lazy loading only helps the page load faster the first time – it doesn't solve the problem of heavy images. Hence, the image optimization approaches suggested in the previous section are still important.
3. Using srcset
Improve the responsive image settings so the browser gets the appropriate image size. For example, srcset is an attribute that allows you to specify a set of image sizes, and the browser then chooses the best size to show the user – depending on the user's screen characteristics. In this case, you therefore won't need to optimize the images before uploading them to the site.
3. Include GiFs in place of video formats
Try not to use GiFs, because they almost always dramatically affect page loading speed. Instead, convert your gifs to video formats. They’re optimized much better for page load speed, and have better quality. If you do use a GiF, try using a special service such as giphy or imgur where they are already optimized, or use a service that can help you convert them into video formats.
4. Audit Analytics and trackers
Analytics scripts and trackers are critical factors that also affect page load speed. However, it’s often impossible to refuse to use them. In the case where you do have to use them, it’s essential to periodically audit for sitewise trackers and forms that are no longer used, and when found, promptly disable them.
If possible, try to use all your tools from just one service. Why? Because they’re often better adapted to work together in terms of page load speed. Also consider deferring the loading of some parts of JS trackers, by dividing them into two categories:
- High priority trackers, which should measure every action of every user (i.e., Google Analytics), must be loaded the standard way, as soon as possible in the <head> section.
- Low priority trackers for which the loss of failed visits is acceptable. Consider using deferred loading for feedback forms, segment collection for retargeting and similar tools. Postpone loading for 5-10 seconds or use more advanced techniques. The advantage of faster site loading often pays off against the loss of a small amount of data.
The recommended practice in 2022, is to immediately load only the resources that are needed to display ‘above the fold content’. Other resources may then be loaded in a deferred way and order.
Page load time optimization delivers results
The essential steps needed to optimize your page load speed include:
- Optimizing your images
- Improving your images already published
- Replacing GiF format for video
- Auditing and regularly changing your analytics and tracks
- Looking at using asynchronous load.
Of course, this is only a short list of the steps you should be taking, but they’re important first steps to not only meet the demands for good UX but also faster page load times.
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