Website load time is a critical metric to keep track of as it impacts the usability of your site as well as your rankings in search engines. In April of last year Google announced they were adding site speed as a new signal in their ranking algorithm. It makes a lot of sense, search engines are obsessed with speed and performance because it directly impacts how their customers, the web searcher, will interact with the results they find.
This also goes back to the most important rule of SEO, design for the user, and the user wants the fastest site possible. I read a great tip recently about a truly simple and effective method for improving website load time and I’ve begun employing it across multiple brands, and it’s working like a charm. In fact, this blog itself now uses this technique so along with being on a shiny new server, it’s also optimized to load much quicker than before.
One of the biggest ways you can increase your site speed is by reducing the amount of time it takes for the images on your site to load. You can dramatically improve your website load time by hosting your images on another server, especially a lighting fast server like Amazon S3. This means that every time your website loads images, rather than making the request to the same server that is loading the site itself, it is making the request to Amazon S3 which is a blazing fast server, you’re now running the two tasks in parallel.
You can monitor your spite speed for free with Pingdom, which is completely free and can help you easily determine which elements of your site are contributing the most to your load time.
That’s it! In most cases it will take you under 20 minutes to make this entire change and you can easily test the impact of the change and see how your load speed has improved after the fact. Remember, this not only improves the usability of your site but it has been confirmed as a signal in Google’s ranking algorithm so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be looking for every way possible to optimize your site speed. Now get out there and tune your site for maximum performance!