Nowadays, the speed of websites is playing an even bigger role, especially thanks to mobile devices. As technology and connectivity evolve, so do user requirements. There are hardly any options these days - websites need to be fast.
Browsing websites on mobile devices is very common today, and the number of mobile users is constantly growing. It is therefore extremely important to also take mobile users into account when creating websites.
About half of mobile users stop loading websites after 3 seconds, meaning that the bounce rate on a slow website can be huge. According to Google, a mobile user also leaves a website 5 times easier if the website lacks mobile optimization.
So websites today need to be both fast and mobile friendly. In practice, modern websites must load in less than 2 seconds and run on different devices, so these must also be responsive.
Here are 5 important and noteworthy things about website speed. The list could be longer, but it’s good to start with these.
The server does significantly less work when it comes to static websites, and these are usually nice and fast to browse. Static websites also tend to withstand visitor spikes better than dynamic websites, meaning there may be more concurrent visitors.
Dynamic websites (such as those made with Wordpress) consume more server resources, and therefore load more slowly. In addition, dynamic websites must take security into account.
If there is no particular need for a dynamic website, you should implement the website as static.
A slow server on the other side of the world can significantly slow down websites. It is important that the server responds quickly, and is located at least fairly close to the user.
It is a good idea to serve static files through a Content Distribution Network (CDN), which is designed to distribute files to users up close and fast.
Sometimes it is necessary to add for example a chat box or an external booking system to your site. These should be added carefully, as these may affect the speed of your website.
Images with large file sizes easily slow down pages, especially on slow connections. The sleek user experience is achieved with optimized images that are not too much on one page.
It is a good idea to leverage the user's browser cache. In practice, the user does not always have to reload files from the server if these are already found in their browser's cache. This saves bandwidth and speeds up loading times.
Search engine optimization today needs to take into account website speed, as Google in particular values fast sites. Google has reported in 2010 that website speed is a ranking factor. At the time, it was computer users. In 2018, this was announced for mobile searches as well.
Tests based on Google's user experience (Core Web Vitals) will be a ranking factor in May 2021. More on these below.
Performance can be measured, for example, with Google's PageSpeed Insights test, which gives points to the websites you test. Tests are performed on both the computer and mobile versions of the website.
You can easily take the test at https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ and start the test by filling in the website address field and clicking the Analyze button. When the test is complete, the scores, times and problem areas / suggestions for improvement are displayed.
In addition to lab data, some sites show field data that has been collected anonymously from real users. If Google does not have enough information, the field data will not be displayed. In practice, the field data comes from real users, and the laboratory data is Google's own simulation. There are differences in the results of the two, due to e.g. that the real users have different devices and connections.
According to Google, a good result is 90+ points, 50-89 means that the page requires optimization, and less than 50 points is bad. 100 points is quite difficult to get when the pages need to have content and you usually also want the site to look good. In practice, 90+ points is already an excellent result.
The LCP, FID, and CLS shown in the test are related to Google’s Core Web Vitals metrics, which measure the user experience of pages.
The time in seconds before the user sees the largest content element on the page. Less than 2.5 seconds is considered good for the user experience.
This measures user interactivity (e.g. when a user clicks on a button on a page). This value should be less than 100 milliseconds.
The visual stability of the page, that is, whether the elements change position on the page during loading. The value should be less than 0.1. The higher the value, the more elements move on the page during loading, which is bad for the user experience.
The time in seconds before the user sees the first part of the page.
Indicates how quickly the content of the page appears. More than 5.8 seconds is slow, 4.4-5.8 seconds is moderate and 0-4.3 seconds is fast.
The time before the page is fully interactive, after which all functions on the page are available.
A time that prevents interactivity when a user cannot access functions on a page.
Websites created with Oidom are published statically to servers around the world. This way they always load quickly and the server is always as close to the user as possible. Oidom automatically optimizes sites and images, and the user is not required to take any special measures to optimize. The pages also work directly on mobile devices, and of course quickly. Speed is one of Oidom's most important features.
The author is one of the founders of Oidom. He has been dealing with websites and servers for over 20 years.