Whether you have an in-house developer in charge of your website, or you’re looking for a web design company to get your site to the top, understanding how your web design can affect site speed is important to improving your overall SEO success. After an announcement in January 2018, site speed officially became a ranking factor for Google’s index and Google’s given advice that pages should load in 5 seconds or less while the user is on 3G, this isn’t something that can be ignored. Here, we’re taking a look at just how you can increase your site speed with your web design.


  • Optimise Your Image Files


One of the biggest culprits for poor site speed is the size of your image files. The larger the file, the longer it takes to load. Run your images through an optimisation tool to reduce the image file size – in most cases, this won’t affect the quality, however you can often adjust the amount the file size is reduced by to account for this if you find the result has left the image looking grainy or blurred.


  • Implement Lazy Loading


Implemented Lazy Loading is essentially the act of deferring the loading of content where you can. This can include loading the page as the user scrolls rather than all at once, or, in the case of images, placing them into a ‘carousel’ style format that only loads the larger image when a thumbnail is clicked. This not only speeds up the loading time but can actually improve the overall usability of the page.


  • Reduce Image Sizes Manually, Not Through HTML


When you leave it up to your website’s HTML to resize an image, you’re giving it yet another task to do when loading the page. While this might not take long individually, in the grander scheme of things, this can have a huge effect on site speed. One image left up to HTML can go unnoticed, but the more images that rely on HTML resizing, the longer your page will take to load. Instead, manually resize your images in photoshop or your editor of choice, according to the shape of the element you’re filling.


  • Choose The Right Image Type


The file format you use for your images can also influence the loading time of the whole page. PNGs take a considerably higher amount of memory and data to load than a JPEG, and for this reason, should only be used for images where transparency is needed at certain points. Any other images can be uploaded as JPEGs in order to reduce the weight of an image. 


  • Optimise Caching 


Your websites should utilise web caching as much as possible, as this will encourage the web browser to cache files for later use. This means that every time the user comes back to your site, key elements like images, CSS and JavaScript code will already be ready and raring to go. By doing this,  you can reduce loading times for returning visitors, or for users that may be exploring your site and returning to different pages throughout their journey. 

Site speed is a crucial part of search engine optimisation and needs to be a core part of the web design process. From enabling caching for your website to optimising and reducing image sizes properly, you can speed up the overall site speed and give your site a better chance of being ranked highly in the SERPs.