Marketing teams should be placing a high priority on website speed. Why? Because Google will rank fast sites higher in the search results pages. Optimizing website speed is not the only factor, but it's a huge one.

If you're working on improving site speed, here are 5 factors to consider.

Cathy Webb, our Web Development Manager, is super knowledgeable on this subject and put this together for our clients.

1. Hosting:

Lower server/hosting plans may provide insufficient resources. Cheaper hosting that has shared hosting will not perform as well as a dedicated server. Cheaper shared hosting also has a higher risk of being compromised. We recommend hosting websites on Pantheon.

2. Images/Assets:

Our ideal image/asset size that is uploaded to the site should be under 600KB. Anything over 1MB starts triggering a “high impact” warning on site speed reporting sites. Having large image assets creates a scenario where site visitors may see larger image load times/images loading in choppy. Images should be 72 dpi and exported at 80% quality.

3. Analytics/Tracking:

All the tracking software marketers sign up for gets thrown on the website and impacts site speed. Google Tag Manager is a wonderful way to house analytic scripts, however it leaves the potential to have scripts with unexpected payloads. If those scripts also error out or have a long response time, this may decrease your site speed and your site speed scores. It's good to clean up GTM every once and a while.

4. Integrations:

Some integrations (ex. Marketo forms, Wistia, etc.) may have necessary scripts that are brought into the site that may impact site load speed. Some tools development brings in for specific site usage (such as heavy animation) may see a slightly longer load time. Most of the time these integrations are hard to avoid. Just something to be aware of when considering site speed.

5. Plugins: 

It's a no-no to solve every need on your website with a plugin as they add files to your website and cause the website to be bloated over time. Translation plugins are necessary for international companies. However they can slow down the website so that's something to be aware of when considering website performance. Security plugins can also impact speed. It is better to invest in a good hosting provider first then add on additional security plugins if necessary.

Other Miscellaneous Reasons: 

Some site speed testing sites may have a preference bias. Ex. Lighthouse may grade a site to have poor load experience due to using specific image formats. We have found that Lighthouse (a Google product) wants image assets to be WebP and AVIF, which is their preferred image extension. However this is not yet supported across all browsers, due to it being such a modern image extension.

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