Page speed is a crucial component of the Google search engine algorithm.
That means that Google isn’t just looking at the content on your self-storage website to determine how your page ranks, but they are also looking at its performance.
In other words: If your website is too slow, it can hurt your rankings on the search engine results page. That means potential customers aren’t finding your website and they aren’t reserving units using your online booking system. That right there is a missed revenue opportunity.
So how do you open up the throttle and make your website zip?
Unfortunately, there usually isn’t one quick fix to speed up your website. Rather, there are several actions you can take to improve the performance of your website. Added together, these actions should result in faster page load speeds and better results for your website rankings.
But before we get to that, let’s first take a quick look at what page speed is, and why it matters.
What is page speed?
Page speed describes how fast your website loads. As you well know, few have patience to deal with a slow loading website, or one that stalls out when trying to complete a purchase. That’s why Google favors websites that meet certain performance benchmarks, and slightly faster speeds than your competitor can give you a leg up over them on organic rankings.
How is page speed measured?
There are a few different ways, but these two are the most fundamental metrics:
- Page load time: The amount of time it takes to completely load a website from start to finish.
- Time to first byte: The amount of time it takes for a browser to receive the first byte of information for a website from the server.
Google measures page speed by looking at some additional metrics:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This is how long it takes for a site to load the largest content element, such as a featured banner image.
- First Contentful Paint (FCP): This is how long it takes for a website to display any element at all, an important signal to the user that the site is responding.
- First Input Delay (FID): This is how long it takes for a response to happen after a user interacts with an element, such as clicking on a “Rent Now” button.
The bottom line is that if your website isn’t usable in a few seconds after the visitor enters your URL, they are more likely to bounce back to the search results page and choose another self-storage provider. That sends a negative signal to Google that may result in lower rankings and promote other faster websites instead (your competitors).
How fast should a website load?
In the eyes of Google, the faster the better. But as long as your time to first byte is under 200 milliseconds, then you are in a good place already. If your time to first byte (TTFB) is more than 200ms, then you have some work to do. Between 200 and 500ms is an average TTFB.
When it comes to overall page load speed, you want your website to load on average in under two seconds. That is Google’s threshold for ecommerce site acceptability and that standard ought to apply to self-storage websites as well. Any slower and you risk losing organic rankings, which limits your website’s discoverability.
Keep in mind recommendations are for visitors with a desktop computer. Connection speeds vary depending on whether users are using wireless internet on a mobile device or a wired connection at work or home.
How to check your page speed
You might be wondering, how do you know how fast your website is?
Google provides the PageSpeed Insights tool that measures your page speed. Enter any URL and see how it measures up. The information is a bit technical, but you can get a sense of how your website is performing with color-coded indicators. You can also check your local competitors and see how your website performance compares to theirs.
How to speed up your website
Speeding up your website isn’t usually a quick fix, and you might need to hire someone with the right expertise to help. One place to start is with the Diagnostics section of the PageSpeed insights dashboard. Checking that out will give you an idea of the type of actions that incrementally increase page speed.
Here’s a quick list of some ways to speed up a website:
- Optimize code by removing spaces, commas, and extra characters.
- Keep all redirects to a minimum.
- Use a CDR, or content distribution network, which hosts copies of your website on multiple servers located around the world.
- Upload images no larger than they need to be to display properly on the website.
As you can see, a lot of different things can help or hurt your page speed. Making your website faster is an ongoing process, and requires regular maintenance to keep up to speed.
Speed up your website with Storable
Increasing the speed of your website is a tall order, especially if you are a small shop. Instead you might consider a facility website from Storable, which is completely customizable to your business and fully-optimized for speed.
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