The Way to OPTIMIZE A SQUARESPACE WEBSITE FOR SITE SPEED

If you have done any research into SEO practices, you’ll understand that website speed is pretty significant.

Site or page speed is a ranking factor employed by Google, giving sites with faster speeds precedent in search results. It is all part of providing better results to their users as the fact is, people don’t want to hang around for slow-loading sites.

The answer is, not complete control, however you still have options to maximize website speed.

Here’s what you can do:

Get our checklist version here: Things to do to speed up your Squarespace website

SEO is important in terms of your site getting found in search results, however, that’s not the only reason to prioritize site rank. Think about what you do if you land on a web site that takes a long time to load.

Most individuals won’t hang about. This analysis shows they’ll depart the site if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds. This looks like a short time, but with improvements in internet speeds through time, we’ve been prepared to expect that things must work fast. If not, there’s bound to be a rival website to check out instead.

So while SEO is a concern, there is another thing which should be a bigger concern: consumer experience. Improving site speed delivers a much better user experience and means that your site visitors are more inclined to stick around a little longer.

Evaluation your website first

How will you know if your wordpress site speed test requires less than three seconds to load, or if any changes you’ve made any difference to speed? You may test your website rank first.

There are a few different tools available to assist and many will also generate a report highlighting problem areas. This is helpful so you are not left to guess.

Squarespace recommends that you use their built in tools, or even a tool such as Pingdom to ensure you’re getting accurate results. If you’re using the Google Chrome browser, then you can follow these steps:

Click on the Network tab.

Refresh the page to display the Load time.

They state this is prone to error because it is designed for programmers who code their sites from scratch and can yield false negatives for Squarespace websites which are built on a custom CMS. That means in the event that you use it and register a mistake, that does not necessarily imply there is anything wrong with webpage rank on your website.

Methods to speed up a Squarespace website

Listed below are a Couple of areas where you may be able to reduce load speed of your site and of individual pages:

This is a basic that we’d anticipate most designers to be familiar with, yet large image files continue to be often the culprit behind slow-loading pages. We know – you are attempting to strike the right balance with image quality and retain that sharp appearance onscreen, but you don’t require print quality pictures to attain this.

Some key items to remember are:

Use JPG over PNG many of the time (a few vector images do not look so great in JPG).

Maintain the image width low. Squarespace advises that you don’t go past 1500 – 2000 pixels in diameter, although sometimes, you could have the ability to make them smaller.

The Getty stock pictures or free Unsplash images you can download and add directly through Squarespace are often large. To make them smaller, you can download them in the webpage you’ve put them and use an image resizing tool to reduce file size.

There are numerous free image resizing tools. For example: PicResize, ResizeImage and Tiny PNG.

TURN ON SSL

A sort of”quick win” using Squarespace website speed is to be certain you’re using the SSL option. Why? Because your website is going to be delivered via the faster HTTP/2 protocol.

You can also consider switching to the HSTS option, that has been proven to improve security and SEO. These two are found under Settings > Advanced > SEO and any changes can take up to 72 hours to become active.

CONSIDER AMP FOR BLOG POSTS

Switching on AMP (Accelerated Mobile Web Pages) can considerably improve page rank for blog posts, particularly on mobile devices. It is pretty important to remember mobile once you’re taking a look at page rate because so much browsing action happens on cellular devices.

When AMP is switched on it is going to deliver quite fast-loading blog pages to mobile users, provided that people have been accessed via a Google search.

AMP operates by stripping out”non-essential” programming by a page and using clever caching to load pages immediately. It is worth reading up on it first as it disables quite a few standard Squarespace blocks, such as form blocks and code blocks.

WATCH THIRD-PARTY SCRIPTS

There are all types of third-party scripts you may be working on a Squarespace site, including those associated with plugins you choose to add. As a rule of thumb, only add those that are absolutely necessary to accomplish the performance you want on your site – extras may slow you down.

If you’ve had your website going for a while and you’re not sure what impact third party scripts are having on web site speed, it is well worth doing an audit. The website speed tools we discussed earlier can inform you that are slowing your site down.

Another thing we’d suggest is being rather discerning in the first place about which third party plugins you allow. A general rule would be to select reputable, well-reviewed tools that have a clear history of regular upgrades by the proprietor. Plugins that aren’t kept updated can really drag a site down.

DON’T GO TOO FONT-CRAZY!

We all know. Some fonts are just so trendy, you need to get them on your website. Web fonts can really produce the appearance of a website, however the problem is they can also drag down load rate.

There are a set of typefaces which are considered “web safe” with nominal effect on site speed, but naturally these are the dull ones, like Times New Roman or Arial. Most individuals do opt to use some form of internet fonts to spice up the appearance of the webpage.

Here are some items to think about:

There is some evidence to suggest that Google Fonts load more rapidly than Typekit fonts. (Both of which can be found in Squarespace’s web font library).

Try to stick with just one web font. If you go too”font-crazy,” it is likely to slow your site down.

Have you got embedded videos on your Squarespace website? If this is the case, choosing the custom thumbnail alternative for video embeds can help improve speed.

There are two or three reasons for this: firstly, without the custom thumbnail, Squarespace might have to look up content and load it from any site the video is uploaded too (e.g. YouTube or even Vimeo). This occurs even if the visitor does not click on the video and may cause a lag if big files are being loaded.

Secondly, doing without a habit thumbnail leaves you open to third party biscuits being run in your site – yet another speed bump.

ENABLE AJAX LOADING

If you’re running Squarespace 7.0, certain templates permit you to allow Ajax loading (asynchronous Javascript and XML). This means it can tell browsers to load your site page at a time, speeding the total load time for visitors.

Last thoughts

Squarespace recommends that wherever possible, restricting your pages to under 5mb in size. This ought to keep you close to optimal performance speed-wise.

The hints listed above should keep your pages below that 5mb threshold. We would also add that it’s important to avoid too many embeds on one page. These can otherwise invite third-party scripts to operate and may inhibit your speed.

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