Breaking the speed limit

6 min read by Joshua Clare-Flagg 10 Dec 2021

“There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

Whilst there’s no denying Gandhi’s brilliant wisdom, unfortunately, us at StrategiQ have to disagree with this statement. Let’s try another one:

“I feel the need, the need for speed.” ― Maverick, Top Gun

Now this is a statement we can get on board with. Ever since Google announced that speed is indeed a factor for Google Search performance in 2018, they’ve aggressively been rolling out update after update to their PageSpeed Insights tool. In fact, in 2021 so far, we’ve seen 10 updates to the tool – 3 of which are major (v7 in February, v8 in June, v9 in November). Never have we seen such a huge spike in major updates in such a short amount of time.

As such, the pressure has never been greater for websites to perform in a high-speed manner, zooming through the digital world much like Speedy Gonzales.

As a world-class agency, we’ve been committed to concentrating on speed optimisation and website performance over the past few months, to ensure we are leading the pack in how we develop each and every one of our WordPress websites.

One of our recent websites highlights this incredible achievement

SportsAid Eastern – If you run it through Google’s WebSpeed Insights (go on… I dare ya), at the time of writing you’ll see a score of over at least 90/100 on mobile and desktop, which classes as a pass. Whilst these can and will most likely fluctuate, anything over 90 provides that ever-so-coveted green pass and Google smiles. I know what you’re thinking though: “90? So what? It’s not even 100!”

Ask any web agency, and they’ll say that scoring a pass is harder than you may think. For instance; high-profile sites such as the BBC, YouTube, and Google themselves don’t pass the stringent tests. You’d think if it was easy, they would be able to get those two green donuts of delight. 

So how have we done it?

Without giving away too much information (otherwise our development boffins will fall out with us), we’ve focused on the following simple mantra:

“Load as little as possible, as quickly as possible”.

This means that each and every page will only ever have the assets required for what’s on it. So all CSS and Javascript files have been chunked, and are enqueued depending on what’s rendered on the page. This cuts down on unnecessary bloat and unused code being loaded on every page, “trimming the fat”, as it were. 

We also stop as much as possible from being render-blocking. A key technique is to inline the above-the-fold styles in the <head> to avoid a flash of unstyled content (FOUC), and load the rest at the bottom of the page. This also results in a whoppingly quick First Input Delay and a low Largest Contentful Paint and Cumulative Layout Shift.

In addition to this, Javascript is delayed (apart from the important stuff, like Google Tag Manager), reducing the First Input Delay.

It all sounds great to have a high scoring site, but does it really matter that much?

Most definitely! As was mentioned in the offset, not only does it help with your organic ranking, but it also helps with your site’s conversion performance. The following stats are taken from this article on Hubspot:

– Website conversion rates drop by an average of 4.42% with each additional second of load time (between seconds 0-5)

– Nearly 70% of consumers admit that page speed impacts their willingness to buy from an online retailer

– As page load time goes from one second to 10 seconds, the probability of a mobile site visitor bouncing increases 123%

– The probability of bounce increases 32% as page load time goes from 1 second to 3 seconds

– The highest ecommerce conversion rates occur on pages with load times between 0-2 seconds

So, do you want a rapid site that performs well, both organically and in its conversions? Get the StrategiQ boffins on it. Over 70% of the development department have a beard, and if that’s not enough for you then head on over to our client stories section to see the awesome work we’ve completed recently.

At StrategiQ, you can be sure you’re in good hands. We pride ourselves in our world-class solutions, and we’d be delighted to build a website for you which passes Google’s Core Web Vitals. Get in touch now to discuss your requirements.

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