As our technology gets more advanced over time, we expect immediate access to online information. Based on the study by Akamai, it shows that web users have shorter attention spans as they expect web page speed to load within 2 seconds. Anything longer, will likely lead them to abandon the site and find information elsewhere.
If you want to convert a random visitor into a customer, you need to give them a reason to stay and engage with your website. Website speed is just as important as creating beautiful web design and useful content.
In today’s article, we’re going to share with you the importance of fast site speed as well as actionable tips to boost your website speed.
Top 2 Reasons of Having a Fast Website Load Time
- Rank on top of Google’s SERPs.
In 2010, Google announced that they consider page speed as one of their ranking factors. Therefore, websites with slow page speed will have a harder time ranking on top results. It may not be the strongest factor of them all, but it’s still very important when ranking against your competitors in search engines.
When your web page is slow, web crawlers can only crawl just a few pages using their allocated resources. This may lower your chances of having all your web pages indexed. To increase your page ranking, it’s a must to optimize your website speed.
- Increases Conversion Rate
Since visitors are more likely to abandon a slow-loading website and move on to the next, this will definitely lead to poor conversion rate, and eventually, your profit. According to Amazon, for every 1 second delay, their conversion rate dives by 7%.
Here is an example of how an organization increases their website load time. After revamping Wal-Mart’s website speed, they enjoy a 2% increase in conversion rate. It shows the reaped benefits of an increase in profit by simply improving their website speed.
Factors that Cause Slow Web Page Load and How to Counter Them
Uploading High-res Images
Uploading unoptimised images is one of the common causes of slow websites. Compared to smaller-sized images, huge, high-resolution image takes longer to upload and render when viewed on web pages.
TIP: Before uploading any form of media on your site, resize them using any photo editing software such as Photoshop or a image compression plugin such as WP Smush plugin.
Use these formats for these types of images: .jpeg for vibrant photos, .png for graphic images and .gif for animated images.
Minifying gets rid of redundant bytes such as indentation, line breaks or white spaces from the code. Its aim is to lessen source codes to boost web page load.
Plugins and Themes
Adding plugins and themes can further improve your site’s look and functionality. However, some of them might have unnecessary codes or features that don’t do anything to improve user experience or worse, weigh down your site.
TIP: Choose plugins and themes that are not heavy on codes or themes that use too many resources. Uninstall those that are not updated regularly or those that you don’t use anymore.
Not using GZip Compression
Gzip compression is the process of compressing files transmitted between browsers and servers. The goal here is to shaves off the file sizes and reduces the time loading a web page.
TIP: Read this article for more details steps on how speed your site using GZIP compression.
It’s understandable that you want to earn money through your site (and isn’t that the whole point of having a commercial website?). However, too many ads may also slow down your site.
TIP: Use it sparingly and avoid overcrowding it with too many ads.
High Volume of HTTP Requests
Page load time is also affected by the amount of requests sent to the server when loading the website. The more HTTP requests the browser makes, the longer it takes to render the elements. These HTTP request includes: loading images, media, HTML, scripts and CSS stylesheets.
TIP: To trim down HTTP requests, use CSS Sprites, a group of images fused as one. So when you want to render two version of the same button, you can optimise it to be more efficient by combining them. This allows you one HTTP request to retrieve the entire CSS Sprite and show the image depending on the situation.
Not Updating Content Management System
Every now and then, CMS platforms roll out the latest updates once it’s available. They do this in order to upgrade the platform with better security updates and design.
TIP: Before updating anything, we strongly advise you to create a backup first. Once the latest version is available, update it ASAP.
Not Using Browser Caching
Fixed elements like stylesheets and images are “cached” or stored in the visitor’s browsers cache so they can access it without any problem the next time. These website elements typically remains the same across all web pages and don’t change often.
TIP: Add “expire” headers to signal browsers not to request the files again for certain period of time. Many servers have infinite expiration dates depending on the time the file was accessed or edited on the server.
Most people are now browsing from their smart devices so it only makes sense to consider optimising your mobile site, as well.
TIP: Choose a mobile responsive web design for your website that loads fast and performs extremely well on smart devices. You can choose to either have a separate mobile version, upgrade to a responsive web design or a native application.
Not Using CDN
The visitor’s proximity to your web server will also have a huge impact on how fast or slow a visitor can access your website. Content Delivery Network or CDN can quickly delivers content to a user using cached files from locations closest to the user.
TIP: For high-volume websites, you might want to check out with your hosting provider if they offer CDN on top of your hosting service. You may also try out the free CDN services first before moving on premium options.
Choosing Cheap Web Hosting
Going for cheap web host may save you money but it could cost you more in the future. Some might have lacking features like backup or their customer support is virtually nonexistent.
TIP: Even where you’re still a beginner, it makes business sense to invest on high-performing hosting plans from the start. You won’t only get fast and reliable features, you can count on their customer support staff to assist you should issues arise. Don’t be afraid to shop around. Find one that offers better bandwidth allocation, storage and most of all, faster speed.
Optimising your website for speed is one of the best approach you can do to grow your online presence. We’re hoping that you don’t put your website speed on the back seat and prioritise it to ensure a seamless browsing experience for your visitors and customers.
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