If your conversion rate isn’t what you want it to be, it might be time to get back to basics.
According to studies by Akamai and Gomez, the speed of your website directly affects your conversion rates.
The results of these studies showed that 47% of consumers expect a website to load in 2 seconds or less, with 79% of shoppers being much less willing to buy from the same site again if they were dissatisfied with a site’s performance.
A mere 1-second delay in page response time can reduce your conversion rate by 7%! When you start looking at this from a revenue point of view, you’ll quickly see what a massive impact 1 second can have.
It’s pretty clear that if you want to increase your conversion rate or you’re not achieving your desired conversion rate, it might be time to look at something as basic as your website’s loading speed.
A Brief Look at Page Load Time
Page load time refers to the amount of time it takes a page to load from the initiation of a page view to the page completely loading in a browser.
Page load time is made up of server, network and browser response times. Onload time, on the other hand, refers to the amount of time it takes for all on-page resources to load, including analytics code and other backend resources.
If you want to make user experience your main focus, you only need to pay attention to your full page load time. If a page feels fast to a visitor and they can use it, you’re one step closer to increasing your conversion rate.
3 Tools to Check Your Website Speed
Before you can decide whether your page load times are the problem, you will need to test the speed of your website. Here are a few tools that come highly recommended.
- Pingdom. Not only is this tool completely free but it produces a comprehensive report too
- Google Page Speed Insights. What better way to find out whether your website’s speed is up to scratch than from Google directly.
- GTmetrix. Discover how fast your website is loading and what you can do to improve the speed.
11 Ways to Speed Up Your WordPress Site
If you’ve determined that page load times are an issue, here are a few suggestions that will help improve your WordPress website’s speed.
- Evaluate your hosting service provider. Saving money is always a bonus but if you’ve been experiencing frequent down time and slow website speeds, it might be time to consider another hosting service provider. Cheaper is definitely not always better.
- Relook at your WordPress theme. There are some amazing WordPress themes out there but when a theme has a complicated framework that is packed with features you don’t necessarily need, it can start affecting the speed of your website. Take the time to consider whether your WordPress theme might be the problem and if there is a better option available.
- A caching plugin works wonders. The beauty of WordPress is that there is always a plugin that can help you get the job done. If you’re experiencing website speed issues, installing a caching plugin can make a difference. W3 Total Cache is one of the most popular caching plugins and it’s incredibly easy to set up.
- Optimise your images. If your website uses a lot of images, it can start affecting your page load times. A plugin such as WP-SmushIt is an easy and effective way to instantly optimise your images and increase page load times.
- Lazy load your images. Another way that you can stop your images from slowing down your website pages is to lazy load them. This means that only images above the fold will load at first, with the rest of the page images loading as a user scrolls. Again, there are plugins available that will make this process easier.
- Consider using a content delivery network (CDN). A lot of popular blogging sites are all using a CDN to keep their websites speedy and user-friendly. A CDN allows visitors to download all of the static files on your website at faster speeds by only serving the files on servers that are close to them. There are a number of great CDNs for you to consider as a WordPress website owner.
- Optimise your database. WordPress database optimisation plugins such as WP-Optimize or WP-DB Manager, focus on aspects such as tables, spam and drafts to increase the speed of your website.
- Switch off trackbacks and pingbacks. Let’s start by saying that turning this functionality off will not affect your backlink strategy, it simply adjusts a setting that creates a lot of work for your WordPress website.
- Disable hotlinking. Hotlinking refers to other websites directly linking to the images on your WordPress site, which negatively impacts your server response times. A developer will need to assist you with this change as a snippet of code will need to be added to your .htaccess file.
- Optimise your home page. Your home page is where people will be landing most often so focus on optimising this page first. Some of the ways that you can do this are to remove unnecessary widgets and inactive plugins, minimise images and content and only show excerpts instead of full blog posts.
- Control post revisions. If you don’t use a plugin such as Revision Control to keep post revisions to a minimum, WordPress will automatically keep storing your drafts. Don’t turn drafts off completely though, setting it to 2 will ensure that you have a backup plan should you need one.
The bottom line is, people don’t want to have to wait. The faster your website is, the more convenient and user-friendly it is too. Test your website speed on a regular basis to keep your site running at optimal levels.