Is Page Speed the Reason Your Website Isn’t Performing Well?

2018/05/02 09:12

page speed website

How the speed of your website can affect your online conversions and SEO rankings.

A simple concept such as website speed might not seem like a big deal but it could actually be the reason behind the drop in your conversions as well as how well your website is ranking in search engine results.

Why website speed matters

Your website’s speed is measured by how quickly your website loads on both desktop and mobile devices and plays an important role in how well your site performs online.

Here is why it’s a metric that matters and why you should be paying close attention to it:

  • Online users have a need for speed

According to MachMetrics, the average website loads within 9 seconds but today’s online users will generally leave a website if it loads in anything less than 3 seconds. This means that if your website isn’t at least meeting industry standards or better, there’s a good chance that you’re losing out on a lot of potential business.

Today’s online users are all about instant gratification and let’s face it, patience is no longer one of our strong suits, so it’s up to you to make sure that your website is able to serve a page as quickly as possible across a multitude of devices if you ever hope to grow, keep your existing customers and attract new ones.

Research by Skilled showed that if your website makes around $100,000 per day, a 1 second improvement in page speed could bring in an additional $7,000 per day, which proves the incredibly powerful impact of page speed on your conversions.

  • Google favours fast load times

Google’s mobile-first index is completely changing how people design and optimise their websites.

Google recently released some fascinating stats around website speed. It reported that the chance of a website bounce increases by 32% when your website load time goes from 1s to 3s, while an increase from 1s to 5s pushes the chances of a bounce to 90%. A load time of 10s or more increases the bounce rate to 123%.

The bottom line is that Google favours websites that are performing well and sites with high bounce rates aren’t giving search engines the green light. This means that your website speed, especially on mobile devices, plays a role in how well you’ll rank in search engine results.

Tools to test your website speed

In order to gauge whether your site’s speed could be affecting your online performance, here are a few tools that you can use to test it:

  1. Google PageSpeed Insights
  2. Pingdom
  3. GTmetrix
  4. WebPageTest
  5. UpTrends
  6. Yellow Lab Tools
  7. Google Chrome DevTools
  8. Pagelocity

If you’ve found that your website’s load time is longer than 10 seconds on desktop or mobile or both, here are a few basics tactics that you can use to improve it:

  • Enable caching. By enabling caching, users won’t have to download your entire website every time they want to access it. Caching ensures that once a user visits your site once, they will store the elements of your website on their hard drive in a cache, meaning your website will load a lot faster the next time around.
  • Optimise your images. While high-quality images can make a huge difference to the user experience and your conversion rates, it can slow down your website tremendously. Optimising your images for the web is a simple way to increase your website speed.
  • Simplify your design. The fewer HTTP requests your website needs to make; the faster your site will load. Analyse your website to see whether there are certain elements or functionality that you can get rid of in order to improve page load times.
  • Reduce those 301s. 301 Redirects are something that most sites are using and are a simple way to ensure that search engines are looking at the most recent pages of your site, but too many redirects can reduce your site’s speed so be sure to clean up any unnecessary redirects where possible.
  • Ask about GZIP. GZIP uses compression and deflation to reduce website files without taking away from the site’s quality. Find out from your hosting company whether they make use of GZIP in order to speed up your website.
  • Minify and combine files. Your HTML, CSS and JavaScript files add to the number of requests that your site makes but you can reduce the number of requests by combining or minifying these files. This entails removing unnecessary formatting, whitespace, and code. If you’re running a WordPress site, there are several plugins that can help you do this.
  • Review your hosting. The cheapest hosting option is not always the best option. Unlike shared hosting, VPS hosting offers more ownership of dedicated portions of a server’s resources, which will help with site speed.

Page loading times are an important part of any user’s online experience and while it can be tempting to implement a grand design and fancy features, this will only slow your site down. Find a way to still display your brand in the best way possible without slowing your site down and making it difficult for your customers to interact with your business online.

What tactics will your business be using to improve your user’s online experience?