We all hate waiting, but we hate waiting for slow websites more than normal. So much so, that it causes your site fewer visits, more bounces and less sales. Every second extra that your site takes to load results in;
- An 11% loss in page views
- 7% fewer conversions
What can I do about it?
Well, there are some relatively easy things we can do to improve your website speed straight off the bat, but lets check out Google PageSpeed Insights to get an idea of your site’s current performance and tips based on the latest industry best practices for enhancing site performance. Google PageSpeed Insights provides reports for both the desktop and mobile version of your website and scores your site on a scale of 1 to 100. The higher the score, the better…aim for above 80% minimum.
Here are some other quick things you can do to improve the speed of your site;
Keep redirects to a minimum
Redirects, as useful as they are for SEO, slow down your site significantly, especially if you have a tonne of them. Imagine going to buy some milk from Tesco, but they’ve run out of semi-skimmed so you need to go to the Co-op instead. Thats how redirects work - you go to one place, but you end up needing to go somewhere else and because of that extra journey, pages load slower as they need to visit a different location for the content requested.
Compress your images
You must compress your image files as they tend to be large and as such can seriously slow loading speed. Without compressing them you will always struggle to achieve good page speeds. I have/will always recommend Compressor.io, an online tool for compressing photos and images. Visit the site, upload or drag and drop an image and select the kind of compression you want; lossy or lossless. The tool selects lossy by default. The tool starts compressing the image the moment you load it and takes only a few seconds to complete the job. Now simply download the compressed image file on your desktop and then upload it on your site.
Consider using a CDN
When a site experiences high traffic, invariably load times for users will increase (think when you’ve booked concert tickets and the site slows right down when you're just about to click 'go to checkout'), which isn’t good because as we know, this will have a negative effect on your lead/conversion rates. Apart from high traffic, geography also plays a part in site speeds. If your server were to take the same time to process every request, its response will take more time to reach viewers located farther away because the information has to travel a greater distance. Load times for these viewers will always be higher than for viewers who are physically closer to your server.
Ever heard of a content delivery network (CDN)? It’s a system of servers that can speed up the delivery of your content to users who’re very far from your server. When you use a CDN, you cache your static content on different servers spread across the world. Now when a user makes a request to see your content, the server that’s closest physically handles the request.
Trim the fat
In some CMS packages such as Wordpress and Magento, their respective stores make it incredibly easy to choose and install various different plugins and its even easier to lose track of them and install way too many. Lots of plugins increase the loads on your database. Additionally when plugins are remain unused and unnoticed they become outdated quickly, which compromise security. Getting rid of all your unused plugin is the first place to start when considering a website speed up!
Utilise lazy loading
You can improve page load and therefore user experience by having your above the fold (top of the page) section load faster — even if the rest of the page takes a few seconds to load.
This is called lazy loading and is particularly helpful for pages with lots of content below the fold. If you run your site on WordPress, enabling it is as easy as installing a plugin. There are of course many plugins to help with this, but Optimole is an extremely simple and full featured plugin that we use regularly.
Remember that most of your users are now probably browsing your site on a mobile device and it’s entirely possible that mobile may become the only way to browse the Internet in the future, so be sure to run regular speed tests on your website using the multitude of free tools available these days and monitor the performance. This is best and easiest way to stay on top of your web goals and achieve the growth in lead/conversion rates.
If you’re interested in receiving a free personalised SEO audit to ascertain your site speed amongst many other potential optimisations drop me an email now.