If you think that website speed is not important, here are some statistics that will make you think again.
A delay of even one-second in page load time can result in;
16% decrease in customer satisfaction
7% loss in conversions
11% decrease in page views
What is the importance of website load time?
Today, people lead a hectic life and are always short of time. Nobody has the patience for websites with poor load time or inadequate performance.
According to studies, half of the web users expect websites to load within 2 seconds, if not, users abandon the website. Also, 64% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with an online store’s experience and loading time will move to another website.
This means you are not only losing your current visitors but also potential customers who may have been referred by your current customers and also risk decreasing conversion rates. Thus, it is important for your web pages to load fast and not be bogged down by unoptimized images and files.
How does website speed influence visibility?
Google considers your website speed when ranking sites. Your site load time can influence how your users can find you easily. Also, with increased mobile searches, Google caters its search results to mobile users. It avoids directing users to sites with poor load speeds or those that don’t function well on mobile devices.
So, with the mobile-first index, Google uses the mobile URL for ranking purposes. Therefore, it is important to improve your loading time if you want to maintain your rankings and visibility. Make sure to provide a great user experience on any browser or screen size.
Here are 5 proven ways to speed up your website and improve conversions.
1. Reduce HTTP requests
According to Yahoo, around 80% of a Web page’s load time is spent downloading images, scripts, stylesheets, etc. So, every time you download these components, an HTTP request is made. If there are more on-page components, the longer it will take for the page to render.
To minimize the HTTP requests, first, you will have to figure out how many your site is currently requesting. You can then use it as a benchmark.
Use the browser’s Developer Tools in Google Chrome to see how many HTTP requests your website is making.
Simply right-click on the page you want to analyze and then click on “Inspect”. Next, click on the “Network” tab. In case you are not able to see the “Network” tab, you may have to expand the Developer Tools sidebar by dragging the left border to the left.
2. Use CDN to remove unwanted files and scripts
Most of your users will not be in close proximity to your web server and reducing the distance by spreading the content across a variety of geographically dispersed servers may not be a viable option. Also, it will be complicated to implement.
To avoid such complications, you can rely on content delivery network (CDN). It is a collection of web servers that are distributed across multiple locations so that content can be delivered to users more efficiently. CDNs are great for static content or files that do not need to be touched once uploaded.
Servers are selected based on the user’s proximity to the network. For instance, the server with the quickest response time and few network hops is chosen.
If you choose to use CDNs, you can also take time to evaluate your site to figure out any unused scripts or CSS files across your website.
While you may ask your developer to go through your website and check each page, it is a time-consuming process. You may consider using tools like UnCSS that can help you remove unused styles from your website and reduce the size of your CSS file.
You can check the Latency of your Website in CDN on multiple websites. Here we have tested it on www.cdnperf.com
3. Optimize files and compress images
Compared to page assets such as scripts and videos, images take up a large number of HTTP requests sent. Usually, people tend to download images from stock photos sites and upload them to their servers directly without even optimizing them for the web.
If you are using large images, you can run them through optimization software such as Image Optimizer or Compressor.io. Make sure to keep the images below 150KB and nothing above 1920px in width with 72dpi quality level. Images larger than these specifications, you will notice that they load very late after the page renders as well as slow response times to user behavior.
Do note that images will still take up a majority of the HTTP requests. However, by optimizing them along with your other assets will keep their sizes down and improve your website’s overall performance.
4. Browser caching
Browser caching enables assets on your website to be downloaded to your hard drive into a cache or a temporary storage space. These files will be stored locally on your system which will help increase page load speed.
According to Yahoo!, 40-60% of your daily visitors come in with an empty cache. So, you have to make sure that the first page your visitor sees loads quickly enough so that they can navigate the rest of your website comfortably with even faster load times.
Do note, while static assets have a cached lifetime of a week, third party items such as ads or widgets last only a day. Also, JS, CSS, images, and media files should have an expiry of a week but ideally, one year as any longer will violate RFC guidelines.
5. Reduce the number of plugins to your website
While plugins can add custom functionality, clean up your code, and improve user experience, installing too many can cause some issues. They slow your website; create security issues and cause crashes and other technical issues. Additionally, keeping up with maintenance and updates can be cumbersome if you have many plugins on your website.
It is always a good idea to evaluate your plugins on a regular basis even if you don’t have too many of them. This audit will help you get rid of any outdated, inefficient or incorrectly configured plugins that can have a negative impact on your site speed.
By deleting or deactivating unnecessary plugins can improve speed as well as make maintenance easier in the long run.
While getting your page load times to where you want is a challenging task, you must put in the effort to increase your site speed as it will have a significant positive impact on your overall site performance.
These tips will help you achieve your site speed goals and have the greatest impact on your load times.