Are you looking to boost sales? Accelerate your website's loading time.
Can the speed of your website truly impact your sales? Indeed, it does. Slow-loading sites face penalties from Google and other search engines, but more significantly, they disappoint users. Visitors abandon such sites, bounce away, and refrain from making purchases.
Since the invention of the internet, website loading speed has become crucial. If your website lags, you risk losing valuable traffic and sales. Thankfully, enhancing your site's performance is a manageable task. A plethora of tools, tips, and techniques can assist in expediting your site's loading time, resulting in improved website traffic and higher search engine rankings.
Today, you'll grasp the significance of load time for your site and discover effective measures to address it.
Why is load time crucial?
We unanimously prefer websites that load swiftly over those that lag. To what extent does load time matter? Let's examine the data to find out. According to Google's research from 2018, 53% of mobile users abandon a site if it takes more than three seconds to load. This presents a problem as the same research indicates that the average mobile site takes 15 seconds to load. These statistics hold across various browsers and platforms, underscoring the necessity of fast-loading sites for retaining customers effectively and improving conversion rates. Based on MachMetrics' research in 2018, most websites take around 8-11 seconds to load. While this may not seem excessive, every passing second leads to lost visitors and potential customers.
Recognizing the impact of page speed on user experience, in this Google Essay, Google introduced a new page speed update to their algorithm in July 2018, making speed a pivotal factor for everyone. Thankfully, resolving this issue is not a complex challenge. You need to comprehend why your site loads slowly and identify areas for improvement to enhance its speed. Here's how you can accomplish precisely that.
Tools for assessing your site's loading speed
To enhance your site's load speed, the initial step is to determine its current speed accurately.
Let's begin with the top-notch app on our list—Google's Page Speed Insights. Over the years, Google has provided a page speed tool under various names, and the present version is hosted as part of Google Developers. The tool offers a comprehensive evaluation of your site's loading speed on both desktop and mobile and provides a step-by-step breakdown of specific measures to enhance it. For instance, Google furnishes information on fundamental strategies to reduce file size, improve loading speed, and minimize server calls. Even better, you'll receive notifications categorizing the recommended changes as high, medium, or low priority. This aids in prioritizing the steps to take, focusing on those that will have a more significant impact on your site. Google's Lighthouse tool can be utilized for those more inclined toward technical details. It offers a similar analysis, although different, to identify areas for improvement on your site.
Pingdom's Page Speed tool has existed for a while and offers valuable insights for optimizing your site. Like Google's tool, it provides specific fixes that can be implemented immediately to enhance your site's speed and overall health. It's listed second here because Google likely possesses a more accurate understanding of SEO priorities, given its position as the largest search engine, whereas Pingdom is an independent third party.
This tool allows you to delve into the inner workings of your site and uncover potential underlying issues. WebPage Test is available for free. One of the standout features of this tool is the ability to simulate loading from different devices and server locations, providing valuable insights into performance variances.
GTmetrix lets you pinpoint the factors causing your site's slow loading and effectively resolve them. Like other tools mentioned, GTmetrix assigns a letter grade to indicate your site's loading performance. Additionally, you can set up automatic alerts to be notified if your site's loading speed falls below a certain threshold.
How to accelerate your site
The initial indicator of a website's speed is the total file size encompassing images, scripts, and necessary files for proper page rendering. By reducing the required data for site loading, you can achieve faster loading times—without a doubt. Research conducted in 2018 reveals that most sites range from 1.3 MB to 2.5 MB, surpassing the recommended size of under 500 KB by up to 20%. If your site is slow, reducing the file size is the most significant improvement you can make. Here's how:
- Optimize your images. Often, pictures displayed on your site are smaller than their actual file size. You can utilize a simple tool like ResizeImage.net to adjust the image size, saving valuable space and loading time.
- Consider using a different image format. If your images are currently in .png format, you can convert them to compressed .jpg format without sacrificing much detail. Utilize tools like the Browserling image converter to convert images to a more compact design.
- Utilize caching. Content management systems like WordPress offer plugins that cache the latest version of your pages, serving them to users instead of dynamically generating the page on each visit. Plugins such as WP Super Cache can significantly reduce page load times.
- Resolve to redirect issues. While options like permanent 301 redirects and temporary 307 redirects are available, an excessive number of redirects can confuse browsers and result in slow loading. To address this, examine your redirects and simplify them as much as possible. Tools like Google Page Speed Insights can provide information on active redirects on your site.
- Consider a Content Delivery Network (CDN). Implementing a CDN can be the solution if your site experiences high traffic but struggles with loading times. CDNs distribute server load across multiple locations, allowing the closest server to serve data to local users. This geographical proximity enhances loading speed. Research CDNs like Amazon CloudFront for more information.
- Explore Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). While creating a separate AMP may not be necessary for most sites, it can significantly speed up your site. Google has championed AMP, and initial tests in 2015 demonstrated load time reductions of 15-85%. Setting up an AMP can be a viable solution if you have a high-traffic site or are planning a redesign.
In the early days of the Internet, slow-loading sites were expected, but times have changed. Modern websites need to load faster, and Google increasingly values fast-loading sites. However, it's not just about search engine rankings; your site's speed directly impacts your conversion rate.
Remember, every second you save in load time boosts customer confidence and trust and encourages them to spread the word about your site. To improve load time, assess the current loading speed and follow the recommended steps provided by tools like PageSpeed Insights. Once you address the fundamentals, delve into advanced strategies to enhance loading times, as even minor improvements make a difference.