Is your website running a little slowly?Slow site speed is a big problem. It can unravel all the hard work that developers, marketers, designers, testers and countless others put in to make a website functional and aesthetically pleasing. 47% of web users will abandon a website when the page takes too long to load, regardless of the quality of the page’s content, graphics or functionality. Your site speed affects your Google rankings, conversions, reputation, and bottom line.Apart from heading to a search engine and stepping into the customer’s shoes, there are several tools you can use to see if your website is up to speed, like Google PageSpeed Insights, UpTrends, Sematext and Pingdom. If it isn’t, it’s time to make some changes to how you run your site. Luckily there’s no shortage of ways to do that.This article explores how to increase website speed to avoid losing valuable conversions, why it matters, and how Anchor Digital can help.
Why Site Speed is Important
First impressions count on the internet, and site speed is an important factor in user experience. As site speed slows down, page abandonment goes up – and the longer a website takes to load, the more likely your potential customer will say goodbye. Web users associate speed with dependability and professionalism and often care more about it than they do about how the page looks or the exciting features it has.Google also cares about speed and will penalise pages that are too slow to load. This double whammy of users abandoning your site and search engines decreasing your rankings makes for a dramatic drop in conversions. For an e-commerce website, a one-second delay translates into a 7% conversion reduction.The question of how to increase website loading speed is one that developers, testers, marketers and business owners should pay close attention to. But how do you accomplish it?
Ways to Improve Your Website Speed
A slow site is a hassle for you and your potential customers, but it’s not something you’re stuck with. The following suggestions address how to increase website speed so you can reap your reward in conversions:
Smaller files mean a faster website loading time, so it’s best to get your files as small as they can be without sacrificing any of the quality. File compression programs like GZip, 7-Zip, WinZip, WinRAR and the huge range of others available on the market can re-code files larger than 150 bytes, so they take up less space when stored on your site. Images, however, are best compressed in programs such as Photoshop to retain their quality.
When visitors to your page get forwarded to a different page, it can add whole seconds to the loading experience. And when it comes to site speed, every second counts! Get rid of your redirects unless they’re necessary.
Improve server response time
Your server response time should ideally be under 200 milliseconds. But several factors can slow it down like slow database queries, slow routing, memory starvation or resource CPU starvation. Once you’ve identified where the bottlenecks lie, it’s time to do some optimising.
When looking at how to increase website speed, it pays to take a close look at images. They make up a huge percentage of internet traffic. And being larger than most other data files, they often take a lot longer to load. You can optimise your images by compressing them using Photoshop, reducing their resolutions and dimensions, and creating templates for your most frequently used ones.
Use browser caching
Browsers store copies of static files in a temporary cache so they can more quickly bring up recently accessed websites. This comes in especially handy for websites that don’t change very often. You can use browser caching by utilising a tool like YSlow to see if you have an expiry date on your browser cache. If you do, you can change the settings to store information for longer, meaning less load time.
Use a CDN
CDNs (content delivery networks) boost site speed by storing data in different data centres all over the world. When users access your content, the request goes to a CDN server close to them instead of straight to the hosting server, which may be a vast distance away. Using a CDN also means one server doesn’t get bogged down dealing with all the requests during high traffic times. Using a CDN can improve load times significantly, buying you more precious seconds for conversions.
Minimise external scripts
External comments sections, call-to-action buttons or any other scripts that need to be loaded from elsewhere can slow a webpage down – or cause it to only partially load. To speed up your site, it pays to reduce the number of elements that need to load every time the page does.
Test for success
It’s a great idea to test your website regularly to see how it’s performing and where it can be improved. Tools like Google PageSpeed Insights, GTMetrix, Pingdom and WebPageTest can give you a big picture view of how your site looks to web users and sometimes even give the speed a ranking out of 100. From there, it’s a matter of optimising your website using some of the tips in this article – or contacting professionals like Anchor Digital – and trying again until your site is at the speed it needs. Testing and refining your approach is an ongoing process for the best possible results.
We Can Improve Your Site Speed
If boosting your site speed sounds a bit daunting, don’t worry. Anchor Digital understand the need for speed and how to help you achieve it. We can put our knowledge of how to increase website loading speed to use to keep your site fast and help turn prospective customers into loyal repeat ones.A full-service digital marketing agency, we’ll enhance your site speed while implementing data-driven solutions across every area of your online presence. We do it all: social media, brand strategy, SEO, graphic design, and web design. Instead of lock-in contracts, we count on the quality of our work to keep our clients coming back again. Drop us a line to speed up results for your business.