Quick: How fast does your website load? … Too slow! Page load time is an important factor to consider when designed or revamping your website. You may be excited to be updating the look of your site with scrolling parallax sites and widescreen high-res photos. However, it’s important that you and your designer find a balance between beautiful features and website speed.
There are three factors influenced by page load times:
- Conversions. According to Kissmetrics research, 79% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with website performance will be less likely to buy from the same site again – and they will tell their friends. Overall experience, but particularly website speed will affect your bottom line.
- SEO. Website speed has been a ranking factor in Google’s search algorithm since 2010. It isn’t just about user experience; Google’s search spider will crawl fewer pages on slow websites, negatively affecting the pages it indexes. On top of that, slow websites tend to have high bounce rates, which equals low SERP rankings
- User Experience. It is related to conversions, but a distinct consideration. People may love the look of your website, but if it’s not a joy to use then they are unlikely to return. Every second counts – 47% of consumers expect a page to load in 2 seconds or less and 40% will abandon the website after 3 seconds.
Hopefully you understand why page speed should be a priority for your website. Here, we will deal with the easiest places to get started before you go overhauling your entire website!
1. Simplify, simplify, simplify
Get rid of anything on your website that you don’t need. You don’t want a heavy pages with all the content bang on the front page. Instead map out the customer journey and create and intuitive website structure. Take your time and determine what pages and content fail to add value to your website.
2. Reduce white space
We know, white space gives websites a certain look and it’s all the rage right now. But reducing this space will decrease the amount of data on the page. That means less data to load and a faster website. Find a happy medium between keeping your website’s aesthetic and the page speed.
3. Optimise images
Images are typically the largest files on a page, so once you get that right, you’ll see big returns in page load times. Compress and scale your images. They take up less space (use a compression plugin) and ensure that the uploaded photos are the same dimensions they will be in your HTML code. This avoids server lag. Be sure that the images are hosted locally so the server isn’t making requests to other servers.
4. Enable caching
If you have a relatively static website, you can pre-load the pages so that the server doesn’t have to pull it up every time someone visits the page. Once you’ve reached a fair amount of regular traffic, consider incorporating a content delivery network (CDN). When someone opens your website, the CDN determines which server is the closest and pulls up the content from that server. This means that no one server is being overloaded with requests when your website is busy.
5. Condense code
When it comes to code, less is more. Have a professional look through your code and make it less bulky. You want to remove redundancies and get rid of unused code in your CSS. Unnecessary code makes files bigger and results in slower rendering times as the code tries to match up its HTML.
6. Get rid of plugins
When you’re looking to increase conversions, enhance user experience, and improve your website’s SEO, start with website speed. The six tasks we covered allow you to begin making improvements right away – and the faster you get started the sooner you start boosting your bottom line.