Almost anyone with an internet connection can tell you that if a website’s speed is slow – it’ll affect the user’s experience on your site. Visitors typically only wait two seconds before moving to another website, which means that slow page speeds can lead to poor conversion rates, lower web traffic and poor search engine rankings. All of this can seriously damage your business—on and off the web.
However, there are steps you can take to improve your site’s speed and actively maintain a healthy, efficient website. Follow along as we dive into the basics of page speed.
What Does Page Speed Mean?
Page speed simply refers to the amount of time it takes to load a page’s content. This is also commonly referred to as page load time. Page speed is frequently mistaken for site speed, which refers to a variety of page speeds on a site.
The faster your page speed, the faster you can gain sales and consumer attention. Having faster page loading speeds can increase your search engine rankings as Google prioritizes fast, mobile-friendly sites. All of this adds up to one thing—a more effective website. The bottom line is, you want your website’s pages to load quickly.
Why Does it Matter?
- It helps increase your search engine ranking
Google announced in 2010 that your site’s speed would be a critical ranking factor in their search engine. This means that a fast website could be the difference between your site appearing on page 1 or page 4 of search results.
Additionally, slow page loading speeds affect how quickly Google indexes your website. This can, in turn, affect your ranking even more. When it comes down to it, if you want more consumer traffic from Google, you have to speed up your page and site loading speeds.
- It affects your conversion rate
Since most visitors leave a website if it takes too long to load, your conversions and revenue can be negatively affected by a slower site. Additionally, since slower websites receive a lower Google ranking, your site will get less traffic in the first place.
For every second your web page delays, your conversion rate decreases at least 7%. Simply put, work on increasing the speed of your web pages if you want more revenue and increased conversion rates.
- It can increase your bounce rates
Bounce rate refers to the percentage of website viewers that leave your website after viewing only one page. You want people to browse through your website for as long as possible, so they will eventually move further down your sales funnel and make the jump to becoming a customer. More than half of web users will leave a website if the page doesn’t load within 2 seconds and 79% of users say they never return to sites that provided this sort of poor user experience.
What Qualifies as Good Page Speed?
Ideally, your page should load as quickly as possible. Anytime lower than two seconds is considered great. Most average websites experience page load times of five seconds or more. However, you should strive to make your page load speeds as prompt as possible.
If your site takes longer than seven seconds to load, your site will experience a notable drop in conversion rates. Load times that are longer than 10 seconds may indicate a serious problem with your website. If this is the case, you should contact your web support team.
How to Determine Your Page Speed
Want an accurate description of your website’s speed and subsequent issues? The simple answer is to check out Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool to quickly diagnose to the state of your site’s speed. You can use this information to determine any changes that may need to be made in order to improve your website’s speed or regularly inspect the health of your site. However, these diagnostics are technical in nature, so having a web developer can greatly assist you.
How to Improve Page Speed
Now that you know how to check your website’s speed and why it’s important, you are probably wondering how you can actually improve it. Here are a few tips you can use to cut a few seconds off of your loading times.
Target Your Images — Image files often take up a lot of space, so be sure that yours are not larger than they need to be. They should also be compressed for internet use and in the correct format. JPEGs are better for photographs whereas PNGs are better for graphics that contain 16 colors or less.
You can create a template for your images using CSS sprites. This is great for images that you reuse frequently, like logos, icons and buttons. This will combine all of your images into one bigger image that loads at the same time. This means faster load times and fewer HTTP requests.
Improve Server Response Time — A slow website can also be caused by a slow server. Your server response time (SRT) is affected by the resources your web pages use, your software, consumer traffic and hosting platform. For this reason, it’s hard to pinpoint what may be slowing down your SRT.
Since this issue is a bit more complex than the others, you may be better off contacting a professional. If you want to tackle the issue yourself, look for slower routing, slow database requests or poor memory and repair these problems. On average, an SRT should be under 200ms.
Limit Your Redirects — When a page redirects, your user has to wait a specific amount of time for the redirect request to finish processing. This wait time can increase with poor coding and lead to a decrease in online users visiting your website. By reducing this wait time, you can increase your conversion rates and gain back customers.
There’s plenty of reasons to make website speed a top priority in your digital marketing efforts, but not everyone is well-versed in website maintenance and development. If this is too daunting a task or simply too time-consuming for you to regularly perform, our team of experts can handle the job for you! Your site is an extension of your business and voice in the digital realm — make sure not to test users’ patience with it!