21 Mar Nine Ways to Improve the Load Speed of Your Website
Today, it’s nearly impossible to survive as a business without a website. However, a website won’t do your business any good if it does not have a high search engine results page ranking (SERP) or if it doesn’t offer a seamless user experience. Your site ranking and user experience can be significantly impacted by the load speed of your website.
Slow load speed of your website can negatively impact your site in a number of ways.
According to the Akamai State of Online Retail Performance Report from 2017:
• Conversions can decrease by seven percent for a website with a load time day of 100 milliseconds.
• Bounce rates can increase by 103 percent for a website that has a two-second delay.
• If a website takes three or more seconds to load, over half (53 percent) of mobile users will leave.
Additionally, according to digital marketing expert Neil Patel:
• Nearly half of internet users (47 percent) expect a website to load in two seconds or less.
• In general (as opposed to just mobile), 40 percent of users will leave a site if it takes longer than three seconds to load.
• Even a one second delay in load time can cause a potential loss in $2.5 million in sales if your e-commerce website generates about $100 thousand a day.
Slow load speed impacts not only your website ranking, but your conversion rates and sales as well. This is why it’s important for your business to ensure a quick load speed for your website. Before we discuss how to improve the load speed of your website, let’s look more at the importance of website speed optimization.
Importance of website speed optimisation
Page load time is a web performance metric that shows the length of time it takes for a web page to load on a user’s screen. Website speed optimization influences conversions, visibility, and usability.
• Conversion – The purpose of a website for a business is to lead your audience to actions that you want them to take, which then becomes measurable success. These actions could be making a purchase, subscribing to your content, registering for an event, or downloading information. The longer it takes for your website to load, the lower conversion rates you will have. Website speed is crucial to increasing conversions.
• Visibility – Website load speed also affects the ability of users to find your website. Google’s search ranking algorithm gives priority to websites with quicker load times because they are likely to retain visitors. Responsive websites must be quick to load for both desktop and especially mobile users in order to have a high search engine results page ranking.
• Usability – Website usability comprises of web page speed, responsive web design and fast load times. These factors can affect customer loyalty and satisfaction. Providing a great user experience helps your business grow your customer base and establish your brand.
What is a good load speed?
It’s important to know what a good load time for your website is first before improving its load speed.
As of 2018, Google recommends a three second maximum loading time. Unfortunately, most websites go way over that time. Google analysed 900,000 mobile ad landing pages and found that 70 percent took an average of seven seconds to completely load, and mobile landing pages in particular often took 15 seconds. As page load time increases from one to 10 seconds, a site’s bounce rate can potentially increase up to 123 percent.
How to assess your website speed
In order to improve your website’s speed, first you need to assess its current state. Fortunately, there are many tools available to access online to find out your current website speed. Some of these tools include:
Ways to improve the load speed of your website
Once you’ve tested your website speed, then you can begin optimizing.
Let’s look at our top nine most effective ways to improve the load speed of your website:
1- Implement a content delivery network, or CDN – A CDN is a connection of web servers spread across geographic regions to provide quicker access to users who are closer to a nearby server rather than to the origin server. If all users are trying to access your website hosted by a single server, especially the further away they are, load speeds can increase dramatically. High web traffic means your website is becoming successful, which means you will need to utilize a CDN. With a CDN, user requests are redirected to the server closest to them and allows for quicker loading times.
2- Select the right hosting plan – Hosting is essentially where your website is stored and accessed. Generally, the more space available on your hosting server is, the faster your website load speed will be. There are three primary options for website hosting: virtual private server, shared, and dedicated.
Shared hosting is the most common and cost-effective way to host your website. However, you’ll need to do your research and carefully select a fast web hosting service provider. Shared hosting is typically not as fast as VPS or dedicated due to the shared disk space, RAM and CPU with other websites hosted by the server.
With virtual private server hosting, or VPS, you still share a server with other websites, but you will have a set amount of space and resources just for your website. This way, the other sites are not competing with each other on the server and slowing time load speeds. VPS hosting is best suited for sites that have average traffic with traffic spikes in some periods as the website begins to grow.
Dedicated hosting is when you use your own server to host your website. While this allows for the most space available, and therefore the best load speed, it also requires much more work and upkeep on your end.
3- Optimize your website images – Effective images are essential for good web design and user engagement, especially if you have an e-commerce site. Large images, however, can slow down your website load time. This can be fixed by reducing the file size of your images by compressing them. There are many tools on the internet to compress image file sizes without sacrificing quality.
4- Decrease the number of plugins – Plugins are a common and often very helpful added on component to websites, especially on WordPress, that make certain functions easier. Unfortunately, too many plugins require more resources for the server and ultimately slow down your website. It’s useful to check up on your plugins regularly, no matter how many you use, and remove unnecessary ones. You can do this by running a performance test to see which plugins are slowing down your site. Keep necessary plugins and update them often.
5- Utilize website catching – When many users access a web page at the same time, servers slow down because they need more time to deliver the page to each user. The process of storing parts of the existing version of your website on the user’s device once they’ve accessed it at least one time is known as caching, or using temporary storage. This allows for increased load speed time for your website because user’s devices do not need to send database requests to the server very time because part of the information is already stored and ready to load.
7- Use Gzip compression – You can use Gzip compression to reduce file sizes, which brings down HTTP requests and cuts server response time. Gzip compression is used to compress files before sending them to the browser. A user’s browser then unzips the files and loads the content.
8- Minimize redirects – Page redirects can be useful when web pages are moved or deleted. However, too many redirects can cause too many HTTP requests and thereby lengthen your website speed. Eliminating as many redirects as possible will help improve your site’s load time. Site scans can be run to easily identify all of your website’s redirects so that you can choose which ones are important and which should be removed.
9- Decrease the use of web fonts – While fonts are an important aspect of web design, they can also negatively impact the load speed of your website because they create additional HTTP requests to external resources. To reduce the size of web font traffic, use modern fonts for modern browsers, choose only the font styles you need, and only include the characters that are used on your website.
If your website is taking too long to load, Virtual Stacks Systems UK can help! We have the expertise to get your website loading faster for your users.