Here’s a fun stat for you; 53% of people reportedly say they will leave a website if it takes longer than three seconds to load (MachMetrics, 2018). Sorry, that wasn’t much fun, but the fact is, if you’re seeing a high bounce rate on your website, poor SEO results or minimal conversions, your website speed could be the culprit.
How fast should a website load? Obviously as fast as possible, with every second more causing more frustration for the user.
What’s interesting is that the average mobile website reportedly takes 22 seconds to load (MachMetrics, 2018). Not only is that a lot more than the three seconds people say they’re willing to wait, it’s on mobile devices. With more and more people turning to mobiles to perform online searches, mobile website speed is becoming more and more critical. And yet it’s something people don’t seem to be concerned about.
We’re going to tell you exactly why you should be stepping up your website loading times and, more importantly, how to speed up your website.
Why is website speed important? Does it impact SEO?
The simple answer is your website speed is important due to how much it impacts SEO results. Now for the longer answer.
Google’s job is to take a search query and provide the user with the best possible answer, in the form of a video, image, website, etc. How they assess the best answer comes down to a lot of things, including, but not limited to:
– The quality and quantity of the website copy.
– The speed a webpage takes to load.
– URL and page structure.
– How easy it is to crawl the code.
Etc. They can run all the tests they like, but users are humans, and sometimes robots can’t predict what a user would want. So, they use searchers as a type of guinea pig. How so?
Say you’re searching for a website builder *cough cough*. You click on the first website that takes your interest but it takes too long to load to you skedaddle out of there. The next website you click on, you can’t find a services page so you bounce out of there too. Then you see Localsearch *cough cough again* and find professional website design and development you can pay off over 10 months. SIGN ME UP! What Google does is it notes you leaving the other websites and not lingering too long, but sticking around and filling out an enquiry form with Localsearch. Up bumps Localsearch for the next person looking for the same search term.
Okay, it doesn’t work exactly like that but the real technical stuff behind it will leave you snoring. The process is roughly the same, just with more bots whirring around behind the scenes. What you really want to know is how to avoid having a slow website altogether.
How do I increase my page speed?
How many sesame seeds are on a sesame seed bun? There a quite a few factors that can increase your website, but these are the most common.
Keep Plugins to a Minimum
Plugins allow you to do some cool things to your website like track different stats, process payments, allowing contact form submissions, displaying social media, etc. Every time someone visits one of your webpages, the plugin needs to load to do what you installed it to do. The more plugins, the more fighting to load.
Optimise Your Site for Caching
Caching is when a web browser (Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, etc.) stores your website data so it loads quicker the next time the user visits it. It’s like starting at a new workplace. At first you have no idea how to get around but your second day you can quickly find meeting rooms, bathrooms, kitchen, etc.
Compress Images Before Uploading
The larger an image, the longer it will take to load. As a rule of thumb, all images should be less than 150kb, and where possible, stick to JPEG, as PNG tend to be larger.
How do you check an image’s size? While the image is still on your desktop or in a folder, right click it. Select ‘Get Info’. You can then see the size with the on-disc size in brackets being your focus. To shrink an image size, you can use Photoshop or an image compressor site, such as compressor.io.
Upgrade Your Hosting
If you have a free website and have not paid for hosting, you will be using a portion of a shared server. This means you have less storage on your website, resulting in your website being slower, especially if many people are on it at once.
There is a bit of chat around if local servers (being closer to where you actually are) matter all too much for speed. It hasn’t been completely proven either way, but it makes sense.
Use Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
AMP pages are stripped down versions of your webpage. By that, we mean a developer has created a separate webpage used exclusively by mobile devices, which has unnecessary code removed to make it quicker to load and for search engines to crawl. The downside is there is minimal branding you can do to keep the load times quick.
If you do need help improving your website speed (you can check it out here), our developers are here to help you. Give us a buzz and we’ll hook you up.
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Cover image source: Henning Borgerson on Unsplash.