It is difficult to beat the competition and climb the success ladder these days if you don’t have a website in place. But just having a website on the internet does not guarantee you success. To do well on the internet, you need to make sure that your website ranks high on the search engine result page and it offers an excellent user experience. And, one factor that can surely impact your website ranking and user experience is the load speed of your site.
If your website load speed is slow, it can negatively impact your performance on the internet. It (slow load speeds) not just adversely affects your website rankings, but it can also dent your conversions and sales. Therefore, it is vital to ensure that businesses work hard to improve the load speeds of their websites.
Here are some load speed statistics that prove our point beyond any doubt.
Load speed statistics
According to the 2017 Akamai Technologies State of Online Retail Performance report, a 100-millisecond delay in website load speed can hurt your conversions by as much as 7 percent.
A 2-second delay in web page load time increases bounce rates by 103%.
In case your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, 53% of mobile site visitors will leave the page.
So, what should you do to improve the load speed of your website? But before getting there let us try to understand the importance of website speed optimisation.
Importance of website speed optimisation
A web performance metric, page load time shows the time needed for a webpage to load on the screen of the user. And, here is how the website speed optimisation influences the main factors of website success, namely conversions, visibility, and usability.
- Conversion – It is important for businesses to bring their visitors to a point where they do what you want them to do. Website conversion is an important metric for the success of your business – be it for buying your product, subscribing to your newsletter, registering for a webinar, or downloading a guide. The more time it takes for your webpage to load, the lower conversion rates it will have. Hence, if you want your conversions to improve, it is vital that your website loads faster.
- Visibility – The time it takes for your website to load also determines how easily visitors can locate your website. Load speed of the website is one of the factors that Google takes into account when ranking sites. A website that takes a lot of time to load offers a poor user experience which results in a drop in the rankings. Also, websites that do not load fast and are not responsive do not do well on the search engine results page.
- Usability – Just like website page speed, website responsiveness, and website load time, website usability also impacts customer loyalty. If your website loads faster, it makes your users more satisfied. And, when you provide a great user experience, it allows you to build a large customer base and a robust brand.
What is a good load speed?
But before you set out to improve the load speed of your website, it is vital for businesses to know what is good load time.
The best practice according to Google (in 2018) is three seconds, but most sites are not up to the mark when it comes loading time. Google in an analysis of 900, 000 mobile ad landing pages found that 70% of them took about seven seconds for the visual content above the fold to load. In the analysis it was found that it takes about 15 seconds to load a mobile landing page fully.
Also, as page load time increases from one to ten seconds, the bounce rate possibility goes up by 123%.
How to assess your website speed?
It is also vital for businesses to first assess their existing website speed before getting down to how to improve it. Fortunately, there are numerous performance evaluation tools available on the internet to assess the speed of your website. Some of these are:
- Google Pagespeed Insights
- Performance Budget Calculator
Ways to Improve the load speed of your website
After testing the speed of your website, you should get down to optimising it. There are various ways of increasing the load speed of your website. Here is the list of 9 most effective ways that can improve the load speed of your website:
- Implement a content delivery network or CDN – A CDN is a set of web servers which are distributed across numerous geographical locations, and they provide web content to the end user per their location. When the website is hosted on a single server, all the user requests are sent to the same hardware which increases the processing time of each request. Moreover, when users are physically far from the server, it increases the load time. But when you use a CDN, user requests are redirected to the server that is closet to the user which allows the content to be delivered to the user quickly and the website starts working faster. CDN, therefore, is an effective way of increasing the load speed of your website.
- Move to a better host for your website – Make sure that you choose a fast web host so that your site loads faster. Mainly, there are three types of hosting, namely shared hosting, a virtual private server (VPS) hosting, and dedicated server hosting.
The most popular type of hosting is shared hosting. It is also the most cost-effective way to get your website online. But it is vital that you select your web hosting service provider with a lot of caution. A fast web hosting service provider is what you need to select if you want to ensure better optimisation. Typically, shared hosting is not as fast as VPS or dedicated hosting because in shared hosting you have to share the disk space, RAM, and CPU with other websites.VPS and dedicated servers are faster in comparison to shared hosting. Multiple servers are used in VPS hosting for content distribution. In VPS hosting, you only need to share the server with other users, and your configurations do not influence other websites. VPS hosting is ideally suited for websites that have average traffic with traffic spikes in some periods.And, dedicated hosting is the most expensive hosting option where all the resources belong to you.
- Make sure you optimise the images on your website – Images are important for an attractive layout of a website, and it is known to generate better user engagement. Also, images are essential if you have an e-commerce site. But the negative effect of having too many images is that it slows down your website because they are large files. What you need to do to reduce the size of the images is to compress the images. You can search the internet and use the tools that can reduce the size of your images without compromising their quality.
- You should also decrease the number of plugins – Plugins are a common component of websites which add specific features suggested by third parties. But more the plugins, more are the resources you need to run a website which slows down your website. The number of plugins grows over time, but not all of them are used all of the time. That is why it is important that you check all the plugins you have installed, and remove those that are not required. To start with, you should run the performance test to find out which plugins are slowing down your website. The website speed depends on the number of plugins as well as their quality. You should avoid deleting plugins that load a lot of scripts or generate a lot of queries. Make sure that you only keep plugins that are necessary, and it is also important to keep them updated.
- You also need to use website catching – When there are many users accessing the page at the same time, servers go slow and need more time to deliver the web page to every user. The process of storing the existing version of your website on the hosting is known as caching, and it presents this version to the users until your website is updated. It means that the web page does not render every time for each user. Since cached web pages store copies of documents; hence it does not need to send database requests every time. The stored document is rendered to the user which increases the load speed of your website.
- Use Gzip compression – You can use Gzip compression to reduce the size of the files which minimises the HTTP requests and cuts the server response time. Gzip compression is used to compress the files before sending them to the browser. A browser unzips the files on the user’s side and presents the content. Gzip compression can work well with all the files on your website.
- Minimise redirects and decrease the use of web fonts – Website redirects negatively impacts the performance of your website because it creates additional HTTP requests. It is, therefore, advisable to either minimise them or eliminate them completely. You can run a site scan to identify all the redirects on your page and barring the critical ones you should eliminate the rest.Web fonts are increasingly becoming popular these days in website designing. But the use of web fonts can have a negative impact on the load speed of your website. Web fonts create additional HTTP requests to external resources. To reduce the size of web font traffic, you can use modern formats for modern browsers, select only the needed styles, and include only those character sets that are used on the site.
If there is a problem with the load speed of your website, you can get in touch with vStacks Software Solutions now. We will make sure that your site starts loading faster on all the devices. We are a digital marketing services company specialising in web design and hosting.