You all might have heard of “slow and steady wins the race,” but when a website is slow, even though steady, it will not work. In the online dictionary, there is no word called “SLOW.” So in this article I will share some important strategies that you can apply to speed up a website.
Website speed has an excellent effect on the user experience, which increases page view time, session per duration and, ultimately, conversion. Google also ranks a site higher in their search results, which provides a good user experience and is mobile-friendly.
We live in a very high-paced digital world, and every millisecond counts in this world. A fast-loading site is beneficial in drawing traffic and keeping users engaged.
A slow-loading business site is a business killer. Nobody likes a website that takes forever to load, and nobody has the time too. A website is built to attract users and have interactions. However, a slow-loading website is certainly not going to help with that.
Nevertheless, if you do not understand the metrics associated with page speed and don’t know how to improve your website, it won’t be easy to speed up your website. Let’s first look at some statistics on why a slow-loading website is so harmful. After that, we will discuss how to measure page speed and what steps must be taken to improve site loading time.
So, Let’s get started
What have Researchers found?
- According to research conducted by Unbounce in 2019, approximately 70% of customers said page speed affects their decision to purchase from an online store. Half of those surveyed claimed they would skip the animation and video if it meant pages loaded faster.
- According to research done by Portent in 2019, Website conversion rates drop by an average of 4.42% with each extra second of load time (between seconds 0-5)
- According to Google Research 2018, it takes 15.3 seconds on average for a mobile web page to load.
- The pages with load times between 0 and 2 seconds have the highest e-commerce conversion rates. (Portent 2019)
- With every additional second a website takes to load; conversion rates drop by an average of 2.11%. (between seconds 0-9) (Research done by Portent in 2019)
- When images and text are compressed, it is possible to save more than 250 KB on 25% of pages and more than 1 MB on 10% of pages (which contributes to page load times). (Google, 2018)
- Even though 4G networks are now responsible for the majority of web traffic instead of 3G networks, the majority of mobile websites still run slowly and have an excessive amount of page elements. (Google, 2018)
Some Stats are Even More Threatening
- The bounce rate for a mobile website is 123 percent higher if it takes 10 seconds to load than if it takes only one second (according to a Google Industry Mobile Speed report).
- According to research from Google Consumer Insights, more than half (53%) of mobile site users will abandon a site if it takes longer than three seconds to load.
- If your website takes an extra second to load, you can expect a drop in traffic of 11%, a drop in customer satisfaction of 16%, and a drop in conversions of 7%.
- In a survey, 44% of consumers stated they would tell friends about a bad shopping site, and 52% claimed that having a fast-loading page is vital to their site loyalty.
- A survey by Akamai found that nearly half of all users have a two second threshold for when they consider a website to be fully loaded and that over half of users will navigate away from a page if it takes longer than three seconds to load.
So now you know why I call slow websites a business killer. Are you struggling too with your website that takes a decade to load? Then worry no more. In today’s article we will learn how to measure a website’s page speed and what important steps you should implement to significantly lower your site loading time.
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How to measure Page Speed Using Google PageSpeed Insights
You can use the PageSpeed Insights tool to gauge site speed performance. It is a tool developed by Google and it quite easy to use.
Choose the page on your site you’d like to analyze before using the tool. The next step is to enter the webpage URL into PageSpeed Insights.
After that, the tool will analyse that URL and find out how quickly that page loads and provide a score between 0-100. 0 being the slowest and 100 being the fastest.
Then, this tool will inform you about both the site’s strengths and weaknesses. “Page Speed” and “Optimization” are the two most common performance indicators.
The PageSpeed tool reveals how quickly a page on the website loads. The term “optimization” refers to a score developed to help determine whether or not your efforts have been optimal in decreasing page load times.
It will also provide information on how quickly your website loads on mobile devices compared to desktop computers. Since many visitors will access your site from their mobile phones, this is a welcome feature.
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It also Provides Some Optimization Suggestions
You should expect some technical suggestions in the optimizations section. At first glance, these suggestions may seem daunting but believe me they are not. It gives simple suggestions like if you want your images to load faster, then you need to lower their resolution.
If your website runs on WordPress, you can install a simple plugin to facilitate this. There are many paid plugins that offer this feature, but there are also numerous free alternatives too.
Now you know your website loading time. If the score is above 80, then it’s fair and sound. You will need minor tweaks to make the site faster, but if the score is less than 60, then you will have to perform some major changes. But don’t worry we will discuss that.
Techniques to Speed Up A Website
- Choosing the right Hosting Platform
- Optimize Images
- Reduce the number of redirects
- Enable Browser Caching
- Cache your Web Pages
- Use Asynchronous Loading.
- Use CDN
- Use Plugins Optimally
1. Choosing the right hosting platform
An inattentive selection might have negative consequences, so take your time when selecting a hosting company.
Businesses and individuals can make their websites visible online by using a web hosting service. Your website’s quality is irrelevant if your hosting services are subpar. Let’s look at an example to have a clear understanding of what I mean here. To illustrate, let’s say I’ve gone with a low-cost hosting plan for my online store. If many people suddenly start visiting the site, my server will likely crash, costing me sales and potential consumers.
This is what happens when a website uses poor web hosting.
So, it is vitally important to choose the right hosting platform.
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Key points to look for while choosing a hosting platform.
The time a server has been online, and operational is referred to as its uptime. Typically, this is presented as a percentage, such as “99.9% uptime.” Uptime is an excellent indicator of how well a web hosting service maintains its systems and ensures they are always available to customers. If a hosting service has a high uptime percentage, it indicates that its servers remain online and operational. As a result, any website that you host with them should also remain up and operational. Uptime is crucial.
So, opt for the hosting platform that provides good uptime.
2. Monthly Traffic
You may not be aware that some website hosting services have a monthly traffic cap. This means that after a certain number of visits, the server will either start charging for “extra visitors” or stop showing your website online altogether.
Everyone wants to keep their website running smoothly with any outage. In that case, it’s essential to pay attention to the information companies provide and opt for a hosting platform that provides unlimited data traffic.
3. Loading speed
It’s wise to check that the web host you’re considering has a decent loading speed before signing up. It’s essential to keep in mind that while this delay may appear negligible, it might be the deciding factor between a visitor continuing to actively consume your material and leaving your page in frustration.
4. Customer support
Customer support is an essential component, and the service provider’s availability to assist you can mean the difference between a crisis being resolved in a matter of time or a website going offline for a number of hours.
2. Optimize Images
Without a doubt, Images make a website attractive and are very eye catchy. In this fast-paced world where the user attention span is so less, images help attract and retain users. But unoptimized high-resolution images make a site load slowly and that is also a truth.
Some Stats About Images
- On average, images comprise 21% of a webpage’s weight.
- 66% of consumers responded to a poll by saying that before making a purchase, they wanted to see at least three photographs of the goods.
- Time to interact (the length of time a user must wait until they can begin interacting with a site) was cut by 70% when graphics were downsized from 22MB to 300KB.
So, by looking at those stats, it might have been clear why having optimized images on the website is not an option but a necessity. Many sites like TinyJPG are free to use and compress images up to 70% without damaging the quality and help you with image optimization task.
Visuals are crucial to the success of any online store. Use images as much as you can but make sure to optimize them properly.
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3. Reduce the number of redirects
The number of redirects on a page can slow it down because it is a waste of time to navigate to one location only to be taken to another.
However, some redirects are necessary. In cases like
- If you move your content to another URL.
- To secure several domain names at once, to accommodate “user-friendly” or “vanity” domains and URLs, and to detect typographical errors in the latter.
- If you have switched from HTTP to HTTPS
Reduce the number of redirects your website issues, especially those pertaining to initializing your homepage’s resources. The ideal method to achieve this is to employ redirects only when technically required and to look for alternate approaches in all other situations. No matter what the reason, redirects cause extra latency since they require an extra round of HTTP requests and responses.
So, reducing redirects makes the page load faster
4. Enable Browser Caching
5. Cache your Web Pages
The use of caching can significantly improve web page loading times and speed up a website. By keeping a copy of your site’s files in a cache, your server won’t have to work as hard to build and deliver a page to a visitor’s browser.
You may save time and effort by caching your web pages in several different methods. Caching web pages reduces the server resources needed to load a page, reducing the TTFB (Time to First Byte). It’s possible to perform this on the server with your hosting platform’s help. Free WordPress Caching plugins such as W3 Total Cache can also speed up your site’s page loads.
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6. Use Asynchronous Loading to speed up a website
Bit confused; let me explain.
Whereas in Asynchronous multiple files are loading simultaneously without blocking elements from loading. This makes rendering the webpage faster. It means you don’t have to wait for it to finish before doing something else, it can work in the background while other tasks are being worked on. It can be done by eliminating render-blocking resources.
Reducing the size of your files also facilitates their merging. This leads to more readable code and lighter, faster-loading web pages.
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8. Use CDN
Using CDN or Content Delivery Network significantly increases page speed.
The term “content delivery network” (CDN) describes a system of interconnected servers located in different parts of the world that work in tandem to transmit data over the Internet quickly.
Content delivery networks (CDNs) expedite the transfer of data like HTML, JS, CSS, pictures, and videos that make up the content of the website.
With CDN, you may save numerous versions of your website on different servers worldwide. When a visitor visits your website, data is delivered from the server that is physically closest to them, which makes the pages load quickly.
9. Use Plugins Optimally
Using plugins wisely is highly recommended for having a fast website. It is indisputable that plugins are necessary. But there is a downside to it too. Too many plugins make the site slower as extra resources are required to load them. And many times, people install a plugin and forget to uninstall or disable them even if they no longer need them.
So, if you need a fast website, install the necessary plugins and avoid plugins with tons of features because everyone does not require all the features. In addition, these plugins are generally bloated plugins that do more harm than good.
Access your needs first and use plugins accordingly and disable or uninstall extra plugins that are no longer needed.
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Time to Wrap Up
To summarize, a site’s success hinges heavily on its loading time. With even a minor gain in page load speed, you can expect a dramatic decrease in bounce rates, an increase in conversion rates, and a rise in search engine ranks.
However, understanding the significance of website speed is not enough. Now that you have access to these valuable resources, you can put your newfound knowledge into action and speed up a website with ease and confidence.