Every business owner wants their website to perform well. The business website of today needs to be more appealing and attractive for better conversion rates. The one thing that affects conversion rates greatly is website speed. Customers can’t take any action on the website until it finishes loading.
Google’s Matt Cutts and Amit Singhal hinted back in 2010 that site speed is an element that can help improve search engine rankings. They explained in a blogpost how websites with faster load times perform well compared to websites with slower load times:
“You may have heard that here at Google we’re obsessed with speed, in our products and on the web. As part of that effort, today we’re including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed. Site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests.”
Site Speed Matters for Business
Since Google doesn’t disclose the factors that increase a website’s ranking, website developers and owners found this information very insightful. When it comes to ecommerce, faster loading speeds mean more views, which in turn, means more conversions. However, the mechanics required to make this happen are no piece of cake. Stewart McGrath, CEO of Squixa, says that website speed doesn’t fall in the equation up until the whole design is finalized.
“Website performance is one of those things that is often brushed under the mat. When people are building websites the things that they focus on are usually – what color is it? What do the pictures look like? What does structure of the page look like? What is the functionality like?” he says.
This is a common idea in today’s business world – pretty designs look pleasing to the eye so let’s have more of them on the website. In reality, some design elements become a hurdle for the site’s loading time, in some cases taking enough time for a viewer to change his mind and turn away. This means that you lose a potential client every time the site takes an additional second to load.
In a study performed on 16 ecommerce sites, it was found out that site speed was a major problem for business. This study led to another study of 500 websites, which further confirmed these results:
Websites are not loading faster, even after all these years. Only 50 percent of these sites load in five seconds, while the average stood at eight seconds. If a site owner improved their load time from eight seconds to five seconds, their site had an 18 percent increase in value/page views.
This led to some other generalizations, which are stated below:
- Some pages matter more on your website, which means that improving the speed of these pages is enough to improve revenue.
- Heavier media files aren’t the only burden on site speed. Server and page configuration matter just as much as media files and cache.
For any business website, site speed shouldn’t be an option. It’s important to think about minimizing load times when the website is still in the works. However, you can still improve your site ranking now, even if you know how to analyze it and make relevant changes.
Post unique content on the site to stand out from the crowd and design a robust marketing strategy to promote your content for larger viewership. Check out this content writing guide which uses a sample blog as example.
How to Measure Site Speed
Fortunately, there are plenty of tools available on the internet to measure site speed. Most of them have the same features, except for a few distinguishing ones.
Just enter your URL into this little tool’s search bar and click ‘submit.’ It will provide you an instant report of your site performance. It will give you a list of recommendations based on high, medium or low priority.
The originator of Yoast created a nice plugin for Google Analytics which includes a feature related to site speed. The performance reports collected by this plugin will identify how quickly or slowly your site loads.
If you wish to analyze individual pages, Pingdom can deliver some great reports. The good thing about Pingdom is that it displays results in real-world conditions. The tests are performed on real browsers like Chrome.
How to Fix Site Speed
Use a Good Hosting Service
Web hosting is one of the leading factors that affect site speed. Hosting companies try to stuff as many websites as they can on one server, leading to higher profits for them but slower load times for those sites.
This approach affects every site on the server. You can avoid this by choosing the most reliable and proven player in the market. If you use WordPress, check out these 7 hosting services for 2017. Other types of platforms can upgrade to VPS hosting or a dedicated server if they have the budget. The decision of shifting should be made after careful analysis of site speed using the tools mentioned above.
Install Caching Plugins
Most websites are dynamic, but several parts of them are static. For example, the navigation bar normally doesn’t change much. This means that static content can be cached. Items like stylesheets, java files and basic HTML pages can be cached. Using a content delivery network is the best way to utilize caching and all other features. There are multiple global servers for these CDNs and a user can access the items on your website by downloading media and content from the nearest server.
We know that high quality images are heavier than low quality images. That doesn’t mean site owners should shift to low quality media. The ideal solution lies in compressing the images. There are two main benefits. First, you improve the site speed and second, you reduce your bandwidth usage. Many plugins are widely available to compress images for upload.
Clean your code
Check and recheck your site speed
Bear in mind that this isn’t a one-time job. Keep checking your site performance using a good performance checker. A faster site means less worry for your business, so keep working to achieve the ideal 3-second load time. Who knows, maybe you will rank high in the SERPs as a result of these efforts! Check out different reviews on how to improve your site’s speed.
About Evie Harrison
Evie harrison is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences and express herself through her blogs. Currently, she is associate with The Dubai Bazar Team.
Find her on Twitter: @iamevieharrison