In this day and age of instant nearly everything, online users are used to and want easy access to the information they are seeking. This is why ensuring your website has a fast loading time is so important.
Most people don’t seem concerned with the load time of their website, however even a one-second delay in load time causes 11% fewer page views and 7% loss in conversions.
Benefits of improving the load time of your website:
- Your user stays on your site longer. (A study done by Akamai reports that people expect a web page to load in two-seconds or less.) Unfortunately 40% of users will abandon a web page if it takes too long to load.
- When the user stays on your site they are able to take action to connect with your business.
1. Choose a Proper Hosting company
When you have a website, you also have a hosting company that places your website on a server. How your hosting company sets up that server makes all the difference in the load time of your website. If you are having a slower load time, one of the first places to look is your hosting company. Call and see if there are any changes that can be made to speed up the delivery of your site content.
2. Reduce Image sizes
Make sure photos and graphics are an appropriate size – large enough to not be pixelated, but small enough that they load properly and quickly. You will need to adjust the image size BEFORE you upload them to your site to make sure your website loads only the necessary size of your photos or graphic.
3. Ensure your CMS is up-to-date
Unless your site is completely custom-coded and managed by only adjusting the code, you are likely using a content management system (CMS). For optimal speed, make sure you keep the CMS (Such as WordPress, Joomla, Squarespace, etc.) updated.
There are often software updates released for each CMS. If you have not been in the back-end of your website on a consistent basis, you may have a few different updates that have not been installed. Make it a regular habit to go in and check that you have installed all of the most recent software updates for your CMS.
4. Remove Unnecessary Plugins and Keep them Updated
One of the most popular content management systems out there is WordPress. This system uses plugins to allow for various functionality on your website. That being said, most content management systems have some sort of plugins or add-ons to allow for various functionality of your site. Just as you need to keep your CMS software updated, you also need to keep you plugin software updated.
Additionally, as you’ve made changes to your website there may be plugins that you have installed that are not in use anymore. Those plugins need to be removed from your back-end system as well.
5. Enable Caching
This one gets a little technical. Basically, when a user loads your website in their browser, it is loading all of the content of your website. If you do not have browser caching enabled, you are making the person’s browser load ALL of the content of your site each time they visit. When you enable browser caching, you allow for the browser to load all of the content for your site that one time for your user. Then, when a user re-visits your site, your browser only has to load the content that has not previously been loaded making the load time much faster for returning visitors.
Since enabling browser caching gets a bit technical, we want to point you towards some resources. If we are your web-development company, contact us here to discuss browser caching for your site. If you are trying to go-it-alone, here is a web article on caching that will be helpful.
This part is a bit technical as well. However, Google has graciously given us many useful web tools – including a tool to analyze your site speed on an ongoing basis. Google Page Speed gives you analytics and insights to help you identify ways to make your site faster and more mobile-friendly.
If you are trying to install Google Page Speed on your own without the help of a web-developer AND you have WordPress, you should be in good shape as they have created a WordPress plugin for Google PageSpeed Insight you can access here.
The full use of Google PageSpeed is largely a web-developer tool so if you are not a web-developer by profession you may need to consult with one. Hey, we’re pretty easy to talk to! Just make sure that whoever you consult with starts by installing the PageSpeed Module for the type of web server you have hosting your website and installs the PageSpeed Optimized Libraries.
In conclusion, the behavior of online users has made a fast load-time for your website necessary. Using some of the tips above, you can attract and keep more current and potential customers on your site and help lead them to take action with your company.