The website speed makes the first impression about your business. It’s essential to understand that you won’t get a second chance when it comes to user experience. Low website speed is one of the most frustrating things that will turn people off about your resource.
High-performance websites result in high return visits, low bounce rates, higher conversions, engagement, higher ranks in organic search, and better user experience. Slow websites will cost you money and damage your reputation.
By reducing the page load time you will positively impact marketing and sales processes. You’ll get higher traffic and attract more qualified leads that can be converted into customers. In this article, we will give you recommendations about how to improve your website design performance and page load time.
Importance of website speed optimization
Page load time is a web performance metric that shows the time needed for a page to show on the user screen.
Let’s take a look at how the website speed optimization influences the key factors of website success:
Website conversion is an important factor in your business success, which means getting your visitors to do what you want them to do. For instance, they will buy your product, subscribe to newsletters campaigns, register for a webinar, or download a guide.
The faster the page loads, the higher conversion rates it’ll have. According to the Hubspot marketing statistics, 1 second delay means 7 percent reduction in conversions. For instance, a page slowdown of 1 second could cost Amazon $1.6 billion in sales each year.
The load time of your website also influences how easily users can find your website. Website speed is one of the factors that Google takes into consideration when ranking sites. A low performing website has a poor user experience and as a result gains less promotion in search results.
Since December 2017, the Google search engine has started ranking also based on mobile versions of pages, even for desktop searches. The goal of this decision is to protect users from the websites that have low performance and aren’t responsive to all devices.
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Website usability like website page speed, load time, and website responsiveness to user requests directly impacts customer loyalty. The better your website performs, the more satisfied a user will be. A great user experience is a way for building a large customer base and a strong brand.
Ways to assess your website speed
Before starting your website speed optimization you should determine your current loading time and define what slows your site down. Then you should set your website performance goals. The recommendation for page load time in 2018 is to be under 3 seconds.
According to the Google research on the average mobile speed across industry sectors, just a fraction of websites is close to their recommended speed. So, if you optimize your website speed to an acceptable level, you will get a significant ranking advantage over competitors.
The ways of website speed optimization listed in this article are very different and sometimes the solution to one problem can have the negative impact on another aspect of your site. That’s why we recommend analyzing the website speed after each change to determine what actions deliver the best results.
There are several performance evaluation tools that are worth trying:
— Google Pagespeed Insights is a free tool from Google that runs a performance test on your site and provides recommendations on how to increase performance. It works for both desktop and mobile versions.
— Pingdom is also a great tool for website speed testing with a number of useful features. It tracks your website’s performance history, makes data-driven recommendations on how to improve the website speed, and generates easy to understand reports. Pingdom also provides the apps for website speed testing for Android and iOS. It has both free and professional paid monitoring plans.
— YSlow also provides recommendations on how to improve the performance of the page, draws statistics, and summarizes all components.
— Performance Budget Calculator is a free tool that helps figure out what type of content you can use to keep your site running optimally.
Apart from slowing down your site, slow page speed could ruin your user’s experience and it has become one of the major UX mistakes to avoid when designing an app or website. The longer it takes to load, it will lower the average time spent on your webpage. This will, in turn, lead to a higher bounce rate and lesser conversions.
Tips to Speed Up the Website
— Switch to Better Hosting
One way a lot of people try to save money is by choosing the kind of cheap shared hosting that crams as many websites as they can fit onto a server, much like a bunch of clowns piling into a single car. Performance be damned!
The most popular type of hosting that is used all over the world is sharing hosting. That’s the cheapest way to get your site online in a short time and for a low fee. It’s essential to choose the fast web host to ensure better optimization.
— Reduce Extra Plugins
First, run the performance tests on your page to find out which plugins are slowing down your website. Not only does the website speed depend on the number of installed plugins but also on their quality. Try to avoid plugins that load a lot of scripts and styles or generate a lot of database queries.
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The best solution is to keep only the necessary ones and ensure that they are kept up to date. Plugins are common components of each website. They add specific features suggested by third parties. Unfortunately, the more plugins are installed, the more resources are needed to run them.
— Use Site Caching
Caching is the process of storing the current version of your website on the hosting and presenting this version until your website is updated. This means that the web page doesn’t render over and over again for each user. Cached web page doesn’t need to send database requests each time.
The approaches to website caching depend on the platform your website is developed on. For WordPress for instance, you can use the following plugins: W3 Total Cache or W3 Super Cache. If you use VPS or a dedicated server, you can also set up caching under your general settings. In the case of the shared server, the website caching isn’t usually available.
— Minimize Redirects
Website redirects create additional HTTP requests which negatively impact performance. We advise to keep them to a minimum or eliminate them entirely. First, you should identify all redirects on your page by running a site scan.
You can use Screaming Frog to quickly identify redirects. Then you must check if they serve a necessary purpose and leave only the critical ones.
— Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network)
A content delivery network is a set of web servers distributed across various geographical locations that provide web content to end users with regard to their location. When you host the website on a single server, all users requests are sent to the same hardware. For this reason, the time needed to process each request increases.
On top of that, the load time increases when users are physically far from the server. With CDN, user requests are redirected to the nearest server. As a result, the content is delivered to a user quicker and a website works faster. This is a rather expensive, but quite effective way to optimize the load time.
— Detect 404 errors
A 404 error means that a “Page isn’t found”. This message is provided by the hosting to browsers or search engines when the accessed content of a page no longer exists. In order to detect and correct a 404 error, you can use error detection tools and plugins.
As we mentioned, additional plugins can negatively affect your website speed, so we advise running the resource through external tools for error detection.
— Implement Gzip Compression
Gzip Compression is an effective way to reduce the size of files. It minimizes the HTTP requests and reduces the server response time. Gzip compresses the files before sending them to the browser.
On the user side, a browser unzips the files and presents the contents. This method can work with all files on your website. You can enable Gzip on your website by adding some lines of the code or via a utility called gzip.
According to Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyles – what really is important is the load time of critical content as this is what your user is interested in. Hence, tweaking your server and content must be your priority.
For best results, it is suggested to use a combination of hands-on-optimization along with caching and CDN. And now that we have identified the bottlenecks in your site’s page speed you can go about implementing them to unlock its potential.C
AVP of Development Department at Appventurez. An expert in software development, leading by example, and helping teams with core expertise of every emerging mobile technology. He is focused on optimizing the progress of the development teams by guiding them in the right direction through plenty of programming resources frameworks.
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