The loading speed of a website is an important factor which all webmasters need to be aware about. The reasoning behind this is so simple; people are impatient and want fast sites, and site speed is a major ranking factor in Google’s algorithm!
This is backed up by a lot of studies highlighting the affect site speed has on the mentality of search users, and its influence on determining rankings of search engine result pages.
From a basic user-experience point of view, nobody likes having to wait for a webpage to load. Whilst the reality is that pages rarely take beyond one minute to load, every second is counted in the search user’s mind; so the longer the delay occurs, the more likely they are to abandon your site. This is exacerbated by the abundance of competitor sites available at their fingertips – if your page won’t load fast enough, search users can easily look elsewhere to get the answers they need. We know this from numerous case studies, showing the link between the loss of revenue and slow page speed, which will be further examined throughout the article.
Site speed is also an important ranking factor in Google’s algorithm, meaning that the faster your site loads, the more favourable it is going to look in the eyes of Google. Very slow sites offer a bad user experience for searchers – and Google has a much stronger view on good UX design these days.
Addressing the speed of your website holds a significant value for webmasters. Whether your site is a blog, e-commerce, or a local business, by improving load times you have the power of impacting both factors of the user-experience and ranking signals. A fast-loading page will give search users a more positive interaction, which leads to longer durations spent on your site and giving them a higher chance of converting into your customers (getting what they came for such as information retrieval or make a purchase/enquiry on product or service). Also, excellent load times will improve your rankings, thereby gaining more organic traffic for your site.
Marketers often ignore the importance of load time, partly due to the fact that there has not been a strong analysis which shows the relation between conversion rates and technical factors of a landing page. This is in contrast to the abundance of resources available for on-page elements (think about web headlines, titles, call-to-action messages, etc.). In this world, every second counts and this is best exemplified through the case study of Amazon’s website.
According to reports, being one second slow causes Amazon to lose an estimated amount of $1.6 billion in sales per year. Google calculated that slowing Amazon’s search results by just four-tenths of a second they are losing 8 million searches per day – meaning they are missing out on a large pool of potential customers.
In carrying this line of argument, research shows that shoppers are generally an impatient bunch of people, both online and offline. Just consider the fact that it takes less than 15 minutes for your average shopper to leave a store if they are not attended to. The concept of responding negatively to be left waiting is hugely evident through statistics provided from e-commerce sites, where they show:
To put things into perspective, Amazon is a well-known brand that a lot of people are familiar with – if people can’t tolerate waiting for a major brand, imagine the cause of concern SME’s might have, as people will be even less likely to wait for them!
Now this begs the question, what are the possible causes that slow down the loading speed of my website?
Although to determining specific causes will vary on a case by case basis, refer to this guide to pinpoint where the problem lies.
Is your entire website slow? Or is it just certain pages that seem to load slower than others? A common culprit in slowing down the speed of your webpages is un-optimised images. Un-optimised images refer to any images that can be reduced in size without impacting the visual elements for search users. Other on-page elements, including ads, widgets and even the fonts of your content may be contributing to the decreasing speed of your webpage!
The enablement of HTTP compression on webservers can reduce the size of downloaded pages, which ultimately improves loading time of a website. HTTP compression is a feature that can be built into websites, so browsers of all types can compress the data and display its correct format.
Making your site look amazing is important, but it can often come at a cost. The overuse of widgets, plugins, and other code inducing features will slow down the loading speed of your site. Some CMS’s are more culpable than others, especially the free ones, such as the case of WordPress. Is your site built on a WordPress platform? Read on below.
WordPress is a highly popular CMS, mostly due to its ease of use and resources available. However, this actually works against the load speed on WordPress sites, as the use of customised themes and plugins limits a site’s ability to load pages in the quickest way possible.
There’s plenty of reasons that could be slowing down your WordPress site. Start by examining these two factors above, and see if they are the cause of your sluggish site speed. And utilising the tools below, you can finds tips for improving your site speed.
Are you concerned about your website load speed? Find out how Quantum's professional web developers can help your website load faster.
It’s important to address the issues involved around speed of your website – the end effect is that slow sites lead to lower conversions, higher bounce rates, and overall poor user experience. These tools below can help you identify the problems and provide useful information on how you can improve the speed of your loading!
Webpage Test: An open source that is developed by Google, designed to make websites load faster. It’s widely used by many companies and individuals, providing the essential testing infrastructure people need in order to address the loading speed of their site. It’s free and quite simple to use.
PageSpeed Insights: Part of Google’s available web performance tools, PageSpeed Insights’ purpose is to look at making web pages fast on all devices.
Compressor: Sites like this are good resources for optimising your images.
If you would like a professional hand in auditing your site or to figure out ways to improve your site speed, you can always talk to our team and we’ll be able to guide you through the process. Quantum’s sites are built to load in a fast and efficient manner. We can help you retain the look and feel you want your website to convey, all whilst keeping in line with technical guidelines and recommendations. Contact us today.