October 16, 2015
The amount of time it takes for each of your web pages to load can affect every metric important to you – from search ranking, to bounce rate, page views, conversion, and even reader satisfaction. With that in mind, almost every major tech expert has come to the same conclusion: the faster your site is, the better your results will be.
In 2006, Amazon released information suggesting that a 100-millisecond increase in their page loading time delivered a 1% increase in revenue. A few years later, Google informed the web that page speed is an important metric that they consider when ranking a website. Studies have shown that:
- 85% of mobile users expect website to load on their phone faster than on their computer
- 40% of users will leave a website if a page doesn’t load within 2 seconds
- 79% of online shoppers who are dissatisfied with website performance will refuse to buy from that location again
- 52% of shoppers define quick pages as a crucial factor in maintaining their loyalty
So how can you improve the success of your website by making it quicker, and more effective?
1. Reduce the Number Of HTTP Requests
According to research from Yahoo!, around 80% of the loading time attributed to a web page speed is downloading the various parts of one page: from stylesheets, scripts, and images, to flash, and other files. The more elements you have running on one page at any given time – the longer that page will take to render. Sometimes, the quickest way to improve site speed is to simplify your design, streamlining the elements on your page, combing multiple style sheets, using CSS instead of images where possible, and reducing scripts then placing them towards the bottom of the page. Usually, when it comes to website creation, the simpler, the better.
2. Re-size Images before Using Them
If your website uses a CMS (content management system) like WordPress, you can usually upload images at full size and then adjust the size of their display through your website’s backend. However, by doing this, you can force web browsers to execute various commands at once, by collecting images and re-sizing them in quick-time. To prevent these actions from slowing your website, use an editing program to adjust the images you’re using to the correct size before you place them on your site.
3. Remove Unnecessary Plugins
The ever-increasing number of interesting plugins that are appearing for free on the market today can tempt anyone into installing more tech than they need. However, it’s important to keep in mind that every plugin you utilize requires resources to function – and the more resources you use – the slower your site will be. One of the biggest threats comes in the form of social-sharing plugins which reduce page-loading times significantly. Replace these with easy social buttons embedded into the source code of your website theme, and you’ll find your website starts to run faster. What’s more, before you add any further plugins to your site, make sure you weigh the functionality you gain against the potential loss in site speed.
4. Make Use of Browser Caching
Whenever a user is sent to your website for the first time through a link to your landing page, their browser will have to download all of the data located there. Through browser caching, that browser will store any previously downloaded resources in a local area, reducing the amount of data transferred across the network. To ensure faster loading speeds through browser caching, webmasters can set a maximum age or expiry date within the HTTP headers for resources added locally. For example, browsers can keep stylesheets and images in their cache for faster web-page loading times, as when a visitor comes back to the website, those images will already be available.
5. Access Compression Solutions
If you’re developing high-quality content for your websites, then you should have a number of large pages – made up of 100kb or more. Because these pages are so hefty, they become more difficult to download – resulting in longer page loading times. The best way to speed up a website plagued by this problem is to compress those large pages into zip files. Through compression, the bandwidth of a page falls, reducing the HTTP response. There are tools available like Gzip that can help to format files before sending them for download, reducing load-time by as much as 70%.
Reduced Loading Time is important
The speed at which your website loads is an important part of delivering a good user experience for your customers and clients. Don’t let speed slide in favor of nifty plugins or more appealing aesthetic design. At the end of the day, website visitors care more about the speed and functionality of your website, then the bells and whistles you might want to add.
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