Have you ever visited a website that was so slow that you immediately clicked off the page? It happens all the time, and it drives away readers and customers and can even lower your rankings in the search engines. Fortunately, smart web developers are acknowledging that speed matters.
In fact, more and more serious website owners are hiring third-party agencies to help them improve their website’s load times. It’s that important to helping them retain visitors. You can have the best site in the world, but if it doesn’t load quickly enough, you’re losing business.
Why Website Speed Matters
Why is website speed such a big issue? People are more impatient than ever and won’t stick around if the information they’re looking for doesn’t pop up quickly. If your website doesn’t load in two seconds or less, there’s a good chance you’ll lose your viewer. In fact, Google recommends that website owners aim for a page load speed of under a half-second.
Could your website use a speed boost? Every millisecond matters when it comes to web performance. The attention span of online users grows shorter and shorter by the day since they have so many options and many will click away from any website that takes too long to load.
According to a survey carried out by CrazyEgg.com, 52% of customers said that how fast a page loads influences how loyal they are to that site, and 44% said they tell others when they have a bad experience with a website loading. Faster load speeds also increase the odds that a viewer will purchase an item or items.
Plus, Google considers how fast a website loads when determining how high a site rank. Google knows that people are far more likely to click on a link to a web page if they can see that the page is loading quickly. (Hence the reason Google has their special brand of speed test called PageSpeed.)
Test Your Website Speed
There are a number of sites online where you can check your page load speed, including Google’s PageSpeed. Another popular tool for checking website loading speed is called Pingdom. Regardless of which you choose, test loading speed from various locations around the world. Most sites that check loading speeds will allow you to do that. Some of the sites where you check speed will be close to your data center, but you should also check speeds at distant locations. Some sites will also allow you to test website loading speeds from multiple locations at once.
Speed Up Your Website
Once you know you have a website that takes longer than two seconds to load, you have some work to do. Some of the simpler things you can do are to:
- Allow web page caching. This will speed page loading for repeat visitors.
- Reduce and optimize image sizes, as large file sizes load slowly. If you use WordPress, there are plug-ins that will do this for you.
- Reduce page redirects, as each time a page redirects, a request must be initiated to the new page and a response returned. This takes time and reduces page load speed.
Another option is to use a CDN (content distribution network), like CloudFlare, to distribute your webpage files across a variety of servers. This makes it possible for viewers to get your data from a site that’s closest to them and that speeds up page loading.
How do you know which of these are slowing your load speed? There are various tools online that will analyze your webpage for problems that are slowing your page load time. An example is PageSpeed Insights tool. To use it, enter your website address into a bar and it will give you a full report. Once you know what’s slowing you down, you can make the appropriate changes so your visitors can enjoy a smoother, faster experience on your site.
The Bottom Line
Speed matters. There’s no way around it. So, check your website loading speed and optimize it. Your visitors will appreciate it and you’ll enjoy the added traffic and profits that a faster-loading website offers. It’s worth the effort!
The Atlanta Small Business Network, from start-up to success, we are your go-to resource for small business news, expert advice, information, and event coverage.
While you’re here, don’t forget to subscribe to our email newsletter for all the latest business news know-how from Atlanta Small Business Network.