The People Demand Speed!
When it comes to your website, speed really does matter. We live in a world where we have access to (nearly) everything and anything we want at our fingertips - user expectations are getting higher, while patience levels getting lower. Without a website that loads quickly you’ll be harming your conversion rate, damaging user perceptions of your brand, and potentially your organic rankings as well.
Not convinced website speed is important? Or do you need to convince someone that it’s worth spending time on? Here’s a few hard hitting stats:
57% of visitors will abandon a page if it takes 3 seconds or more to load (1)
1 out of 2 people expect a page to load in less than 2 seconds (2)
79% of web shoppers who have trouble with website performance say they won’t return to the site to buy again (3)
Pit Stops For Diagnosing Your Websites' Weaknesses
If you’re serious about getting your website speed up there’s good news, there are some great tools out there that will tell you what you need to do. Of all of them though there’s one that we use most often, PageSpeed Insights from Google – as well as their slightly newer Mobile Website Speed tool. After all, if we’re going to benchmark website performance Google are a fairly reliable source!
The goal for all our client’s websites on PageSpeed insights is 85/100 and above. We’ve done a lot of work lately to get these up to speed and are delighted we’ve achieved 99/100 and even 100/100 on a couple of occasions.
Here’s some 5 top tips (of many) that you might be able to leverage to get your website up to speed:
1. Avoid landing page redirects
This one is simple; don’t have http://mywebsite.com be listed in google when your site is really http://www.mywebsite.com. The time it takes to redirect from one to the other can cause significant slowdown, especially on mobile devices.
2. Reduce server response time
Google will generally complain if the server’s response time is above 200ms (0.2 seconds). If your response time is high it could be down to an under-powered server without enough resources, a shared host which means you’re consequently sharing resources, a lack of render caching, or having way too many plug-ins on site to name a few.
Minification is the equivalent of re-writing them in shorthand – it reduces their size. Your web browser still understands them; however they become near impossible to understand for a human. This can be done manually, with plugins, or through services like Cloudflare.
4. Optimise images
This is a really important one for mobile. The last thing you want to do is force the user to download a 2MB image on 3G! Ideally you need to strike a balance between image quality vs file size. Optimising images is making sure they employ enough compression whilst still retaining good quality and clarity of the image itself.
Adobe Photoshop along with other image editing software allows the user to specifically export images that are optimized for web browsers. PageSpeed Insights will also provide you with optimised images if you have not optimised them yourself.
We’ve all seen websites that start to load, display some text in an odd format and then finally after a few seconds style everything properly. What we ideally want is to have the page display correctly styled instantly (at least above the fold), whilst the other files are loading.
Creating this CSS can be done with a variety of online tools. The output from these is acceptable, but not always optimised, so make sure you check any outputs before implementation. The CSS can also be created manually, although this can take some considerable time.
Get in contact for more information or if would like to enquire about any challenges or projects you're working on!