Web Page Load Time Optimization
Google is all about offering the best user experience (UX), and page load speed plays a huge role in how your site scores on UX. However, search engine rankings are not the only reason why you should be working on optimizing your page load time. You may be losing out on customers and bottom-line profits as well. Let’s take a look at the why and how of web page load time optimization.
How important is web page load speeds to users?
Every extra second that your page takes to load could be affecting your page bounce rate, views and conversion rate. Statistics show that a second’s delay could cut down your page views by 11 percent, and bring down the conversion rate by 7 percent.
Ecommerce sites take the biggest hit from slow page load speeds, among all sites. 4 out of 5 customers shopping online say they will not return to a site if it takes long to load. It can also have a ripple effect and discourage other users from using your site as well; about 44 percent of users say that they would tell friends about a slow site speed and performance.
In fact ecommerce sites with a daily revenue of $100,000 can expect to lose about $2.5 million annually from a second’s delay in page load speed. The faster the page loads, the greater the customers’ trust in the site, thereby improving the conversion rate.
Sites that cut down page load speeds from 8 seconds to 2 seconds can expect a 74 percent conversion rate rise. See why a fast page load speed is indispensable for your business?
How does website load speed affect your search engine ranking?
Website page load speed is a ranking factor that Google uses. It makes sense because better the website speed, better the UX, and hence greater the chance of the site showing up in the top pages of the search engine results. That’s not where it stops.
You probably already know that Google has crawlers reading through everything that is posted online, so it can be indexed. Google officials say the crawling activity on your site will be slower, if the page load speed is slow.
Say, you’re putting up new SEO-optimized content on your site with hopes that Google indexes it in the top search results due to the relevancy in content and keyword optimization. Throw in slow page load speed into the equation, and your SEO efforts will go unnoticed, for some time at least. Why?
Because the crawling activity is slower on slow-loading sites! You inbound traffic could take a hit as a result, and in turn, your conversion rate plummets as well.
How does your website fare?
There are various online tools that you can use to determine your website page load speed and performance. Firefox has a Page Speed plugin, while Google has a Page Speed Online Chrome extension that you can use for the same.
Some of these tools even offer suggestions on how you can be fixing your page speed in order of priority. You can gain insight on how your page load speed varies depending on the browser and geographical location. Some tools like Google Webmaster show pictorial graphs of how your site load speed varied through the month, and how it compares with other sites. Other website audit tools, can help your gauge the performance of each site page in driving inbound traffic.
Working with you in-house or a professional web developer can help you better understand the technical jargon in these overviews, and make changes to improve your site speed.
So how fast should your website be to toe the line?
Surveys show that anything over 4 seconds could have visitors leaving your website. Mobile sites have a lower threshold when it comes to user attention span and load speed. Google expects mobile site pages to load in a second or lesser. If your website page load speeds do not meet these threshold time limits, it is time you evaluated where you can make changes and fixes.
How to improve your page load speed
- Images: Keep the image size optimized so it loads faster. There are various plugins that allow you to reduce image size without affecting the quality. A Lazy Load plugin can help improve website load speed as well, as only the images that are in the viewing grid of the user load as they scroll through the page. Limit the use of GIFs so pages load faster. Hotlinking can eat into your bandwidth, increase server load and decrease page load speeds.
- Responsive site: If you do not have a responsive site, then mobiles users are redirected to a mobile-version of the site every time they click on its link. These HTTP requests and redirects can add to your load time. Instead you can have users directly access the mobile site without any other redirects in between, by adopting a responsive design. No points for guessing which one of these models Google likes better.
- Large pages: It does not come as a surprise that large pages take long to download. Compress large pages so they load faster. You can also try splitting long content into multiple pages so it loads faster. It can also help boost your page views.
- Caching: Instead of having users download the same page elements each time, you can have some of the data stored on site visitor devices, so the page loads faster. All you need to do is enable browser caching on the website server.
Hosting service: Make sure you partner with a reliable hosting service. Do not skimp on web hosting service, the greater the up-time and speeds, the better the results.
If you are unsure about how to go about web page load time optimization, you can get in touch with our experts. We will do a quick check of your site to determine how the page load speed can be improved. Remember, every second you cut down from your page load speed, could add to your lead ratio.