Slow website speed? Learn why
Website speed is a very important site quality parameter, however, it is still often overlooked. Owners are usually more focused on increasing sales by improving their website design, developing effective commercial texts or investing into expensive advertisements.
However, a websites’ efficiency may depend not these factors, rather on slowly loading site content which tests the patience of visitors and negatively affects the websites’ SEO rankings.
Research shows that if a website loads even 1 second slower, than the usual average, conversions drop by 7% (Source).
In this article you will learn how to fix the problems of a slow website once and for all by applying certain Website speed optimization methods.
Consequences of a slow website
Slow site speed problems occur in two main aspects. First of all, websites’ that take a long time to load suffer from a huge bounce rate (percentage of visitors that leave the website immediately after entering it) problem.
If it takes more than 3-5 seconds to fully load your web content, chances are, the majority of visitors will bounce immediately without further interest in what you have to offer. Think about it, you may be offering exactly what they are looking for, but due to this technical issue, you will lose on an opportunity to sell them a product/service.
According to the latest research conducted by Google, if a website takes 1-3 seconds to load, the chance that visitors will leave the website is 32 percent, if 1-5 seconds – 90 percent and up 10 seconds – 123 percent. (Source). So, every seconds wasted on loading your content loses potential clients and simply gives them out to your competition.
Moreover, a sites’ loading speed also affects its SEO. Website speed is one of the key factors which determine what websites Google will show higher up in rankings rather than others. Experience shows that a slow loading speed drastically decreases the chances of getting good position on Google.
Reasons for a slow loading website
Reasons for a slow loading website are various. From our experience in the field, we can tell that the main one’s are related to a sites’ incorrect architecture and a lack of internal optimization:
- Unoptimized scripts;
- Unoptimized CSS and JS files;
- Incorrect order of CSS and JS files;
- 404 errors on site;
- Cache functions are not used/used incorrectly;
- Unoptimized website server.
Site speed test before and after optimization
In the video below, you will see how site optimization improves the loading speed of website from 11.7 seconds to 3.7 seconds, that is, by almost 3 times.
This change dramatically increased user experience and the bounce rate dropped from 70 percent to 30 percent. Visits from mobile devices increased significantly as well. On the left we can see a site before and on the right, after applying speed optimization methods for a website.
Competitor website speed
Even if everything is done the correct way, a new competitor may still take a chunk of your potential clients. In order to successfully develop a business online, you always have to keep an eye on your competition and what they are doing.
If you want to learn more about your market competition and how well they are optimized compared to your website, send us an e-mail here and we will offer you a custom video course with more information on the topic. In the e-mail, include your website address and the websites of two of your competitors.
What to do in order to increase the speed of a website?
Big investments to a site not always pay off, particularly if loading speed prevents a website from effectively do its job – engage and interest visitors with its content.
Here are the main measures which will help you optimize your website and increase the sites loading speed.
JS and CSS file optimization
In order to increase the sites loading speed, it is important to optimize JS and CSS files by deleting all the unnecessary elements – comments, empty breaks, symbols are not used for any functions on the site. This allows browers to download and display the data from a website, that is why site speed increases.
Decrease of the amount of processes a site needs to load
When a website is being opened on a PC browser or a mobile device, a file loading process occurs. Inexperience web developers often overlook the importance of site speed and thus clients receive sites that are unnecessarily slow functioning. Website speed optimization involves stripping down the files found on the website only to the core ones. Obviously, a website, which only has a workload of 10 files instead of 200, will be able to boost much faster.
The amount of process to load also decreases after its been properly adapted for mobile display. Not only does the amount of files is stripped down, but certain informational blocks are prevented from display as well. To find out whether or not your website is properly set up for mobiles – click here.
Large media files increase the loading time as well. If your posts have a number of videos or large try uploading them on youtube to conserve website space. In the case of photos try to reduce the file size of the image via an editing program by decreasing the resolution or tiny bit of image quality.
Removal of previous file versions
WordPress site templates are often developed in a way that system files are loaded based on their version. This is an obstacle for caching the sites’ content and makes the browser download its server files every time there is a request for it.
In order to boost site speed from this angle it is highly recommended to file caching and forbid the storage of previous file versions.
File caching installation
File caching allows the browser to store system files from a website without the need to download them every time its needed to be displayed. In this case, the server resources are being saved and as a results, the site loads faster.
In other words, if a visitor comes back to your website, they will have the files on their computer and its contents will be displayed much faster.
404 error removal
404 errors are links within a website which to nowhere. It can be a file or photo which does not exist anymore as well. These errors not only increase the loading time, since the browser is constantly requesting for a file, which does not exist anymore, but affects SEO as well. Since, the search engine sees that your website contains many content errors it won’t rank you higher than your competition.
Server load optimization
Often the speed of the site depends on server parameters and the quality of its processes. First of all, when you launch your website, you need to choose your hosting provider wisely. Not only all, in order for your website to reach its maximum potential, a few other tweaks are needed to be made – to optimize the loading time (response time) from your server. We recommend to keep it under 200ms.
Adaptation of the AMP standard
AMP is a project of Google that is related to other giants of the web like (Twitter, WordPress, Pinterest, etc.). This project focuses mainly on a new open source system to increase loading speed – AMP HTML. As results have showing it is quite and effective additional tool to increase functionality of websites.
CDN service usage
A websites’ upload to the CDN servers increases the download speed of images and fonts significantly. This is especially relevant if a site is aimed at and international market, where visitors come from all over the globe. CDN displaces the main files of the website to the nearest server, so this allows to have an optimized speed for visitors from different countries.
Check your website speed optimization levels now
As tendencies show, loading time remains one the key factors for websites, so admins should keep a lookout for it constantly.
Using Google’s free tools you may evaluate your site speed within a few minutes. If it’s not fast enough, changes are needed to be made.
If you are interested in optimizing the speed of your website, contact us here. We will diagnose all the problems that your site may be encoutering and will provide a strategy on how to solve them.