5 Steps to a Faster Website

Today, the average adult has an attention span comparable to a goldfish. So, when it comes to your website, you’d better be sure you have everything in order. The first key to making your website faster:  page load speed.

page loading

Faster Page Load = Better

The amount of time it takes a web user to load your website is critical. This is especially true if you operate a retail or e-commerce business. Each second lost in page load time may be dollars lost in revenue. Take the following for example:

For e-commerce sites, web loading times are even more crucial than other sites. It has been found that a delay of microseconds can potentially cause a significant loss of revenue. Tests at Amazon revealed similar results: every 100 ms increase in load time of Amazon.com decreased sales by 1% (Kohavi and Longbotham 2007). Google discovered that a change in a 10-result page loading in 0.4 seconds to a 30-result page loading in 0.9 seconds decreased traffic and ad revenues by 20% (Linden 2006). [source]

One percent may not sound like a lot; however, when you consider how much business Amazon does every hour, every day, a one percent revenue loss is significant. The same can be said for smaller businesses or ‘mom n’ pop’ shops.

Building Customer Loyalty & Trust

According to Kissmetrics, nearly 50% of consumers expect a webpage to load in two seconds or less. Putting this into perspective, if an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1 second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5 million in lost sales every year. [source]

In the time it takes your website to load (slowly), your would-be customer has already clicked off and found another online retailer to do business with. The impact of slow page load times that fail to meet customer expectations is far reaching. Not only can it create a lack of trust and loyalty; it can actually sully your brand and brandish your business as being unreliable.

Anatomy of a Webpage

website loading spinnerFiguring out why your webpage/website isn’t loading as fast as you’d like is a matter of thinking through the different components that make up your website. Each webpage is made up of the following:

  • 63% images
  • 16% javascripts
  • 3% HTML
  • 3% CSS
  • 16% other

If your website is loading slowly, it’s likely due to the fact that there is a large amount of content on the site, and that content isn’t structured properly. This is an important point to note as there are countless websites made up of thousands of webpages that function smoothly and load without issues.

How do you make a website faster? 5 Steps

So, how do you go about making your website faster? Consider the following tips [source]:

Make Your Website Faster By:

#1 – Optimizing Images

At 63 percent, images take up a huge chunk of room on most websites. Make sure you reduce the image file size before saving it or uploading it to your website. Photoshop, for example, has a “save for web” option to help you automatically reduce the file size. Otherwise, if you upload an image at its regular full size, the browser has to work hard to resize that image (hence the delays in page load time). There are also other online programs out there to help you reduce image file sizes.

#2 – Minifying Your Assets

Minifying your assets refers to the act of condensing the CSS code, which makes it quicker for web browsers to read the data on your website. This is a great thing as browsers will read the code with less gaps, which will help speed up the page load time. There are also plugins available to help you do this.

#3 – Combining Assets

Combining assets refers to the act of combining multiple files with a single file for CSS & JavaScript. Doing this will reduce the amount of times your computer needs to request and send data to from your a server to other devices.

#4 – Updating Your Web Browser

Technology moves fast, and it is important to keep up! One of the simplest things you can do is make sure that your web browser is up to date. There are various plugin available to help you out with this, and it is recommended that you let an experienced web developer handle this sort of update. On the plus side, an updated web browser can significantly improve site performance, and more.

#5 – Caching Your Website

When an individual web user visits your website, “caching” is what allows the visitor’s web browser to remember what files were used, and it will pull these files locally onto the user’s screen (versus having to make individual trips to the web server).

Why Decreasing Page Load Time Can Help Increase Conversions

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Slow-loading webpages can not only cause you to lose visitors, it can cause you to lose money in potential sales. Consider the following data:

  • For every 100 milliseconds of site speed, Amazon reported an increased revenue of 1%.
  • For every 1 second of increased site speed, Walmart saw a 2% increase in conversions.
  • A study by Akami found that 47% of Web users expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.
  • The same study above noted that 52% of online shoppers say that quick page loads are important for their loyalty to a site.
  • According to a report by Radware, anything over the ideal page load time of around 3 seconds or less can affect a number of online metrics, including bounce rates and return visits.
  • According to research by Google, the average mobile browser page takes a whopping 7 seconds to load. However, Google finds that anything lasting longer than 1 second is enough to turn people off; therefore, the only answer is to cut page load time to under 2 seconds. [source]

Page Load Time for Mobile

According to research conducted by The Search Agency, on average, the homepage on a Fortune 100 company takes around 5 seconds to load on a smartphone. Compare this to the average mobile webpage, which takes approximately 7 seconds to load. Now, compare this to Google, which recommends a page load speed of about 1 second or less. In fact, The Search Agency revealed that only 16 of the Fortune 100 companies had load speeds of less than 1 second. [source]

This information is noteworthy as we continue to head into an era dominated heavily by mobile devices. In fact, if your website isn’t already optimized in some way for mobile devices, you are already having to play catch up with the rest of businesses who are steps ahead. Optimizing your website for mobile

5 Tips to Help Decrease Page Load Time

  1. Make sure caching is working – Enabling browser caching allows your browser to load your web page without having to send additional HTTP requests to the server.
  2. Decrease HTTP requestsYahoo reports that 80% of a Web page’s load time is consumed by downloading various pieces of that particular page such as: images, Flash, stylesheets and more. Simplifying your Web design will help to keep the requests to a minimum.
  3. Optimize images – Optimizing your images is one of the simplest ways to help increase page speed. Size images prior to uploading them to your site. This reduces the amount of unnecessary data that needs to be transferred.
  4. Minify CSS & JavaScript code – CSS Compressor and JavaScript Compressor are two handy web apps that can minify your code for you. [source]
  5. Minimize redirects – Redirects can trigger extra HTTP requests, which add time.