Table of contents:
- What is site speed?
- Why is site speed important?
- Best practices for improving site speed
It doesn’t matter if you are a small business or a large corporation, website page speed is a critical factor for any business to gain customers and increase revenue.
The speed of a website creates the first impression of your business. It has a direct impact on website user experience, conversion rates, repeat customers, and SEO rankings. Google considers site speed a ranking factor for both desktop and mobile searches.
- 53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes more than three seconds to load (Google)
- Amazon says that one second of load lag time would cost them $1.6 billion in sales each year
- 47% of customers expect web pages to load in 2 seconds or less(Nexcess.net)
- 79% of web shoppers who have trouble with website performance say they won’t return to the site to buy again(Liquidweb)
What Is Site Speed?
Site speed is a measurement of how fast the content on your page loads. It is an important metric for any website whether it is a small business or large corporation. It’s even more important for ecommerce sites since it directly affects conversion on purchases leading to higher abandoned carts on checkouts.
Why Is Site Speed Important?
Benefits of a fast loading website include:
- Better user experience
- Higher Google search rankings
- Increased traffic
- Attracts more qualified leads
- Enhanced engagement
- More conversions for leads and ecommerce
- Higher Conversions: Bounce rates will be lower and conversions will be higher if the website loads fast. The conversion rate of a business is directly affected by its site speed.
Users tend to stay on high-speed websites which results in higher conversions. As per Google, mobile conversions can increase up to 27% due to just one-second site speed improvement.
- Improve Ecommerce Website Performance: When it comes to the speed of ecommerce, time is really money. 18% of customers will abandon their transactions if pages are too slow. Ultimately site speed also affects your advertising and other promotions that you are running because all the work done to advertise will not be fruitful if the site is slow.
The companies that have faster websites tend to do much better on ecommerce conversion. A 1-second delay in page response can result in a 7% decrease in conversions.
- Higher Google Rankings SEO Factor: Google search engine ranking of a website is directly affected by its speed. The more a website ranks higher, the more are the chances that the potential customers can discover your business.
Recently, Google made site speed a ranking factor for search results as slow loading websites will impact the user experience adversely.
- Improve User Experience: Site speed has an impact on customer’s satisfaction and conversion. Websites with a longer load time tend to have higher bounce rates and lower session time making it critical to ensure a good user experience.
Users leave a website if the site loads slowly which affects conversions. Fast page load time builds trust of customers in an ecommerce site and produces more returning visitors.
Customers expect pages to load in two to three seconds, after which almost 40% of users will abandon a site. Major sites like Amazon, Akamai and Google noted similar results.
Best Practices For Improving Site Speed
Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN):
A content delivery network (CDN) is a set of web servers distributed throughout numerous geographical places. It offers web content to end-users regarding their location. A CDN helps cache content at the network edge resulting in better website performance.
There are many advantages of using a CDN:
- It improves website load times – Visitors experience faster page loading times as the content is distributed closer to website visitors by using a nearby CDN server.
- It decreases bandwidth costs – A major expense for websites is bandwidth consumption costs for website hosting. CDNs can decrease the amount of data an origin server must provide through caching and other optimizations, resulting in a decrease in hosting costs for website owners.
- It increases content availability and redundancy – normal website functions can be interrupted by large amounts of traffic or hardware failures. A CDN can handle more traffic and withstand hardware failure better than many origin servers.
- It improves website security – A CDN may improve security by offering DDoS mitigation, improvements to security certificates, and other optimizations.
- It optimizes the load time – Every user request is sent to the same hardware when the website is hosted on a single server which increases the processing time of each request. The load time also increases depending on physically how far the users are from the server.
CDN helps to redirect requests to the nearest server enabling quick delivery of content to a user as a result of which a website works faster. This is an efficient way to optimize the load time.
Some of the popular CDNs are:
- Google Cloud CDN
- Amazon CloudFront
2. Get Better Web Hosting:
Getting started with the right web hosting service is important as it can play a huge role in the growth of the company. It helps businesses in getting incredible results. A hosting web server should be fast and reliable. Web vitals can be used to measure the host performance.
Some advantages of choosing the best hosting provider include:
- Improved performance and security
- Unique IP address
- Server resources are not shared
- No overhead for purchasing or maintaining equipment
3. Optimize Images & Graphics:
Images and graphics are important for most websites to enable a good visual user experience. Pictures are not only used for catching visitors’ attention but also play a critical role in the success of e-commerce sites.
Ecommerce website product pages include a lot of pictures, videos, and graphics to improve user experience and persuade customers to buy the product or service.
The disadvantage of using images or graphics is that they are typically large files that cause a website to load slowly. Get help from an experienced graphics designer to optimize images that not only look great but allow the website to load faster.
4. Reduce The Number Of Extensions:
Third-party extensions or Plugins used in WordPress are used to enable functionality in many websites and can cause the page speed to decrease.
It’s recommended to perform a site audit with an experienced web development professional or company to remove or modify these extensions to optimize page speed.
6. Use Server Caching:
When a large number of users access a page at the same time, servers work slowly and take longer to send the web page to each user. Caching is the process of storing the most recent version of your website on your hosting server and displaying it until it is updated.
7. Implement Compression:
Compression such as Gzip is a powerful tool for shrinking file sizes. It reduces the number of HTTP requests and the time it takes for the server to respond.
Before sending the files to the browser, Gzip compresses them. A browser unzips the files and displays the contents to the user. This approach applies to all of the files on your website.
8. Database Optimization:
The most efficient way to improve performance is to optimize the database. The database size grows when you use a content management system (CMS) with complex plugins, and your website becomes slower.
9. Web Application Performance:
All applications must be optimized for speed performance to deliver a great user experience, examples include Amazon, Uber, Airbnb, Expedia.
Consult with web development professionals such as PROS to ensure all applications are optimized for peak performance including page speed.
Fast loading time has always been an important part of the user experience. Now it has become one of the components of Google’s ranking algorithm. Follow the recommendations to optimize your website for page speed.
Slow loading websites lose visitors and can hurt your bottomline, since your leads are not converting and they will not purchase products or services from your ecommerce websites.
Get help from a professional web development company such as PROS to improve your website performance and boost your sales. It doesn’t matter if you are a small business or a large corporation, website page speed is a critical factor for any business to gain customers and increase revenue.
Deepak Wadhwani has over 20 years experience in software/wireless technologies. He has worked with Fortune 500 companies including Intuit, ESRI, Qualcomm, Sprint, Verizon, Vodafone, Nortel, Microsoft and Oracle in over 60 countries. Deepak has worked on Internet marketing projects in San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange Country, Denver, Nashville, Kansas City, New York, San Francisco and Huntsville. Deepak has been a founder of technology Startups for one of the first Cityguides, yellow pages online and web based enterprise solutions. He is an internet marketing and technology expert & co-founder for a San Diego Internet marketing company.