Having fast page speed is definitely vital for improving your website’s search engine ranking, conversion rates, and overall user experiences.
If your website isn’t running at peak performance, this sluggishness could be costing you big in lower rankings and less organic traffic. Page speed has a large effect on your website’s user behavior and conversions.
In general, users will wait just three seconds before abandoning ship. Around 44% of Internet users also report becoming anxious about the transaction when the site loads slower.
While browsing through different products on your site, it becomes very frustrating when users must wait another 10 seconds to navigate around. Even a two-second delay in load time can cause an abandonment rate of 87% on transactions. Just one second in delay can cause 7% loss in customer conversions too. This can negatively affect your revenue, especially when your aggravated visitors turn to your closest competitors.
“Two thirds (67%) of UK shoppers and more than half (51%) of those in the US said that site slowness is the top reason they’d abandon a purchase.”
Let’s imagine that your website has one million monthly visitors, an average product price of $10, and a bounce rate of 50%, a product page load time of six seconds would cause a conversion loss of 42%! This is equivalent to 250,000 users leaving your website and not making a purchase due to the slow loading times. On a monthly basis, this would cost you $2.1 million in lost revenue. Also, a case study proves that slow page speed, cost retailers £1.73bn in lost sales each year.
Now it’s clear that slower website speed can be detrimental to your bottom line, but it also can harm your search engine rankings. Google loves websites that provide good user experiences and often checks for this via pogo sticking and dwell time. The amount of time that users stick to your website before returning to search engine results is used to depict how informational and useful your site is. Although average website duration, your number of returning visitors vs. unique visitors, exit rates, and bounce rates aren’t search ranking factors, they play an essential role in user experience, which is the ultimate search ranking factor for Google.
As we’ve already discussed, low page speed badly affects your user’s experiences and results in falling search engine rankings that won’t get you noticed. Therefore, it’s crucial that you speed up your website to stop unwanted loss on all of your hard work. I recommend checking your site speed through the Google PageSpeed tool. If you’re not at 100, don’t worry because even Google.com doesn’t have 100/100. Here are the page speeds for the world’s top 10 websites:
Google recommends that websites strive for an ideal page speed of 85 or above for both their desktop and mobile device versions. Make sure that you have a website that’s compatible with any mobile device because Google will be launching a Mobile Friendly update on April 21st. Avoid mobile SEO common mistakes to ensure your site won’t be hurt with this update.
It’s surprising to note that only 14% of the top 100 websites open in less than three seconds and that nearly one-tenth took 10 seconds or longer to function properly. However, this likely won’t be any good for your business. So, focus on building a lightning-fast website that will be convenient for your users and more profitable in your wallet. Below are my top 12 tips for how you can easily start revving up your page speed.
First and foremost, you’ll need to optimize all of the images presented on your webpage to have any chance of speeding up your website. Remove the extra comments, unnecessary space, and useless colors from the source of your images. Save your images in JPEG format because it uses the least capacity while still maintaining picture-perfect quality. In Photoshop, you can use CTRL+SHIFT+ALT+S to automatically optimize and save images at the smallest possible size.
For your WordPress website, I advise using the smush.it plug-in to optimize your website’s pictures automatically and receive a speed boost. If you have any images that are saved in PNG format, you can also use tinypng for optimizing the image and improving image quality too.
GZip compression may sound complicated, but it’s simply a large term used for reducing the size of the HTTP response to improve response time. Since this allows your site to send a GZip file instead of an HTML file to the browser, you’ll reduce page wait time and loading time. For the Apache server, you can enable it by adding the following code to your .htaccess file:
However, make sure you check your work with the GZip compression checker. If the code doesn’t enable the compression, then remove the old one and use the below code:
Or, use the following PHP code at the top of your HTML/PHP file:
<?php if (substr_count($_SERVER['HTTP_ACCEPT_ENCODING'], 'gzip')) ob_start("ob_gzhandler"); else ob_start(); ?>
A browsing cache is used to store certain files from a website within the browser, but having a clogged browsing cache can reduce the loading time significantly. Luckily, you can leverage the browsing cache by enabling the expires headers within .htaccess file. Utilize the following code to enable this function:
Using the expires header does have an issue that you should watch out for though. Once you set an expiry of a month to a file, then any changes to that file will not reflect for a user who has already visited the page in the last one month. Setting an expiry for one year is generally common because there’s less likely to be changes over that time. You can use either the last modified header or an etag header for cacheable resources.
The Keep-Alive header is important for reducing the latency period for subsequent requests between the browser and the server. Once you hit the enter button for opening a site, browsers request that the server sends the html file of the particular web page. Then, the browser reads. If there is a Java script or CSS, then it again requests the server sends respective files. As you can imagine, these communications increase your page load time.
Use a Keep-Alive header to keep the connection on once the complete files have been transferred to the browser for viewing. Below is the code used in .htaccess file to enable it.
<ifModule mod_headers.c> Header set Connection keep-alive </ifModule>
The Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a collection of web servers distributed across multiple locations with the purpose of delivering requested content more efficiently to visitors. You can use the Amazon cloud front or MaxCDN for enabling CDN on your website.
To minify the Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) simply means to make the CSS smaller in size by removing any extra white space. Look out for any unnecessary codes that are slowing down your speed time too. Minify your CSS and use the new code for loading your site much more swiftly. No matter whether you use your CSS inlined, combined, or with external files, smaller will always be better.
Redirection is an overwhelming sense of irritation for website visitors. It’s similar to going to a friend’s house and then finding out your friend has moved to another house three blocks away. Being redirected to other web pages consumes extra time, reduces your loading speed, and makes your users groan in frustration. So, I always advise that you avoid redirects on any page of your website unless you don’t have another choice.
Specifying the character set for a website is another great technique for speeding up the browser rendering for lightning-fast page loads. It’s also simple to achieve by using the following code in the header:
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8">
Also, many CMS use a PHP script to add the character set onto the header. If you’re comfortable doing so, then you can also use the code instead of a script. Either way, you’ll make good strides in reducing the calling function request.
Server response time is the term used to describe the amount of time spent between the browser request to the server and the final page load. Your server response time will depend upon the number of requests by the browsers and your server configurations. Make certain your server response time is kept short for the best results.
Imagine going to a restaurant and asking for your favorite meal, but the waitress tells you that the kitchen is out of an essential ingredient. That’s how frustrating it is for website visitors to receive a 404 or 410 error in place of their sought-after destination. These bad requests can have an extremely bad effect on page speed. Thus, it’s recommended that you try avoiding them on your pages at all costs. Check My Link can help you find broken 404 links and eliminate them quickly to improve user experience.
Many webmasters think that using multiple tracking codes to provide embeds and sharing buttons will give a better user experience. In reality, they’re playing so much with their websites that there’s too many requests to the server. For instance, an iframe calls a complete new page for viewing on the existing page, which automatically reduces website speed. Ditching these tracking codes, video embeds, and share buttons will definitely improve your website’s page speed and boost your visitor’s enjoyment.
Overall, it’s important that you don’t let your page loading time slide simply to accommodate a more aesthetically pleasing design or nifty new feature. Website visitors typically care more about page speed than all of these superfluous bells and whistles. Having a slow loading website is a surefire way to kill your bottom line and your search engine rankings. In fact, 47% of consumers expect web pages to load within two seconds or less!
So, don’t make your website’s users wait for perusing your epic content. Make sure you use these 12 easy tips for creating a website that opens with ease for each visitor. All of these strategic tactics have been proven to boost page load times as well as Google rankings and overall user experiences when used properly.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this guide. If you have any further questions, then feel free to ask below in the comments section. Don’t forget to spread the word with your friends on your social media page too!