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Why Website Speed is Important

Why Website Speed is Important

Website speed, which can actually be thought of as two separate elements (how quickly the web page downloads from the hosting server & how quickly all content on the web page displays in the browser), plays a significant role in both organic rankings and visitor behavior. Over 50% of visitors to a website will abandon it if it takes more than three seconds to load (WebsiteSetup.org).

Not only does a slow loading site lead to a higher bounce rate, but conversion rates drop by an average of 2.11% for each additional second of load time between zero and nine seconds (Hubspot). Furthermore, incremental site-load delays can have a profound impact on the volume of pages explored by site visitors. Independent research conducted by WebsiteBuilderExpert found website visitors viewed approximately eight web pages when load time was two seconds, and only three pages when load time was eight seconds. If you run an Ecomm site, the highest conversion rates occur on web pages that load in two seconds or less.
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As you can see, speed optimization of your website plays a significant role in not only organic rankings, but bounce rate, volume of pages viewed, and conversion rates as well. It’s clearly a significant component of your website’s marketing abilities. How important is it truly? Consider that improving your site load speed by just 0.1s can result in an 8% increase in website conversion rates; while an additional 0.1s delay can cause a 7% decrease in conversion rates - significant impacts from relatively minor shifts in performance.

According to a review of 5 million desktop and mobile web pages, the average load time for a desktop web page is 10.3 seconds, and 27.3 seconds on mobile. If your website’s desktop and mobile web-page load speeds are close to the aforementioned averages, your site is being negatively impacted by deficient site speed. Not to fret, there are several methods for boosting your website’s loading speed.

Note: some of the below recommendations require familiarity with web development processes. If you are unable to complete implementation, consider reaching out to your webmaster or an agency proficient in speed optimization (like the full-stack development team at SEO Idaho™) for assistance.

10 Proven Ways To Improve Website Speed

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If your web pages load slowly, there are several methods for improving site speed. Here are ten of the most-effective methods for improving your website’s load speed:

1. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

A content delivery network is a service that delivers static web pages from servers located around the world. As such, when someone visits your site with a CDN setup, they don’t have to wait for the server to load each page individually. Instead, the files needed to display your page are sent from the closest server to the site visitor, decreasing load time from the server.

2. Minimize HTTP Requests

HTTP requests are basically small packets of data used by browsers to request information from websites. If you send too many HTTP requests at once, it can slow your website down. You should minimize these requests to the greatest extent reasonably possible. For example, if you use JavaScript or CSS on every page, make sure you cache them so they won’t need to completely reload with each visit.

3. Optimize Images

Images are often the largest part of any web page. They take up a significant amount of space and result in a lot of HTTP requests. Make sure you optimize images using tools like TinyPNG.com or Pixlr.com, reducing image size to what is needed on the page and quality to the minimum needed for crisp display.

4. Reduce File Size

If you want to reduce file size, compress your images before uploading them to your server. There are several free online image compression services available such as TinyPNG.com and ImageOptim.com. There are also plugins and extensions that will auto-optimize and compress image files for websites built on popular content management systems such as WordPress or Joomla.

5. Cache Static Files

If you have static HTML files such as index.html, robots.txt, favicon.ico, etc., then you can save yourself time by caching them.Caching involves storing the same version of a file at multiple locations. When a user requests a cached copy of a file, the browser doesn’t need to download it again because it has already been downloaded previously.

6. Remove Unnecessary Scripts

Another way to speed up your website is to remove unnecessary scripts. Many developers add script tags to their code which aren’t necessary. These include things like analytic tracking codes, social media buttons, etc. Removing these tags will help increase the speed of your website without affecting functionality. If you can’t remove the scripts, consider migrating them to a Google Tag Manager account and hosting the scripts in a GTM container (this also provides protective properties that will prevent scripts from being stripped from your site due to site or plugin updates). With Google Tag Manager, you only have to place the GTM container and no-script tags on your site to apply the container, and the rest of your scripts will work as if they were directly added to the site.

7. Keep Your Page Load Time Below 2 Seconds

Google recommends keeping your page load time below two seconds. Anything longer than this decreases the likelihood of your website ranking high in search engine results. Consider improving hosting/server performance, leveraging cache plugins/extensions, or hiring experts to handle more advanced speed optimization elements to meet Google’s recommended page load criteria.

8. Use Responsive Design

Responsive design allows users to view your website on the majority of desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. It does this by automatically resizing elements on your website based on the screen resolution of the device being used. If your site is not mobile responsive, consider developing a mobile-specific version of your site to load quickly or consider a site redevelopment to make your site mobile responsive.

9. Use Web Fonts

Web fonts were/are specifically created for use on websites, and are supported by a majority of internet browsers (ex. Firefox, Chrome, Edge, etc.). By using web fonts instead of downloading individual or custom font files, you can significantly reduce the bandwidth needed to download the font(s) for your site.

10. Use HTTPS

HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. It encrypts traffic between your computer and the website you're visiting. By default, most major browsers connect to websites via unencrypted HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol). However, with an encrypted connection, everything that's transferred is secure. So, when people visit your site, they'll see a lock icon in the address bar and know their information is protected. This is also an organic ranking data point that can be easily addressed at any time during the lifespan of your site. If you site is http:// and not https://, contact your hosting company and request SSL installation (a free service when you host your website on HostCozy, a division of SEO Idaho™).
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Summary

The ten recommendations above will help you and your website support team improve the overall speed optimization of your website. While some items can be addressed through plugins/extensions, other items will require some level of website development familiarity. If your business doesn't currently have a developer or access to a developer who can implement these changes for you, reach out to the experts at SEO Idaho™ - we’ll gladly assist.

Website speed optimization affects organic rankings, site bounce rates, web page conversion rates, and more. It is an extremely important component to managing and operating a successful website or running a successful marketing campaign for a site. At SEO Idaho™ we know how important a fast website is to our marketing efforts, and we ensure all of our client's sites are built to be as fast as possible. Contact us today to request a free website speed evaluation or to discuss services to correct your site’s speed deficiencies.