How to Improve Your Website Speed
Updated (originally posted on )
When it comes to websites, lack of speed kills. Your website might offer stunning design, riveting content, and excellent products and services, but all that could go to waste if your site is too slow.
Why is Website Speed Important?
Having a slow site can hurt your business in three significant ways.
- Having a slow site will hurt your Google ranking. Google has used page speed as a ranking factor for desktop searches since 2010, and starting this July, Google will begin using page speed as a ranking factor for mobile searches as well. If your site’s slow load times cause Google to rank it lower on the search engine results page (SERP), your audience is less likely to find it.
- Poor site speed drives people away. There’s no shortage of websites, and if yours doesn’t meet visitors' expectations, they’ll go to a different one. These days people expect web pages to load within 2 seconds or less, and one survey found that 40% of users abandon a website that takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Mobile users are even less patient—Google found that 53% of mobile users will leave a page that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
- A slow website will hurt your bottom line. A sluggish website won’t just drop your rank and annoy your customers, it will cost you visitors, leads, conversions, and sales. According to one report, a 1-second delay in load times leads to 11% fewer page views and 7% fewer conversions. For ecommerce sites, 79% of people who are dissatisfied with a website’s performance are unlikely to buy from the same site again. Translation: If your website is slow, you’re losing potential revenue.
How to Check the Speed of Your Website
Now that you understand the importance of site speed, how do you measure your site's performance? Test your page speed with one of these free tools, which let you enter your site’s URL and get scores for speed, optimization, and other factors, as well as suggestions for how to improve your site speed.
- Google PageSpeed Insights
- Google Test My Site
- Pingdom Website Speed Test
- Geek Flare Website Speed Test
Though Google recommends a maximum 3-second load time, analysis of almost 1 million sites across the globe found an average load time of 8.66 seconds, and a whopping 22 seconds for the average mobile site to load fully. If your site’s speed isn’t up to par, try these fixes.
4 Ways to Improve Your Website’s Performance
Compress images and text
Huge pages take longer to load, and unnecessarily large file sizes are one of the major reasons for slow site speed, so be sure you minimize the size of your files and images before you upload them to your website. In a survey of websites, Google found that 25% of pages could save more than 250KB by compressing images and text, and 10% could save more than 1MB. According to Google, the industries that are most likely to have oversized web page elements are retail, travel, and healthcare.
Streamline page content
The more elements on a page (text, titles, buttons, images, videos, etc.) the lower the conversion rate. According to Google, as the number of page elements increases from 400 to 6,000, the probability of conversion drops 95%. That doesn’t mean you have to strip your website down to the bare bones, just make sure all page components are relevant and necessary.
Take a look at plug-ins
Plug-ins are designed to add or improve your website’s functionality, which is a good thing, so there’s no need to eliminate plug-ins entirely. But too many plug-ins or outdated plug-ins can slow down your site significantly. For the best performance, work with your website administrator to do an audit of the plug-ins on your site, update any that are still being used but have newer versions available, and get rid of any that you don’t really need.
Evaluate your website host
At least one thing that could be slowing down your website has nothing to do with the site itself. Who you use to host your site can significantly affect how fast it runs. Unless you have a very simple site with minimal traffic, you should be using a hosting company that offers stable, secure hosting, including the fastest technology, 24/7 monitoring and support, and excellent security.