When you are targeting your customers globally, then what comes first? Apart from customer service and products. Any idea? Well, it’s your website. Your website reflects your business persona. It represents your business with an intuitive, interactive and creative design and development. The website and its performance – speed is the first impression of your business. It’s really important to understand that you as a business owner will not get a second chance to please your customer as they will not choose you if your website is not performing well and makes them wait.
In the age of 5G and lightning speed technology, if your website is taking time to load, you are losing your importance. Because as we know, high-performance websites result in high return visits, low bounce rates, higher conversions, engagement, higher ranks in organic search, and better user experience. Whereas, slow websites will cost you money and a damaged reputation. By reducing the page load time and increasing page speed, you will create a positive impact on marketing and sales processes. Your website will get higher traffic and attract more qualified leads that can be converted into customers.
Research shows, about half of users expect a website to load in 2 seconds or less. If it takes more than 3 seconds to load, 40% of the users tend to abandon the site. This means if your website is taking more than 3 seconds to load, you will lose almost half of your visitors before they even arrive on your website.
That’s a huge blow to your potential conversions.
And for the visitors, if the page loading time is higher then there are fewer chances of returning them in the future. As per the survey, 79% of the customers said they would not revisit the site with poor performance.
Importance of Website Loading Speed
Page load speed is a web performance metric that shows the time needed for a page to display on the user screen.
Let us tell you how the website loading speed influences the key factors of website success:
Conversion: The more conversion rate you get, the more successful your business becomes. That means website conversion is the most important factor in any business. It also means that you are allowing your visitors to do what you want them to do. For example, they will buy your product, subscribe to newsletter campaigns, register for a webinar, or download a guide.
The faster the page loads, the higher conversion rates your business will have. As per the research by HubSpot, if it delays by 1 second then there’s a 7% reduction in conversions. Let us tell you, a page slowdown of 1 second could cost Amazon $1.6 billion in sales each year.
Visibility: The website speed also influences how easily users can find your website. Website speed is one of the major and most important factors that Google takes into consideration when ranking the websites. A low-performing website has a poor user-experience, higher bounce rate, thus, coming in with less promotion in search results. Since the year of 2017, Google search engine has put importance on mobile-based websites for their ranking, even for desktop searches.
The main purpose of this algorithm is to protect users from websites that have low performance and are not working well on all devices.
Usability: There are some major factors of website usability like website page speed, load time, and website responsiveness that directly impact customer loyalty. The better and faster your website performs, the more satisfied your customer will be.
What is a Good Page Load Time?
Before you start working on your website’s speed, you should know your goal where you want it to be.
This is not a good thing if you are unaware of acceptable page speed.
So let us tell you, as per Google, the best practice is three seconds. But unfortunately, as per their new benchmark report findings, most sites are nowhere near that.
Having an analysis of 900,000 mobile ad landing pages spanning 126 countries, Google found that 70% of the pages analyzed took nearly seven seconds for the visual content above the fold to display.
Of all the industries they included, no sites had an average even close to their recommended best practice of three seconds.
22 seconds is an average time to fully load a mobile landing page, but 53% of visitors abandon if a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load.
If a page load time reaches to 10 seconds, the probability of a bounce rate increases by 123%.
This means developers have to work harder as per Google’s guidelines and to stay in the eye of Google.
After all – Google’s performance has a great impact on the success of your business.
How to Speed Up Your Website in 2020
There are many factors that slow down your website or page performance. If you take these factors into consideration and implement them, you can improve the user experience and optimize your site performance.
Here, we are giving 10 tips and best practices that help you improve your website’s page loading speed and site performance.
Don’t worry. It’s very easy to implement.
Let’s get started.
1) Minimize HTTP Requests
HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol and it revokes a request whenever a browser fetches a file, scripts, stylesheets, page, or image from a web server. So the more on-page components are there, the longer it takes time to load.
As per Yahoo, this HTTP request takes up about 80% of the load time of a web page. The browser also limits requests between 4 to 8 simultaneous connections per domain which means loading 20+ assets at once is not an option.
Ways to Decrease HTTP Requests
There are several techniques to decrease HTTP requests to relieve your browser.
Instead of retrieving multiples CSS or JS files from the browser, merge your CSS or JS files into one larger file. It’s a quite challenging task if your stylesheets and scripts differ from page to page. But if you manage to merge them, it will ultimately reduce the load time in a long time.
> Use Queries to Only Load What’s Needed
If you know or find out what’s needed to be loaded during the desktop or mobile version or need to run a specific script on a specific device only, use conditional statements to load them as it will be a great way to increase speed. This way, you are not forcing your browser to load a variety of useless scripts or images for certain devices or viewports.
> Use Less Number of Images
If you find out some of your pages are heavy and take a load, try to remove some images, especially those big size images. This will improve your UX by removing distracting images that don’t correspond to your written content.
> CSS Sprites
It’s a very good habit for your website if you combine images across your website into one sprite sheet and access the images using CSS background-image and background-position. This will prevent your web browser from constantly trying to retrieve several images every time on your site load.
2) Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A content delivery network (CDN) is a set of web servers distributed across various geographical locations that provide web content to end-users with regard to their location. If you host your files across the content delivery network, you can often save up to 60% bandwidth and speed up your site.
With CDN, when a user visits your site from Italy, they are downloading files from the server that is closest to them. Since the bandwidth is spread across the globe and many different servers, it reduces the load on any single server and also protects your sites from DDoS attacks and traffic spikes.
It’s quite an expensive way, but the most effective way to optimize the load time.
3) Enable Website Caching
There are many users accessing your website page at one time. During that time, servers work slowly and need more time to deliver the web pages to each user. This time, caching helps the browser to store the current version of your website on the host and share this version until your website is updated.
Tenni Theurer, formerly of Yahoo, says that 40-60% of daily visitors to your site come in with an empty cache.
So when users land on your website, you need to make it so the first page doesn’t take too much time to load so they will continue through the rest of your website.
Third party items such as widgets or ads only last a day in caching whereas assets have a cached lifetime of a week.
4) Optimize Image Size
Images on the website catch everyone’s eyes. And when it comes to eCommerce sites, images are the most important factor. You will find plenty of images on the websites. However, it reduces the website speed and slows down the web page. Images take up 60% of the average bytes loaded per page, around 1504KB.
way to utilize images for your website is to reduce the image size without affecting its quality. With the help of ImageOptim, JPEGmini, or Kraken tools, you can optimize image size.
5) Reduce Unnecessary Plugins
Plugins are common and important components for every website. It enables a specific feature for every website by third parties. As per the case study, plugins slow down the site speed from 4.23 seconds to 1.33 seconds.
There are some unnecessary plugins installed on a website and that consumes time to load. That’s why it’s advisable to remove unnecessary plugins. First, check your website or web page speed with the performance to find out which plugins are slowing down your website. Try to remove the plugins that load a lot of scripts and styles or generate a lot of database queries.
6) Reduce The Use of Web Fonts
Web fonts are the most trending in website design. Unfortunately, web fonts create a negative impression on the speed of page rendering. Extra HTTP requests have been added in web fonts to external resources.
The following tactics will help you reduce the size of web font traffic.
> Use modern formats WOFF2 for modern browsers.
> Add only those character sets that are used on the site.
> Choose only the needed styles.
7) Detect 404 Errors
A 404 error represents “Page isn’t found”. Generally, the host provides this message to browsers or search engines when the searched content is no longer part of the website or doesn’t exist. In order to detect and correct a 404 error, error detection tools and plugins can be used. Having said earlier, additional plugins may slow down your website, so rather prefer the external tools for error detection. For example, Xenu’s Link Sleuth, Google Webmaster Tools (GWT), and 404 Redirect Plugin For WordPress are used for this 404 error detection.
Once you detect these 404 errors, you need to assess the traffic that they generate. If these dead links do not bring traffic or visitors, then leave them as they are. If these pages still bring the traffic, then consider them for external links and fix the link addresses for the internal ones.
8) Reduce File Size
Having said earlier, the larger the file size, the higher it takes time to load the page. Thus, compressing a file is the best effective way to reduce the size of the file. With the help of Gzip, you can reduce the file size. It minimizes the HTTP requests and reduces the server response time. Gzip compresses the files before redirecting them to the browser.
9) Database Optimization in CMS
With database optimization, you can increase your site performance. If you use a content management system (CMS) along with multiple plugins, the database size increases and your website works slower.
For example, WordPress CMS consists of comments, blog posts, and other information that consumes a lot of data storage. Thus, each CMS has its own specific plugins. For WordPress, you can have WP-Optimize.
10) Enable HTTP Keep-Alive
HTTP Keep-Alive is used to refer to the message that’s sent between the client machine and the webserver asking for permission to download a file. It will allow the client machine to download multiple files without asking for permission, which helps to save bandwidth.
To enable Keep-Alive, simply copy and paste the below-given code into your .htaccess file.
Header set Connection keep-alive
Having a fast website is the most important factor today in customers’ lives. People expect websites to respond very quickly and if you fail to deliver their expectations, you will lose your valuable customers and revenue as well. Therefore, to help you out in providing the smoothest customer service with faster performance, we have given the top 10 points to improve your website’s page loading speed.
Nimesh Gohil is a content strategist and digital marketing enthusiast at mobile app development Company, helping clients and their brands achieve their business goals, such as improving sales and market share, by developing integrated marketing strategies distinguished by research, engagement, and ROI conversion with web development and digital marketing services.