We live in a society that has an ever shorter attention span and a desire for instant gratification. In this environment, having a slow loading website is a death sentence.
If your website has a one second delay in its load time, the effects are immediate. A one second delay will lead to:
- 11%fewer page views
- 7% loss in conversions
- 16% decrease in customer satisfaction
Losing a few seconds will have a huge impact on your ability to interact with customers, it will affect your bottom line, and it may mean that you are basically giving your customers a way to your competition.
This is one of the reasons why the speed with which your page loads is something that Google examines when determining your ranking. Let’s take a look at five things you can do to make your website load faster.
1. Minimize HTTP Requests
Research shows that for a lot of websites, 80% of the load time is downloading the different elements of the page. This includes things like scripts, images, stylesheets, etc. When an HTTP request is made for each one of these elements, it takes the page longer to render.
The first step in correcting this problem is seeing how serious the problem is for your site. Figure out the number of requests your site currently makes and use that as a starting point.
There are a number of tools that you can use on Google that will help you see the number of HTTP requests your sites are making.
You can right click on your page and then click the “Inspect” option. Next, click the “Network” tab. Look over to the name column that shows the names of files you have on the page.
If you look at the size column, you’ll see the size of each one of these files. If you look at the time column, you’ll see the amount of time it takes to load each file. Look on the lower left-hand corner to see the number of requests that your site makes.
If you are able to reduce the number of requests, your site is going to be sped up. Find any unnecessary files that you have and get rid of them. You might not have something that catches your eye, so take the time and review the files carefully to find out where you can thin the herd.
2. Reduce Server Response Time
Something that’s going to influence the speed with which your page loads is how much time the DNS lookup takes. Your DNS, also referred to as domain name server, is a database that has a bunch of IP addresses connected to their hostnames. When a person types in your site URL, your DNS is what turns that into an IP address, locating the site online.
DNS lookup is the process that’s undertaken to find a particular DNS record. An easy way to think about it is that the computer of the individual visiting your site is by looking up your site’s phone number in a huge phone book.
You can use a DNS speed comparison report. This is updated monthly. This gives you an idea of how your provider stacks up to see which one is going to offer the best speeds. If you are currently using a slow DNS, it is going to take longer for browsers of visitors to your site to find your site. Switch to a faster DNS to speed up the process.
Here is a good guide to lower server response time.
3. Choose the Proper Hosting
When most people start their first website, they look for the cheapest hosting option available. And, honestly, it’s usually enough in the beginning. But once your site actually gets some real traffic, you’re going to need to switch things up. Hosting Australia has a number of quality hosting options you may wish to consider.
Here are a couple of hosting options you should consider, starting with the slowest to the fastest:
- Shared hosting
- VPS hosting
- Dedicated server
Shared hosting is a cheap option. You may find some servers available for less than five dollars a month. As the name implies, shared hosting means that you’re going to share your resources with a number of other sites on the same server. This means that you are sharing disc space, the CPU, RAM, etc.
With a virtual private server, you’re still sharing resources, but you have a set percentage of the resources that are dedicated specifically to your site. This means that the activity of other websites on the same server will not impact your resources.
Then there’s dedicated hosting. With dedicated hosting, you don’t share resources with anyone. You do all the maintenance, and you may even be able to suggest hardware that’s used in the server. You have more space, which makes the loading of your site a lot faster.
4. Reduce Image Sizes
Images are going to have a major impact on how fast your site loads. Large files are going to bring your load times way up. Of course, you can’t get rid of images altogether. Having helpful images is key to getting a high conversion rate. Most customers want to see at least three photographs of a product before they purchase it.
If you can’t get rid of images and larger images are going to affect your load time, what can you do? Image compressing. There was a study done that showed that resizing 22 MB of images down to 300 kB reduced wait time by 70 percent. Obviously, this led to an improved conversion rate, and it led to more customers staying on the site longer.
5. Prioritize above the Fold Content
You can improve the customer experience if you make the images and information that is above the fold load faster. Even if it takes a few seconds for the rest of the page to load, that’s fine. Some refer to this as lazy loading. There are a number of plug-ins that you can use to accomplish this goal.
Remember, Google is taking your site’s speed into consideration when ranking your site. Slow load times can jeopardize your position in first place. Since 2015, mobile searches outnumbered desktop searches.
And that shift is something that is going to continue to happen. Google is not going to rank sites well that don’t load quickly on mobile devices. Google is ranking pages based on the experience they provide to mobile users. It is recommended that your site takes no longer than three seconds to load. Use some of the above-mentioned steps to accomplish that goal.
We would love to hear from you about the steps you have taken to improve your page’s load time. Leave your comments in the comment section below.