Do you enjoy waiting in line to board your flight or waiting for the previews to finally wrap up so you can watch the movie you came to see? Can you think of anyone who likes waiting?
Website Visitors Won’t Wait on You
If waiting in person tests your patience, studies show that our tolerance for waiting on the web is even lower. According to a 2016 report published by Google, 53% of mobile visits may be abandoned (ie, they leave your site) if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load. 3 seconds!
If your website is taking too long to load, it’s costing you. Amazon once calculated that a slowdown of one second in page-load time could cost it $1.6 billion sales a year.
To ensure new and returning customers actually enter your digital front door, it’s critical your website loads quickly. A fast website increases the likelihood that a visitor will make a purchase, sign up for your newsletter or reach out for a follow-up call.
How fast is your website? Dozens of tools can measure your site speed; some of the most highly recommended are:
Google Favors Fast Websites
Websites that have slow-loading pages are potentially less likely to reach the top of Google’s search results. Site speed is a factor in Google’s ranking algorithm. Bear in mind that the average web user won’t look beyond the first five listings on a search engine results page (SERPs); 67% of all clicks search engine results pages go to the top five listings, according to a 2014 study from Advanced Web Rankings.
More specifically, what Google looks at is the speed and content of the mobile version of your website. Just this past March, Google announced that it will predominantly use its Mobile First Index when it crawls, indexes and ranks websites. Why the switch from indexing the desktop version of your site to the mobile version? The tipping point was back in 2015 when Google saw more than 50 percent of search queries globally come from mobile devices.
3 Ways to Speed Up Your Website
Once you have your baseline scores, a simple place to start is to make sure you are loading only compressed images on your websites. Huge image files are one of the biggest culprits in slowing down how quickly your website loads. There are many tools for both PCs and Macs to help you with this such as Optimizilla, TinyPNG and Kracken. Make sure compressing images is part of the publishing process for anyone and everyone who edits your website. Most compression tools allow for bulk uploading so you can work efficiently. And if you’re running on Wordpress, there are several plugins that can scan your entire media library in bulk and replace your site’s images with compressed versions in one step.
Check Your Hosting Plan and Server Speeds
Server speeds can vary greatly from one vendor to another and from hosting package to package. Google recommends server response time be under 200 milliseconds, or 0.2 seconds. Make sure your web team is monitoring for server speed. Here’s a useful resource to share and discuss with your team.
This is another recommendation to discuss with your website developers. In layperson’s terms, minifying code simply means removing unnecessary characters and spaces. When writing code, developers often use tabbing, make spaces and write in explanations for other developers. That’s totally understandable in the writing process but when it comes time to have code go live, it’s recommended to minify the code. Again, there are lots of tools to help with this process such as Minifier.
These three steps are a great starting point and, again, make sure after each optimization tactic, you test and document your speed scores.
How quickly your website loads really does matter and has an impact on the success of your online sales and marketing. If you have any questions or comments about how to speed up your website, I’d love to hear from you.
Jennifer Kern is 3 Aspens Media’s Senior Client Analytics Manager. If you’d like to learn more about our analytics and optimization support, including SEO, let us know at [email protected].