Everything You Need to Know About Website Speed
Website speed is essential.
A fast loading site always trumps a slow one. Everyone knows that but not everyone knows why or how speed affects their site’s metrics including:
- Bounce rate
- Search ranking
- User satisfaction
If you’re curious how speed plays a crucial role in your website’s success and want some tips on how to increase your site speed, then this short post has all the answers you’re looking for.
So without further ado, let’s get straight to it.
How Speed Affects Your Website’s Success
Online surfers are an impatient bunch. People are more demanding than ever before and no one wants to waste any of their valuable time.
When it comes to loading speed, even a fraction of a second matters. Amazon experienced this first hand when they suffered a drop in traffic and revenue due to a mere fraction-of-a-second-delay.
If users are not satisfied with your site’s speed, then the bounce rate will increase, resulting in:
- Lower revenue
- Fewer conversions
- Fewer page views
- Lower search ranking
Ultimately, everything including ranking, page views, conversion, and revenue depends on user experience. And fast speed is an important part of user experience.
So marketers who provide a smooth experience reap the benefits.
Test Your Website Speed
Want to see how your site is doing? Test your site’s speed using any of these 6 tools:
If your site takes more than 3 seconds to load, then you might want to make some adjustments. Because according to this study, most web surfers tend to leave pages that take longer than 3 seconds to load.
How significant is the difference? Here are the bounce rate statistics from the same study:
- 1-3 seconds load time increase the bounce rate probability by 32%
- 1-5 seconds load time increase the bounce rate probability by 90%
- 1-6 seconds load time increase the bounce rate probability by 106%
- 1-10 seconds load time increase the bounce rate probability by 123%
Can you see the shocking difference of bounce rate probability between 1-3 and 1-5 seconds load time? So if your site takes longer than 3 seconds to load, then you can say goodbye to more than half of your visitors.
Quick Facts About Website Speed
Let’s see some quick facts that demonstrate the importance of speed furthermore.
Shocking facts about how a 1-second delay can negatively affect your website:
- Reduces page views by 11%
- Decreases customer satisfaction by 16%
- Eats away 7% of the coveted conversion rate
- Can lead to an annual loss of $5 million in revenue if your site generates $200,000 per day
In simpler terms, a 1-second delay can cost you about 7% of your total sales.
For example, if you’re $3,000 per month in sales, then you would lose about $140 per month. That’s a loss of $1,680 per year. So faster and smoother websites convert more.
5 Ways to Speed Up Your Website
Before you start working on increasing your site’s speed, it’s smart to first set an ideal goal you want to achieve. If you have no idea what the ideal speed should be, then let us help you out here.
From the statistics we shared earlier, it’s clear that most users start leaving after 3 seconds. So that should be your ideal goal.
If your site is already loading at 3 seconds, then you probably don’t need to follow any of the tips we’re about to share. But if your site is taking longer to load, then keep on reading.
1). Optimize Images
No website is complete without at least a few images.
Every decent looking website has some good images that lead to better user experience.
But these images can play a key factor in slowing down your site. Because pictures are usually the biggest files on your website and they require the most bandwidth to load—increasing response time significantly.
So if they’re not optimized properly, then it’s a good idea to get them optimized using a plugin or visual editors like adobe Photoshop, Gimp, or ImageOptim.
2). Remove Unnecessary Plugins
If your site is hosted on platforms like WordPress or Joomla, then it’s easy to get lost in the world of a seemingly unlimited number of featured plugins.
Don’t get carried away. Because each of the plugins you install (for increasing functionality) acts as a load on your site. So install the plugins that are only necessary.
3). Enable Caching
Enabling caching allows the content that has been loaded once to be saved in the cache memory and loaded more quickly next time by the browser.
This significantly affects your site’s speed. If your site is hosted on platforms like WordPress and Joomla, you can simply install a plugin.
And if your site is custom-coded, then you have to contact the technical support of your hosting provider to see what they recommend.
4). GZIP Compression
GZIP compression is a code snippet that can be found online. It is added to the “.htaccess“ file to significantly reduce the overall amount of data being sent from the web server to the user.
It’s a must-have for any site because it’s easy to install and highly effective for speeding up your site.
5). Choose the Right Hosting Option
Don’t make the same mistake that many people do when it comes to website hosting: buying the cheapest option available. If you’re just starting out with no traffic, then this may work.
But as soon as traffic starts flowing in, this option won’t be enough. You will need to upgrade to a better host. One that can provide you with the ideal hosting server to meet your website’s needs.
You have 3 hosting options:
- Shared hosting
- VPS hosting
- Dedicated server
Shared hosting is the cheapest and slowest option, and a dedicated server is the most expensive and fastest one.
The best way is to start with shared hosting and then upgrade from shared to VPS or from VPS to dedicated once the traffic increases to such a large amount that it starts to slow down your website.