Slow-loading websites lose retailers over $2.6 billion every year. According to a report by Section.io, websites with a page speed of two seconds have a 9.6 percent bounce rate, and this number only surges as the page loading time goes up!
Site speed has become a vital metric for a website’s overall digital strategy and online presence. Not only does site speed plays a critical role in technical SEO, but it also affects your position on the search engine results pages (SERPs). There is no denying that slow websites have lower conversions and higher bounce rates, which together result in a low number of pages per visit.
A Google report shows that over 55 percent of mobile users leave a website if it takes more than three seconds to load! It also highlights that slow pages can severely affect SEO rankings by 15-25 percent. One should understand that people are visiting your website for a reason.
If they’re experiencing friction in this process, it can ruin their user experience (UX) and is enough to make them bounce away. Your homepage is the gateway to the rest of your website. If the homepage loads slowly, people won’t stick around to visit other pages, and you won’t be able to convert your visitors into customers.
Search engines used speed as a ranking factor when awarding ranks on both mobile and desktop. A website with faster loading speeds earns a higher page rank. When Google’s search engine bots can crawl a website faster, it awards a higher rank to your pages on SERPs. Google’s Crawl Ratio and Crawl Frequency metrics are both higher when pages are fast.
If your website features content that is too heavy and drags down your speed, even if you update your site frequently with fresh content, it would still rank lower. Google and other search engines crawl websites at a frequency decided by their respective algorithm. Infrequent crawls and slower website speed can cause a mismatch between the time content is published and when it actually becomes available to searchers.
You can easily find a website’s load time with several tools available on the internet. Try using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. Once you land here, enter your URL in the box and click on “Analyze.” PageSpeed will start analyzing the link and generate relevant results.
At the top of the result page, you will get the overall result. The result is marked either with green, yellow or red. The results are as follows: green (90-100), yellow (50-89) and red (0-49). You can delve even deeper and check your page’s loading time across the Core Web Vitals: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID) and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).
You may scroll down and see the detailed diagnostic – Google gives suggestions that can help you improve the page speed manifolds. Do you wish to make a career in digital marketing and achieve a perfect Google PageSpeed Insights score of 100/100?
Let’s move ahead and understand how to boost your site speed.
One of the simple methods to boost your site speed is through gzip compression. You can compress your website’s files and significantly save the bandwidth required to access the resource. Gzip compresses your website into a zip file that browsers can use to load sites rapidly. It works just like normal compression on your desktop.
You can leverage CDNs to boost your page loading speed. CDNs are server networks coupled together to share the load of the content that is being consumed. When CDN is deployed, a website is stored on different servers across different places. On the user end, the server that is closest to the user’s location renders the website. For example, if a user visits from London, the files then are fetched from the server that is shortest in distance.
The concept speeds up the loading time significantly since it reduces network travel and load-balances the traffic. Your site can ensure higher availability and maximum up-time when it’s hosted via CDNs. Not just that – you can control and monitor traffic spikes, and the CDN concept also protects a website from DDoS and other cyber attacks.
Often, images and videos bigger than necessary in terms of resolution. This considerably slows down the website speed, especially for mobile users. Graphics with fewer than 16 colors should be PNG, and the ideal format for photographs is JPEG. Rather than using images in place of buttons and redirects, you should use CSS sprites to create the template.
The size of a video should be small, because the shorter the buffer, the faster the page would open. Even a high-quality 10-second video can sometimes go up to a few MBs in size. The video should be compressed at all times. People often think compressing degrades the quality of the file. Well, that’s not true! Several video compressing tools reduce video size significantly without compromising on quality.
You should minify all files to remove code redundancies too. Minify shortens the scripts, makes the code efficient and enables it to run faster. There are plenty of minify tools available on the internet, but you can also take a developer’s help to delve deep and minify just right!
Websites require browsers to make several HTTP requests to access the site content. This to-and-fro over the network decreases site speed. For instance, assets such as images, scripts, CSS files, videos, etc. open across multiple HTTP requests requiring some sites even a dozen requests. Generating the request, hitting the server and producing content on the browser in a cycle puts a toll on the hosting service, which adds to overhead.
To tackle this, the number of assets on every website page should be minimal. Moreover, websites can also instruct browsers to enable and use browser HTTP data caching. Caching is basically temporary storage on the browser level where websites store the static copies of files to load web pages rapidly. This technique reduces the transfer of data to a great degree and is also highly beneficial for those users who visit the website frequently.
There is no denying that redirects are vital when it comes to leading a visitor to a newly created or specific page. Redirects help in the easy movement of visitors throughout the website. However, having too many redirects can hamper site performance and reduce site speed. Every redirect appends a link in the link-chain that the web browsers must pass.
A considerable number of redirects adds to the overhead of the browser and makes the whole process inefficient. Server-side redirects are often fast and cacheable. However, client-side redirects are slow and, most of the time, these are not cached. You must keep redirects minimal and clean the redirect chains for any unnecessary or broken links.
People often try to save money through cheap hosting plans. The trend of shared hosting is also on a surge. However, site performance takes a hit when shared resources are available. Although your website would be “UP” most of the time, shared resources can take a toll on speed. Therefore, always remember that nothing frustrates a visitor more than a slow website.
Using quality web hosting provides rapid speed; your website can do better in terms of organic search rankings as well as pay-per-click (PPC) costs. Premium hosting services use a variety of techniques such as CDN, quality DNS service, HTTP/2, load-balances overcrowding and much more. The saying “You get what you pay for” applies here well.
A career in digital marketing opens your world to a plethora of opportunities. For any marketer, metrics such as conversion rate, time on site, bounce rate, website performance and search rankings are of utmost importance. A higher site speed directly relates to higher search engine rankings and quality user experience.
A faster website is a win-win as it impacts revenue greatly, thanks to more conversions and hits. Not to forget how higher page speed positively impacts social media: People only share and engage with content that loads lightning-fast, and anything slower than 2-3 seconds is going to make readers impatient.