Like it or not, business websites are becoming increasingly important in today’s modern society. We live on the internet; we want to make sure our website looks great and is super fast, too! Statistics show that 75% of people base business credibility on their website alone. That means you could lose a quarter of your targeted customers by simply not keeping your website up to date and optimized.
Google has already started penalizing slower websites by pushing them down in the search results! According to a StrangeLoop case study that involved Amazon, Google, and other top sites, a 1 second delay in page load time can lead to 7% loss in conversions, 11% fewer page views, and 16% decrease in customer satisfaction.
So… what are some simple ways to speed up your website to keep visitors and conversions coming? Let’s find out!
1. Choose a Good Host
Choosing a good host is one of the most important aspects of your website speed. It might seem daunting, and you might be inclined to keep the costs low, but your website host determines your website speed in general. Many of the lower-priced hosts, such as Hostgator or GoDaddy, are considered “shared hosting“; that means they allow multiple websites to access the same server. Think back to the old days of telephone booths – they’re meant for one person. The more people that squeeze into the booth and try to make a call will make it a lot harder for anyone to make a call in general.
When choosing a host, always think about how it will affect your website speed – how important is speed to your business and conversions? Most of the time, it’s pretty important! Springing for dedicated servers or dedicated/managed hosting is almost always a better choice, and while it’s more expensive, you will keep more visitors and clients – leading to more conversions. Of course, that means more money for your business in the long-run. Who doesn’t want that?
2. Optimize & Scale Images
When you load a website, it essentially “paints” the page as it goes. This includes everything you’ll see on the page – scripts, text copy, videos, images, etc. To help increase your page speed, you want to make sure that your images are optimized as much as possible without losing quality.
- Choosing your image dimensions (scaling): you’ll want to think about this critically. You might initially want to give visitors/customers a large, high-quality image to showcase your business or product. This will make the file size much larger than necessary and hurt your page load speed. Instead, you can always show a smaller, clickable image that expands to the full size image, either through a link or a pop-up.
- Reducing the file size of your image (compression): the larger the file sizes are, the longer they will take to load. A good rule of thumb for images is to keep the file size below 70kb when possible. If you have access to Photoshop, that is a great way to finely tune your image optimization. If you don’t need as much customization, there are several free online image compression services available such as Compressor.io, ShortPixel, TinyJPG/TinyPNG, Shopify Image Resizer, or PIXLR.
- Choosing the right file type: there are three standard image file types on the web – JPG/JPEG, PNG, and GIF. JPG is the oldest and generally considered the de facto, as they are generally the smallest file size and can be compressed with minimal (if any) quality loss. GIF and PNG are in nearly the same boat; they are mainly used for smaller, simpler images like icons or decorative images (GIFs can also be animated). PNGs are becoming more popular, as they allow for re-saves with minimal (if any) degradation; however, PNG file sizes are usually larger than both GIF and JPG.
There is no doubt that images are extremely important on the internet today, and greatly impact conversions, but you should never sacrifice your website speed for an image – especially when it is so easy to optimize!
3. Place Less-Important Scripts Lower on the Page
Scripts do all the fancy stuff you might see on a website; things like floating buttons or pop-ups, animations, transitions, and more. A script will usually be contained within the
<script> </script> HTML tags, and a lot of people or services might tell you the scripts need to load right away; that’s simply not true! Only core functions or files that are needed in the initial page load should be at the top. Otherwise, you can get away with putting most scripts right before the closing
</body> tag or even in the footer.
Another tactic you can try, if you feel you are an advanced user, is to delay your script loads. The benefit of delaying your scripts is an extremely fast initial page load, but this also means that users don’t have any gaps for advanced features.
4. Reduce Redirects
Sometimes, redirects are necessary and that’s totally fine! However, know that for every redirect there is an additional HTTP request to the server that will increase the end-user time before a page loads. Redirects are especially important when keeping up with your SEO (search engine optimization), but you should still only use them when technically necessary (in the case of SEO) and find a different solution if it is not necessary.
If you are unsure if a redirect is necessary, check with Google for the best course of action.
5. Use a CDN
CDN is short for Content Delivery Network. As is in its name, a CDN is a network of servers that delivers website content to a user based on the location of the user AND of the server, as well as the origin of the web-page itself. A CDN can ensure that your website has a high data transfer threshold; this, coupled with great hosting, will keep your website running at blazing fast speeds and keep your visitors on your page for longer amounts of time.
Why else should you use a CDN? Say, for instance, your website is hosted in the United States but you’ve noticed that the majority of your visitors are from London. If that’s the case, and you’re not using a CDN, your London visitors may experience crushingly slow speeds. The data still has to travel, so the farther away the data is, the farther it has to travel. A global CDN would allow users to download static content from a much closer source (served from the US but then sent to and hosted in London), thereby decreasing latency and increasing their page load speed.
Is a CDN necessary? No. Will it increase my page speed? Most likely, yes!
Speed Up Your Website to Increase Conversions
47% of users expect a website to load in two (2) seconds or less; 40% of users are likely to abandon the website completely if it takes longer than three (3) seconds to load. That’s a lot of lost conversions!
However, now that you know how easy it is to speed up your website, you’ll be able to design something fantastic and create ever-lasting relationships with customers and clients. They’ll love what you do and what you have to offer, all because they only need to spend a couple of seconds on your website before they know what it is you do and what you have to offer!
Complete WordPress Website Design That Grows Your Business
In today’s modern world, your website speed can directly impact your business. Decreasing the time it takes for visitors to interact with your website is more than essential.
Pair a fast website with an award-winning website design from IntoClicks, and we’ll set you up for success – that’s our specialty!