As the world becomes more and more digital, people’s attention spans seem to be decreasing. They don’t want to wait to get what they want, and businesses may need to acclimate to those demands.
In the days of dial-up internet, it wasn’t uncommon to sit and wait several seconds for a webpage to load. However, that all changed as internet speeds got faster and faster. Now, we don’t want to have to sit and wait for what we want.
After performing technical website audits for the last 20 years, it’s become clear to me that webpage loading speed can greatly impact a business’s bottom line. If a page loads slowly, many people will give up and go somewhere else. That can mean a loss of traffic to your site and a loss of dollars in your pocket. Your conversion rates may suffer, and your bounce rates — the number of people who leave your site after only visiting one page — may increase. A slow-loading page also can have a devastating impact on your search engine optimization, as Google uses page speed as a determining factor for page rankings.
If your website’s page speed isn’t up to snuff, it’s time to figure out why and solve the problem.
How To Figure Out Your Load Time
First, find out how fast your pages are currently loading. There are different tools out there, but Google offers a free one that’s a good place to start. It’s called PageSpeed Insights.
It’s straightforward to use, with a color-coded scale that indicates whether your page’s speed score is fast, average or slow. It also tells you about opportunities to speed up loading time. One downside is that the terminology can get exceptionally technical. If you aren’t up to speed with advanced IT, it can help to have a web developer handy.
Now I’ll share five ways to increase the speed at which your pages load.
1. Ensure Your Images Are Optimized
Oversized images can be a major drag on the loading speed of your pages. You can save precious seconds by simply compressing them before adding them to your site. Obviously, it’s easier to do this from the get-go as opposed to trawling back through every page and post you’ve ever written.
You have different options for compressing images. Most graphics programs like Photoshop offer you the “Save for Web” option. You can use this to adjust the file size while maintaining optimum quality. TinyPNG and JPEGmini are other options that compress your images for you.
2. Utilize Gzip Compression
Check with your web host to see whether they’re currently using gzip on their servers. If your pages are still loading slowly, double-check to make sure that you entered the code correctly — or ask your website developer to do so — and that you aren’t using an out-of-date browser.
If your web host isn’t using gzip, ask whether they have a different compression method they’re using, or consider using WordPress to take advantage of gzip compression plug-ins.
3. Employ Content Distribution Networks (CDNs)
CDNs can have a major positive impact on page loading speed. They’re essentially server networks that work together to share the load of delivering content. With CDNs, your site is stored on numerous servers in different places. Users access the server that’s closest to where they are, which speeds up your page’s loading time on their device.
There are a number of companies that offer CDN services. Research what they have to offer, and find one that works for you.
4. Reduce Your Number Of Redirects
Redirects are a useful way to lead a visitor to a page that you’ve newly created to replace an existing one. They’re a helpful way to alter your site without losing your “link juice,” or the value that you’ve gained from having a high-ranking site link back to your original page. In essence, you can change your site without being punished by search engines.
The downside is that redirects can slow down your site. Every redirect adds another link in the chain that your browser must pass through. It’s extra work for the browser and makes the process more inefficient all around.
Redirects, in general, have a lot of value, but try to use them only when necessary. Consider changing the original page rather than creating a new one and redirecting to it.
5. Cache In Your Problems
Particular plug-ins on your content management system, such as WordPress, also can help. You can install plug-ins that are specially designed to cache the latest versions of pages on your site. Doing so means that browsers don’t need to generate a page every single time it’s shown to visitors. Your load time is reduced in the process.
In the world of digital marketing, page loading speed matters. Make sure you’re taking the steps to avoid getting left behind.