In a world where everyone’s vying for a second of attention on social media via smartphones or other devices, a slow loading page is as good as non-existent. Attention spans are dropping all the time, and if your website doesn’t load in quick time, no one will wait. While everyone talks of great content, images, videos, often the best service you can do for your page is improve page speeds.
Page speed, and its effect on search engine optimisation
According to a Forrester Research and Akamai study, almost half of web users expect a site to load in less than two seconds! Three seconds may be tolerable but anything above five or seven seconds, and you have lost your audience forever! Page speed, as Google has it, will impact your page rankings. Bad user experience can mean a drop in revenues and poor rankings on mobile as well as desktop devices.
Does page speed impact conversions?
Most certainly. According to an experiment by Microsoft, even delays of 500 milliseconds can mean a significant drop in revenues. In an oft-cited example, Walmart was able to boost its revenues when it tried to improve page loading speeds. It showed a one per cent increase in revenue for every 100 milliseconds of improved speed.
Search engine optimisation and quick loading pages: Tips and tricks
• One of the best ways to improve speed is to optimise images without compromising on their quality. You may be tempted to upload large images onto your e-commerce website just because laying your hands on high-res images is a breeze now. But, it will slow down your page, so choose well and smartly when you use graphics, logos and images.
• The same applies to video. Compress video files, reduce length or consider uploading them to YouTube/Vimeo to ensure your site/page loads faster.
• Your web host does make a big difference. You should choose web hosts that support your kind of traffic so that your pages load faster.
• How about getting a dedicated server? It may seem expensive upfront, but it will serve you well in the long run, and boost sales thereby neutralising the initial cost.
• A smart way to ensure your page loads super fast is to get above-the-fold content load in quick time.
• Don’t forget the importance of caching. It helps your server store copies of your web pages so that they can reach the browser faster.
• Testing your website and seeing how pages load on other browsers is a must-do step. Auditing your pages for speed is one of the smartest decisions you would have made towards improving page loading time. There are many tools available to help you audit and test page speed.
• Use plug-ins judiciously. Sometimes, the size of the plug-ins also drags the speed of the site down. Use plug-ins that you really need, and delete those that aren’t of much value.
• If you have a popular website and have lots of content to share, and are struggling to cut down page load times, you can opt for CDN or content delivery network that will serve pages on the basis of user location.
These are just some steps, and there are many more to get your pages to load super-fast and improve user experience. You could get an expert to assess your site for you, and cut down loading time for improved conversions.