Is Your Site Speed Costing Your Business?
The following is a guest blog post from Pam Aungst, Founder of Pam Ann Marketing, LLC. Pam Ann Marketing, LLC provides search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and Google Analytics services and consulting to established businesses and funded startups across all industries. Pam Ann Marketing, LLC is also a member of the Harte Marketing Cooperative.
The importance of site speed has never been greater than it is today. Both users and search engines alike expect a site to load fast, and lagging behind could be costing you business.
In this post we will explain why site speed is so important, how to measure how fast your pages load, and provide some general tips on how to keep page load times as low as possible.
Why Site Speed Matters
We are now living in an age where more people are browsing the web on smartphones than desktop computers. People are growing accustomed to having immediate access to information, and having to wait longer than a few seconds for a page to load is too long for the average visitor.
There’s evidence backing this up in surveys that conclude nearly half of all visitors will abandon a page if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds. What seems like a few measly seconds could be costing site owners many valuable conversions.
As we mentioned earlier, site speed doesn’t just matter to visitors, it matters to the very thing visitors use to find the content in the first place. Of course, we’re talking about Google.
Over 200 ranking signals are incorporated into Google’s algorithm, and page speed is one of them. That means pages in higher ranking positions tend to load faster than those in lower ranking positions. The reason for this is because fast loading pages are believed to provide a better user experience, and Google wants to provide the best possible experience to its users.
John Mueller, a Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, has recently suggested that page load times should be kept between 2-3 seconds. Mueller also recommends using www.webpagetest.org for testing page speed, which is interesting because Google has its own tool called PageSpeed Insights. You can read more about the PageSpeed Insights tool in this article about testing for website speed. Either way, you can’t go wrong with both of these tools for measuring page speed on mobile and desktop.
Tips For Speeding Up Load Times
To help you keep pages loading as fast as possible, we have prepared a list of general guidelines to follow. Keep these in mind when adding new pages to your site. Additionally, you can also go back and optimize old pages according to these recommendations.
- Compression: A number of web hosting providers employ techniques called “GZIP” compression and deflation. These techniques can reduce the file size of a web page by up to 70%, allowing it to load faster. Not sure if your web host uses GZIP techniques?
- Images: Resize images before uploading them to your website. Platforms like WordPress offer you the option to post an image in small, medium, large, or full size — but relying on the website to resize images puts added strain on the server. Upload images at the correct size the first time.
- Cache It: Cache is like a browser’s memory bank, and knowing how to use it can shave seconds off your load time. There are plugins available on platforms like WordPress that will cache the latest versions of pages and display those to visitors rather than dynamically generating a page every single time.
Site speed matters just as much to visitors as it does to search engines, and pleasing both is crucial when it comes to succeeding online. Attention spans are only getting shorter and, as a result, we can expect people’s penchant for load times to fall at a similar rate. So keep those load times as fast as possible!