Page load time is one of the most important aspects of your website’s user experience. many website owners will more preference to aesthetics, functionality and more number of pages than page speed. In other words, it is mostly a second priority for webmasters, website owners and designers. But when you look at your website from the perspective of your visitors and potential customers, page speed comes first. Even Google and other search engines take this factor more seriously. The following guide explores how page loading time can improve your site’s SEO, usability and your business’ bottom-line.
Search Engine Optimization
Google takes website loading speed seriously. Thus, how fast your page loads is an important factor in your search engine rankings too. According to Google, the search engine is always “striving” to make the web faster. In fact, the search giant has also launched a new tool known as Page Speed Online that analyzes web page performance and provides inputs for making your pages load faster. Better SEO rankings mean more traffic and higher sales. Thus, faster page speed could eventually have a major impact on your business’ bottom-line.
The speed of your website plays an important role in improving the user experience of your visitors. According to surveys conducted by leading web-based companies, Gomez.com and Akamai, almost 50% of searchers expect a good website to launch in less than 2 seconds. If your site doesn’t load within 3 seconds, you stand a good chance of losing many of your potential visitors (and customers).
Thus, a slower website will not only lose your conversions from your visitors, but also potential business from their networks – friends, family and colleagues. Eventually, you will be losing tons of potential sales because of a difference of just a few seconds. Even you have had left many websites just because they took a lot of time to load.
The following stats provide you valuable insights into how important page load time is to user experience:
- Radware’s case study found that 51% of Internet shoppers from the US will not complete a purchase if the website is too slow.
- More than 47% of searchers expect a sit to load within 2 seconds.
- Over 75% of consumers prefer visiting a faster competitor site rather than waiting for a slower loading page.
- A faster website will not only make your visitors happier, it will also good for your business. According to Strange Loop, a difference of 1 second could cost a website 7% of sales.
How to Improve Your Site Speed
Given these points about the importance of page load time in SEO rankings and business potential, you must either design a website that loads faster or you should improve your website by making required changes. Here are some tips for improving your website’s loading time.
- Reduce HTTP requests – The fewer the number of HTTP requests, the faster your pages will load. Minimize the number of items to be loaded like stylesheets, images and scripts.
- Use CSS sprites wherever possible. Combine the background images into a single image and reduce the number of HTTP requests.
- Optimize your images for the web. This is a major factor in reducing your web pages’ load time. you may optimize images yourself or you could get the help of a graphic designer who also knows about the web. Optimize the image formats so that your website has smaller files to load. At the same time you will have to ensure that the quality of images doesn’t get affected.
- Use plugins that compress the size of your pages when they are requested by browsers. The software will then uncompress the information and display your pages to users.
- Make use of server side caching. An HTML page is created for each URL, which means that dynamic websites will not have to build a web page every time there is a request for the URL.
- Use a CDN – A CDN will allow visitors to download information simultaneously at the same time. This means that your website will load faster. With new services such as CloudFront from Amazon, CNDs are now more affordable than ever.
- Minimize Redirects – Avoid using 301 redirects. Redirects can make the browser wait for returning the HTTP request. Especially avoid stacking 301 redirects.
These are some of the main steps you can take to ensure that your website loads faster and gives a better user experience to your visitors. It will have a major impact on your search engine rankings and your business’ bottom-line.