Speed = money. At least when it comes to your website. Customers today aren’t willing to wait for anything – especially a slow load time. In fact, 40% of consumers report abandoning a website that took more than 3 seconds to pop-up. Yikes.
It probably took you longer than that to read this sentence. It’s not much time at all.
So how can you make sure your own customers are never kept waiting? Below we’ll go over why site speed matters – and we’ll share a few tried and true tips that’ll get you up to speed in no time.
What is site speed and why is it so important?
Site speed is simply how quickly a user is able to see and interact with content. It doesn’t just mean the amount of time your page takes to pop-up, but also the amount of time it takes for all of the elements to function properly. For example, if a web user can see your blog page, but can’t actually open any of the titles, then the page isn’t fully loaded yet.
What does site speed mean for you? Well, in a nutshell, if your site isn’t fast enough, your audience is going to disappear. They’ll leave your website for your competitor who has a faster site. It’s sad, but true.
You know the 40% of people that we mentioned above? The ones that will abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load? Well, get this: 80% of them will never come back. That’s an enormous amount of people!
Losing traffic due to a slow site speed can impact:
- Conversions: Obviously, when a potential customer abandons your site, that’s a sale that’s not going to happen. But it goes beyond that – even if they stick around and wait, they’re 7% less likely to buy for every second your page takes to load.
- Engagement: If you’re a business that relies heavily on customer engagement to drive sales, then you better make sure your site is fast. Just a one second delay in response time can result in 11% fewer page views and a 16% loss in customer satisfaction.
- Customer experience: 47% of web users expect a page to load in 2 seconds or less. When they don’t get what they expect, they end up disappointed at best and angry at worst. Why risk a poor review over something as easy to fix as page load times?
- SEO: Google indicated quite some time ago that page speed is one of the factors they take into consideration in their algorithm. Even worse? If your site doesn’t load fast enough, their web crawlers won’t index it all. Bottom line: if you want to show up in search results, you need a fast page.
How Do I Improve My Site’s Speed?
Improving your site’s load time isn’t as complicated as you might think. In fact, with just a few simple tweaks, you’ll be on your speedy way in no time. Here are our suggestions:
- Enable browser caching. What that means is that the first time someone visits your site, they’ll have to wait for everything to load. But the next time they visit, their browser will have already stored all of those elements, allowing them to pop-up much faster.
- Don’t use a lot of giant files. In today’s visuals-driven culture, it’s tempting to include dozens of huge image and video files on your webpage – but that’s something that will come back to haunt you. Best bet: resize images down to 300kb or less.
- Choose the right hosting option for your needs. New site owners often choose a shared hosting plan due to its affordability and ease, but as your business needs grow, so should your website. Options such as VPS or a dedicated server allot you a greater pool of resources, alleviating many issues with load time and performance in general.
- Use an external host for your large files. While it may be tempting to just save everything directly to your WordPress site, don’t do it. By hosting videos, custom apps, and other large files offsite you can free up lots of space – and speed up load times in the process.
There are hundreds of other things you can do to speed up your site, but we simply couldn’t cover them all in this one article. If you’d like to talk about how your hosting option might be affecting speed (or any other speed issue in general), feel free to reach out. We’ll get your page moving again before you can say “lickety split.”