We live in an age where people expect instant results. The tiniest delay is all the reason someone needs to abandon something. And thus is especially true when someone visits a website.
If the site doesn’t load almost instantly, many visitors will click right out. There’s little point in getting people to visit your site if they’re not going to explore it and convert into quality leads.
But site speed isn’t just a matter of pleasing your human visitors. Your search engine rankings also are affected by how fast or slow it loads. While it’s great to have lots of high-quality content on your site, if it’s being slowed down substantially, you’re in trouble. And in page loading, “substantially” can be as little as an extra second.
According to a recent study, 47 percent of website visitors now expect a webpage to load in no more than two seconds. Just a one-second delay in page load equated to a 7 percent drop in conversions, 11 percent fewer pages viewed, and a 16 percent decrease in customer satisfaction.
If your site’s taking longer to load than it should, it’s time to take action. Some changes are best undertaken by a professional designer, but here are a few of the general things to consider:
Image optimization: In a nutshell, this means to ensure that images on your site have been compressed in a way that speeds page load without severely compromising the appearance of the image.
HTML optimization: A number of user-friendly HTML editing programs, specifically the WYSIWYG (“what you see is what you get”) types of programs, use a lot of superfluous code that can greatly slow down a page.
Too many cookies: Some sites run into trouble because they’re exchanging unnecessary cookies with browsers on a regular basis. There are browser add-ons that will show you exactly what cookies are regularly running on your site. Certain cookies often can be shrunk or even eliminated altogether.
Those are just a few of the things to look into. A simple mechanism called the Google PageSpeed Insights Tool can give you a quick rating on your site’s speed. Punch your site into the tool to see whether you should look into speeding up your site. It can make a huge difference in both your rankings and your conversions.