Did you know that 53% of people will leave a website if it fails to load in three seconds or less? Clearly, speed matters to potential consumers. While that’s a quick way to lose a customer, it affects future business as well.
While business owners, marketing experts, and web gurus may be willing to stick it out and wait for a slow page to load because it’s content rich, feature heavy, or has a great new design, consumers are not so lenient. Why should they wait when the competition’s site loads quickly? In worst case scenarios, they could have browsed, made a purchase, and moved on to the next item on their list by the time a slow page finally loads.
How Fast Is Fast Enough?
With so many brands on the web vying for consumer attention, it’s more important than ever to ensure your website is up to par – and speed is crucial to a positive user experience. In fact, mobile website speed was one of the most talked about aspects of 2015’s “Mobilegeddon,” the landmark Google update that prioritized mobile friendly websites. In 2019, it’s an expectation.
If your page doesn’t load fast enough, you’ll not only lose potential conversions, but you’ll also find your search ranking suffering. Too slow, and Google will relegate you to the lower end of search rankings, affecting your reach and preventing you from targeting new customers. A high bounce rate is another measure that can tank a website’s SEO, since Google will rank it as a lower quality site. However, how fast is fast enough?
While consumers expect load times of two seconds or less, Google set its 2018 target speed at faster than three seconds, consistent with the information above regarding user bounce. This rate is faster than about half of sites on the web.
However, on multiple occasions, they’ve also stated that Google itself aims for about half a second – or, the blink of an eye. In the end, you can’t go wrong with targeting your page speed at “as fast as you can make it,” without sacrificing page elements that are essential to user experience – keeping in mind that page speed is a huge aspect of positive user experience.
How Can You Optimize Website Speed?
The question now becomes how, exactly, can you speed up your website? While you may be tempted to begin frantically cutting elements to improve speed, take a moment and start with this curated list first.
Adjust your images.
Photos are one of the biggest culprits of slow load speed; fortunately, they are one of the easiest to fix. Use Photoshop or a similar program to make sure each is an appropriate size for your page and change to the ideal file types; use JPEG for photographs and PNG for graphics with 16 colors or less.
Enable file compression.
Cut down on redirects.
When you’re focusing on load speed, redirects are another huge time suck you can easily solve. We’ve all been forced to wait as a site goes through multiple mobile redirects, from yourpage.com, to www.yourpage.com, to m.yourpage.com/home to m.yourpage.com/mobilehome. Every time a page redirects, you add a complete, new load cycle, drastically slowing your page’s load speed.
Check your coding.
Your user’s browsers cache items like images and stylesheets so that when the user visits again, these commonly load-speed slowing items don’t need to load again. Check your cache expiration dates and ensure your expires header is set for a reasonable period of time; in most cases, you can set cache expiration for about a year.
Address your servers.
Your hosting services drastically affect load time. Are your servers using optimal software, adequate memory and allowing sufficient traffic? If not, you’ll need to revisit your hosting choice or consider using a content distribution network to speed up load times.
Imagine Monkey Can Help
Managed services from Imagine Monkey can help you address your website from multiple angles and ultimately improve your website speed. Our dedicated servers feature solid state drives with 1 Gbps upload speeds for lightning fast load times. Better yet, managed support and maintenance ensures you’ll stay up and running 100% of the time.
Ready to improve your website load times, reduce bounce rates and optimize conversions? Reach out to Imagine Monkey’s managed services team and find the ideal hosting solution for your business.