How To Speed Up Your Website’s Load Time

When is the last time you checked to see how fast your website pages load? If it’s too slow, you might be turning away customers. That’s because 1 in 4 visitors will abandon a website that takes more than 4 seconds to load. And 46% of users don’t revisit a poorly performing website.

Today’s consumers want answers now and will look elsewhere if they don’t get it. It’s why website performance is so important. Here are some ideas to help speed up load times and meet those customer expectations.

How Fast Should It Be?

The short answer is, the faster the better. Google reports industry best practice is 3 seconds or less. But even seconds off that benchmark can have a big impact. For example:

  • Bounce rate – As load time goes from 1 to 3 seconds, the probability of leaving the site increases by 32%.
  • Conversion – When ecommerce sites reduce load time from 2 to 1 second, they can double their revenue.
  • Search engine ranking – An improvement in load speed has a positive impact on Google’s organic search ranking.

4 Simple Ways to Speed Up Load Time

Start with these ideas and work with your web professional to see which makes sense for your business. Remember, just a second’s improvement can make a big difference.

1. Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights.

This free website gives you personalized suggestions on how to get your pages to load faster. Just input the URL for your web page to get the analysis. You’ll get results for both the desktop and mobile environments.

Each suggestion includes an estimate of how many seconds you can save by implementing it. That can help you prioritize what action to take first. This FAQ can help you understand terms in the report.

2. Optimize images.

It’s true, images get results. But if they take too long to load, they often lose their effectiveness. Circle Studio suggests businesses focus on these two key areas to reduce their load time:

  • Reduce the file size – Size images appropriately, use JPEG images where possible, compress photos using a variety of online tools, consider hosting videos on a third-party platform like Vimeo to reduce the impact on your server’s bandwidth. 
  • Limit the number of images on each page – The more images you have, the longer the load time. That includes background images and textures or image carousels. It doesn’t mean you can’t have them, just balance the aesthetic with performance.

3. Limit the number of plug-ins.

Plug-ins can be an attractive way to add functionality to your website, without having to develop it yourself. But too many of the wrong kind can bog down your load times. Kinsta suggests you ask four key questions:

Does it perform complex operations? Does it load many assets? Does it increase the number of database inquiries? Does it perform requests to external APIs?

If the answer is “yes” to all of these questions, Kinsta suggests you reject that plug-in.

4. Cache in.

The idea behind caching is to store a static version of a web page. Then when a user requests it, the cached version is served up. That’s a much faster load than if the server had to first query your database and assemble a new page every time. Experts call this server caching.

Another option in this category is browser caching. This function tells browsers to store files like style sheets in the brower’s cache. Then the browser can access the files from their location rather than having to download them each time. This is particularly helpful to decrease load times for return visitors.

Fast load time is an important quality for consumers. That makes it a critical performance factor to monitor. Work with your web professional to determine if these ideas can help you shave off a second or two from your website’s load time.

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