How many times have you sat waiting for a page to load, wondering whether your internet connection has just gone down or whether the web site designer has just done a really bad job? It’s a sad state of affairs that a recent study showed that the majority of web users now expect website page load speed to be under 2 seconds; however, in a day and age when most internet speeds are measured in gigabytes, even in mobile data, this doesn’t sound that unreasonable. The difference for you as a vendor is that a low loading page forces potential clients away from your page, even before you’ve made your opening pitch to them. Here are some tips to make sure that your loading speeds will capture the attention of visitors to your sites.
Tips For Optimizing Page Load Speed:
- No splash pages – while it’s a wonderful dream to have a fully immersive first experience to your site through a big, colorful and interactive splash page, nothing slows down your page load speed more. Typically, anything that requires a specific plug in to run, such as Flash or Shockwave, sucks internet speed to load as not only do all images have to be downloaded, but also all of the code and triggers that make your splash page work.
- Image optimization – ok, so you’ve ditched the splash screen, but you still need pictures to capture the eye. A page that is simply text, even in different colors and fonts, will be a massive turn off to potential customers. However, large images, especially those used as headers, take an age to load, especially if they’re in HDR mode. Try using an image compression system and experiment with the settings so that you still maintain crisp lines and bright colors without taking up a huge amount of space.
- Cache it – Put simply, a cache in computer terms is where your client’s computer stores a version of your website locally so that they don’t have to reload it dynamically each time that they visit your site. Make sure that your content management system has a plugin that will put a cache of the most up to date version of your page on your client’s machines so that it will load even quicker the next time.
- Use analytics – Google has recently introduced its own page load speed tool called, imaginatively, Page Speed Online. It’s a stand alone website as well as being offered as a Google Chrome extension that takes the URL of your site and gives you an estimate of how long it will take for it to load on different operating systems at different internet download speeds. This free tool will also give you a whole host of different technical tips to improve speed, rating from high impact to low.
- Get your tech team on the case – while there are some quick fixes, such as uploading smaller files, there are some that will need someone who knows about GZIP, HTML compression and cloud based content delivery networks to improve the page load speed.
It sounds like a lot of work compared to where you feel you need to be putting in effort – promoting your site, talking to potential customers, emailing current clients and so on. However, when Google tried expanding the number of results per page from 10 to 30, they found that their viewership dropped by 20%. What’s of more interest is that the difference between the page load speed for 30 results and 10 results was only half a second. This difference was enough for the technology giant to make the change back to the shorter page, so imagine the impact that overall loading speeds can have on your conversion rates.