Featuring compelling content on your web pages is probably your main goal, but don’t forget that it’s also important to get it to load in users’ browsers with as little waiting time as possible. The energy you spend crafting a top-notch website will go to waste if unacceptable page load speeds send your audience clicking elsewhere in a hurry. Page speed is thus a key component of delivering an enjoyable user experience. Google approves of quickly loading websites, and website speed has been one of the search firm’s ranking factors since 2010.
Quantifying the Impact of Page Speed
It’s just common sense that people prefer to get what they’re looking for as soon as possible, but really, how much of a difference could a second or two make? Well, on the internet, even minor delays turn out to matter a great deal. Mozilla, the maker of the popular Firefox web browser, found that after cutting the average load time of its pages by 2.2 seconds, downloads increased by 15.4 percent. Customer analytics company Kissmetrics says that 40 percent of prospective shoppers will leave a website that takes longer than three seconds to load. Much as in top-level sprinting, several seconds too long is all it takes to drop hopelessly behind your competitors.
Boost Your Page Speed
If all this talk about the value of fast website speed has you pondering a complete overhaul of your site or beefing up your hosting solution, don’t get ahead of yourself. There are a number of ways to speed up your website that are cheap, quick and nearly hassle-free:
1. Optimize Your Images
Images that are too large can really degrade your website performance. For most JPGs, you can reduce size and quality without too great an impact on clarity and detail. PNG images are massive by comparison and should only be used sparingly for logos, professionally designed graphics and other high-value resources. Try out the Kraken.io website, or download FileOptimizer for Windows if you seek help in reducing your image sizes.
2. Enable Compression
3. Leverage Browser Caching
Making your web pages cacheable won’t affect speeds for newcomers to your site, but it will make their subsequent visits speedier. Once your cached content loads, it will remain on your readers’ computers so that the next time they wish to view your site, they won’t have to grab it all again through the internet. Now you’ll be able to instill in your visitors the habit of frequently browsing to your site because they won’t have to wait around, re-downloading content they’ve already seen. There are various methods for handling caching, and you or your web hosting firm can alter them in your server configuration files.
4. Minify Your Code
Without engaging in a complete reconstruction of your pages, you can nevertheless take small measures to make them show up on viewers’ screens more rapidly. Free online tools, like GTmetrix and Google’s PageSpeed Insights, will identify further areas for improving your page speed. Lower your bounce rate, increase conversions and enhance the satisfaction of your users by serving them engrossing content with less lag.