Your website has three seconds to make a good first impression. That’s the time it took to read the previous sentence. If your site hasn’t loaded by then, 40% of (potential) visitors will move on, and 79% won’t come back.
This is a huge percentage of visitors that you are turning away even before they see your site. Talk about first impressions matter!
All of the work you’ve done on creating incredible content, optimizing your pages for SEO, listing your site everywhere, getting the meta right, all that money spent on PPC… it’s all for nothing if visitors leave your site before it’s even loaded!
Improving your site’s page speed becomes even more important when you remember that for every second faster a site loads, businesses see a 7% increase in conversions.
Don’t forget, almost 50% of paid clicks are coming from mobile devices, which have less processing power and spottier connections, so anything you can do to improve load time makes a big difference. Remember, mobile is the future of search!
When Google Speaks, Websites Listen
Google certainly remembers, and with its new Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), they’re letting us know that page speed matters for mobile, too. To be clear, Google isn’t using AMP as a ranking factor (currently, anyway), but load time does affect user experience, impressions, and CTR, all of which do affect SEO.
The takeaway from all of this seems to be that Google wants to show users sites that are centered around UX, and page speed seems to be an increasingly important factor in this assessment.
Don’t panic, we’re here to help! Here are three tips for improving your website’s page speed that everyone should be doing.
2. Compress Everything
Eliminate unnecessary spaces in the code, move JS and (most) CSS to the bottom so that it loads last, and only use one CSS sheet. After you’ve done everything you can to reduce the size, minify the code to make sure you’ve done everything possible to make the site load quickly.
For images, the first thing to consider is the file type you are using. If you need animation, a GIF is the way to go. Photos or screenshots work best as a JPEG, and graphics like logos are best saved as a PNG.
Try using the “Save for Web” option in Photoshop, too. This can reduce image size quite a bit.
Each file type has pros and cons, so make sure you choose the one that works best for your site.
3. Use the Right Web Host
Think of the web host as the parking lot for the digital side of your business. If the parking lot’s full, you’re going to lose customers. Likewise, if your host can’t handle the amount of traffic your site is getting, you’re going to lose customers.
Overloaded servers will slow down page speed, causing visitors to leave and (probably) not come back. Make sure your host can handle your traffic.
This is not the place to try and save a buck, good web hosting costs money, as does the support you’re going to need (all sites have issues, make sure your host can handle them). Do some research and find the best fit for your business.
The Bottom Line
Google bases SEO rankings (in part) on user experience, and UX is shaped by page speed. By following the above tips, you can dramatically decrease your load times, creating a better user experience for visitors and improving conversion rates in the process.