We all know that how quickly your website loads up is important, but did you know that even as little as a second can have a big impact upon your user experience and conversions.
In fact, 47% of consumers expect a site to load within two seconds or less, and a one-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
As you can see, the loading time of your website is really really important to your customers, and load speeds are getting quicker and quicker!
So, what can you do about it? We’ve taken a look at five things which you could be doing to improve your loading speed, even if it’s just by a couple of seconds!
1. Enable compression
We’ve all heard about how high-quality content is king, but all of this content takes up valuable memory on your web page.
This makes your pages and content bulky and slow to download, and the best way to combat this is to compress (also known as zip) them. This reduces the bandwidth of your pages, making them easier and quicker to load. You can compress your pages using tools such as Gzip.
Doing so could reduce download time by as much as 70% so it’s definitely worth considering!
2. Enable browser caching
Whenever a user visits a website, the elements of the page are stored onto their hard drive in a temporary ‘cache’ so that the next time they visit, it will load without having to send another HTTP request to the server.
This means that once a user has visited your site once, any subsequent visits will take a fraction of the time to load, so it’s essential that you allow caching on your site.
For more information on how exactly to do this, head to this article on Microsoft’s help section.
3. Prioritise above-the-fold content
Making sure to prioritise your above-the-fold (top of the page) content to make it load faster is important, as this is the content that your user is going to see first.
Even if the rest of your page is going to take a little longer to load, the chances are that your users won’t notice as their focus will be above the fold.
4. Reduce the amount of plugins your site uses
We spoke to North East-based web design agency ‘Way Fresh’ who said: “Having too many plugins on your site is a surefire way to slow it down, and it can also create security issues, as well as causing crashes and other technical difficulties.
“Make sure to regularly browse through your plugins and delete or deactivate any which you deem to be unnecessary, and measuring whether they improve your speed.”
5. Optimise your images
There are two main ways in which you can optimise your site images to improve your load speed: size and format.
Obviously, the bigger your images are, the longer they’ll take to load, so keep them as small as you feel you can get away with, reduce colour depth and remove image comments. As for the format, we’d recommend JPEG or PNG (although some older browsers don’t support PNG).
At the end of the day, with Google placing a greater emphasis on user experience and using page loading speed as a ranking signal, it’s more important than ever to take the time to improve this aspect of your website.
Consumers in 2016 are expecting faster loading times, especially on mobile devices, and there’s a whole host of arguments to justify your decision to prioritise improvements in this area.
At the end of the day, for many businesses, their website is what drives their sales and is the experience isn’t right, consumers will simply look elsewhere and you’ll lose out on sales.
Featured photo credit: Shutterstock via shutterstock.com