Websites are an essential element of digital age companies. For these companies, page speed can either help them grow or slow their business. This is because page speed has a direct impact on conversions. Google and other search engines put a lot of emphasis on page speed. In fact, Google has made page speed an actual ranking factor, and also developed a set of tools for developers to improve the loading time of websites. Faster loading websites appear higher on SERPs. Therefore, page speed is a corollary to SEO, in addition to being paramount for the growth of a business.
While consumer expectations have soared, their attention span has dwindled drastically. The consumers’ need for instant gratification has pivoted businesses to improve their page speed, simply because slow performance frustrates consumers and they tend to leave. Page speed affects the user experience. Consumers, 47% of them, expect web pages to load in two seconds or less. About 40% abandon a page that takes more than three seconds to load. Additionally, a survey showed that 79% of customers would not return to a website with poor performance. Thus, bad website performance, particularly page speed, can have a detrimental effect on your web traffic and conversion rates.
What is page speed?
Page speed is the time taken for a web page to display all its content, or the length of time taken by the browser to receive the first byte of information from the webserver. Page speed for desktops and mobile devices are measured differently.
It is often confused with site speed. However, site speed is the average speed of a sample of web pages. It refers to how quickly a web browser is able to display the content of fully functioning web pages from a website. Good page speed improves a website’s overall performance.
Why is page speed important?
Websites are built to attract the traffic of potential customers that would eventually generate revenue and accelerate business growth. However, a weak website performance tends to turn away customers. This just goes to prove how vital good speed is for a great user experience. According to statistics, a one-second delay in loading time results in 11% fewer page traffic, a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction, and a 7% loss in conversion. Quick loading websites are pivotal for customer satisfaction and retention.
It is also very important for SEO. Google pays a lot of emphasis on user experience. Page speed and site performance play an important role in Google ranking. On May 28, 2020, Google announced an update on its search ranking signals called “Page Experience”. This new update will evaluate web pages on the basis of the user experience of real customers, not just by the information available on the page. Although the update has been delayed until 2021 due to the pandemic, it gives businesses time to re-align their website performance in accordance with the new signals.
For businesses to rank better on Google and other search engines, they must prioritize their page speed. Without a good ranking on the search results page, you are practically invisible to your potential customers. This would essentially affect web traffic and ultimately your conversion rate and revenue. Thus, page speed is a critical factor for a business’s strategic growth plan.
How to improve page speed?
1. Enabling compression
3. Good web hosting service
A good web host is essential. Premium web hosting services provide fast loading time to all its visitors, enhancing the user experience as a result. Investing in a good web host will help you achieve good performance.
4. Reduction in HTTP calls
An HTTP request is made for each element on a web page such as images, script, and style sheets. The more elements on a web page, the longer the loading time. Reducing HTTP requests can minimise the time required to render web pages and improve page speed.
5. Enabling browser caching
Enabling browser caching can improve loading time as it prevents the users’ browser to send additional HTTP requests to the server for any cached elements. This dramatically reduces the number of files required to be downloaded during a typical browsing session.
6. Removing unused plugins
CMS like WordPress offers a variety of plug-ins. But, too many plugins on the backend can severely slow down your website. Removing or deactivating irrelevant plugins can reduce the overload on the website’s memory and improve page speed.
7. Utilising a CDN
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a geographically distributed server that is collectively used to distribute the load of delivering internet content. CDN can prevent Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, and ensure that users have reliable access to your website at all times.
8. Optimizing images and videos
Optimizing all media files on the website can greatly improve the speed and performance of the site. Opting for the right file format, JPG for photographs, and PNG for graphics can reduce the loading time. Ensure that the files are compressed for the web. Videos must be optimized with the most ideal format and served in the most appropriate dimensions on the basis of visitors’ screen size. It is advisable to upload videos to external sites like Youtube or Vimeo and embed them on your website to further cut down on lag.
Fast page speed is the foundation of a high-performance website and a crucial element for business growth. In a competitive digital space, speed equals better conversion rates, which equals greater revenue. At Alkye, we help clients to analyse, improve, and monitor their page speed to ensure that they have a competitive edge over others.