Have you ever typed in the URL address for a website and hit enter just to find yourself watching the loading wheel continue to spin while the actual page won’t load? Well, at that point what did you do? My guess is you probably gave it another 2-3 seconds and if the page still didn’t load you closed out and moved on to a new site.
Site performance is usually overlooked by people building websites for the first time, but this one thing has the potential to be the difference between a website that fails and one that is successful. The faster your site loads the better your chances of success will be.
Why Faster Speed Is So Important
Recent studies have shown that the average attention span is around 8 seconds. That means that if your website is slow, it can cause viewers to lose interest and navigate away from your website before they get a chance to read the content or make a purchase.
In fact, a study published on Kissmetrics calculated that a page load slowdown of just one second could cost result in a 7% reduction in conversions. To think of this in terms of dollars if an e-commerce site is making $1,000 per day, a 1 second page delay could potentially cost you $25,550 in lost sales each year.
How to Check the Page Load Speed of Your Website
While your website may seem to download quickly on your personal computer, you will not know how fast it downloads on other devices unless you check it with services such as the following:
Each of these services offer a free option where you can test the download speed of your website. The best part of these services is that they will not only identify if your website has slow performance, but if there is something that is causing slow page load times; they will also make suggestions as to how you can take action to fix the issue.
How to Improve Website Performance
There are several reasons why your website may not be performing up to speed, such as the configuration of your website, host server issues, or bad plugins that need to be eliminated. However, two of the major issues that can be easily addressed are the size of the pages and the use of external scripts such as font loaders, ads, and the like that really impact the download speed.
Here are ways you can address the speed of your website and make dramatic improvements in just a few steps.
Caching Plugin: Just adding one of these plugins may increase the download speed up to five times. It eliminates the page generation process by making a copy after the first load so visitors can return to the ready copy instead of having to reload the page again. You can see a list of some free caching plugins for WordPress on the Resources page
Reduce Size of Images: While images and photos increase the appeal of your website, if they are too large they’ll slow it down considerably. By sticking to PNG and JPEG formats, you may greatly reduce the size of the image file without altering its appearance.
Content Delivery Network: Because people in different locations may experience different download speeds of your website, using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) will help speed up download times for anyone, anywhere in the world.
Use Video Hosting Services: Do not upload videos to your site; that will greatly slow the download speed. Instead, use a video hosting service such as YouTube, Dailymotion, or Vimeo and let them take care of it.
These tips will help you speed up your website, which will improve the impression you make on potential customers, which ultimately means better sales conversion.