People are impatient and in the age of technology where most operations are done online using phones and other technological devices, most time is spent on the internet. Therefore any activity that seems to be wasting their time will stir up impatience and lead to frustration.
A slow website causes frustration in people which makes them leave the website and eventually affect the business and drop in sales. Increasing the website page speed is very important but it’s one of the greatest challenges that marketers face in branding. A website’s performance is governed by its loading speed.
A fast-loading website is important for market performance. People expect a page to load within 2 seconds. Page loading time is the time it takes to display its contents. This is a very crucial element for user experience, especially new visitors to your page.
Page speed is one of the factors that determine a website’s ranking by Google. A fast loading page increases the website scrolling rate. A faster load means an increase in the number of page crawls which in turn increases the crawl demand. This makes the website rank higher in the search results.
Impacts of a Slow Website Speed
Increase in Bounce Rate
A slow website drives people away causing them to abandon it, especially when using mobile phones. A website bounce is when customers leave the website without performing any activity, especially when they open a single page and do not click on any other page elements including a call to action. This translates to less traffic (organic traffic) visiting your page and hence low ranking.
Reduce in Sales and Conversions
A slow website causes dissatisfaction in customers and have them abandon the page and most likely never return to it. This creates a negative brand perception and may cause them to find alternatives from competitors. Other customers may share their experience with other potential customers who may avoid your website as well. This means no new conversions and other potential customers.
Drop in Website Search Ranking
Less organic traffic to your page means there is no ranking of your website. Often, rank priority is based on mobile phone response through the mobile-first index. A slow-loading website on mobile affects Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This affects bounce rate, time spent on the site and therefore a decrease in ranking. It goes to say that loading websites will lead to a higher ranking.
Poor User Experience
Frustrations resulting from a slow loading page give people a poor experience on your site and a negative perception of the brand. This destroys your brand reputation and affects the general brand image.
How to improve website load speed
Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
CDN is a set of website’s servers spread across different geographical locations that offer website content to end-users based on their locations. Hosting a single server means that all users request access to the same hardware. This implies a lot of time is taken to process each request and is worse if the users are far from the server.
CDN sends requests to the nearest server, thus quicker delivery of content and faster website operation. CDN works with the website host, thus reducing data requests from travelling between browsers and host servers.
Optimize Images and Videos
Despite playing a major role in enhancing the website page appearance and increasing content quality, these are the major culprits of slowing down website pages. Compress and optimize images and videos by changing their file formats, enabling lazy loading, reducing resolutions and dimensions and compressing them into lossy formats.
Ensure that the visual quality of the images and videos is not lost in this process. Where possible use JPG and minimize the number of videos and images on the pages.
Upgrade to an Optimized Website Hosting Solution
The website’s hosting package quality impacts the website’s loading speed positively or negatively. Cheap and shared (grid) web hosting plans are tempting and always the go-to solutions but they have implications. Cheap options translate to poor performance since sharing between multiple sites overloads the servers and strains the page loading time.
Choosing a fast loading web host such as Virtual Private Servers is important for better optimization. VPS uses multiple servers to distribute content. Despite sharing of servers, one has their own part of the virtual server that segments their configuration from that of other users. Although this is an expensive plan, it is beneficial in the long run.
Removing unnecessary characters like commas, spaces, comments or other elements reduces the file sizes. This speeds up the website. Tools such as Autoptimize to minify files.
Use Website Caching
Multiple users accessing the page at one time slow down servers and more time is spent to deliver web page results to each user. Caching involves maintaining the updated version of the website on the hosting server and presenting it to users until the next update happens.
Cached pages are saved as static HTML versions hence avoiding consuming time to website query databases. This reduces page rendering for each user since there is no need to send database requests each time. Plugins such as W3 Total Cache and WP Rocket can be used to cache websites.
Eliminate Unnecessary Plugins
Too many plugins result in site bloat, hence slowing its speed. Outdated or unmaintained plugins can also be a security threat or create incompatibility issues and affect the overall website performance.
Conduct a review of the plugins you have and delete and disable the unnecessary ones. Further, update the useful plugins to enhance the performance of the website.
Reduce Page Redirects
Website redirects create multiple HTTP requests and prolong these requests, thus negatively impacting the website’s performance by delaying response time. Eliminating unnecessary links and redirects as well as resetting incorrect redirects will mitigate this and optimize the site’s performance.