Site speed is known to affect a website’s rankings on search engines like Google. With the emergence of cutting edge technologies to increase loading speed of web pages, customer expectations have also increased. According to surveys on user behavior, it is seen that a majority of online visitors will leave a site when it cannot load quickly. This shows how important it is to have a fast loading website for business revenues.
Why is a faster loading site likely to get more sales?
With a fast loading site, your customer experience will improve and they can engage better with the content. All this will ultimately help you obtain better conversions from the audience. The truth is that when online shoppers face issues with any site, they are not likely to return to those sites ever again. It is reported that as many as 44% of such disgruntled users are even likely to share their poor experiences with other shoppers. So, it has become absolutely imperative for businesses to explore newer ways to increase their site loading speed.
How are pages ranked on search engines?
Page speed is unarguably one of the key factors in SEO. While businesses will consider using keywords in their site content or generate back links to their site, they often fail to give due importance to page speeds. The speed of any website turns out to be vital not only for the site owner, but also for all online users. When you have faster sites, you will have satisfied users. When the site performance is slow and sluggish, visitors are unhappy and likely to spend less time there. So, Google Analytics now includes factors like site speed or page loading speed, Lookup and Page Size to help the webmaster understand the site performance better and take appropriate actions to improve the loading speeds.
One of the easiest ways to assess speed of your website is to use tools like Pingdom. This tool will allow you to assess the site thoroughly and gives you the loading speed scores as well as some key insights. When the test is done, you can get a comprehensive report. This will have a step-by-step guide on how you can repair each of the problem areas which may be slowing down your site. You will possibly need the services of a webmaster as this professional has the technical expertise to carry out such changes.
Since the loading speed of web pages turns out to be a crucial factor in determining business sales, it is also necessary not to ignore the changes suggested. When you know your web page loading speed, there is no excuse for not making it better.
- You can start using a Content Delivery Network or CDN which will replicate the content across many remote servers which are spread all over the globe. These are called Points of Presence and these edge servers will make content delivery to end-users much faster. So, whenever requests are made by a user, the server which is geographically nearest to that user will process the request.
- The expires headers refers to snippet codes which are defined in the .htaccess files and these instruct browsers on whether to get a specific web page from servers or to get browser’s cache version. So, with expire headers, you can re-use cached files which have been kept in browser and this helps to cut down on time taken for downloading the files. Because it can lower numbers of requests for loading web pages, it can reduce the loading time too.
- You may also decide to fix the broken links because such links will discourage customers for visiting the other web pages. When the viewers are leaving your website quickly, search engine algorithms detect this and assume that the site lacks quality content. This will automatically reduce the number of viewers to the site and negatively affect search engine ranking. You may use free tools such as Google Webmaster Tool to detect these broken links.
- When a viewer comes to a site, the browser will decide how the layout is going to be revealed and how content will be placed around the images. If you can specify dimensions for the images, the browsers do not have to do this time-consuming work and this improves the speed. Oversized pictures invariably take longer to load and this explains why you will benefit from keeping small images on the site. You must also optimize these prior to uploading them. For instance, WordPress users can deploy the WP Smush to compress pictures. You can also ask your host for GZIP compression which you may enable by yourself if you use VPS hosting. Such techniques can reduce file size without compromising quality of images or videos and this leads to better loading speeds. You can also disable hot linking which will end up consuming more bandwidth and slowing down the site.
- Finally, choosing the right hosting plan may work wonders for your page loading speed. For instance if you get VPS hosting, you will be given allotted RAM, bandwidth and CPU and you get to tweak the resources as and when needed.