Website speed hacks
Website speed is a key factor in website success. Website speed has been a key factor in Google’s top rankings. Website speed has been a key ranking requirement for Google over the past few years as Google places more emphasis on mobile web experience. Websites can even see a rapid increase in ranking simply by switching to a faster server.
This will be made even more official when Google introduces its Core Web Vitals to serve as the core ranking factors.
Core Web Vitals is a complex way to measure the website’s speed-based usability. Websites will need to score well on multiple scores. Some of these technical names include Cumulative Layout Shift. This measure how fast a webpage loads on slower connections and is only understood by website developers.
These speed assessments are available in Google’s PageSpeed Insights, which can be accessed for free here.
These tools can be easy to get caught up in, especially when certain numbers are bold or red. However, they should only serve as a guide. It takes effort to achieve a perfect score and it is not worth the cost for many businesses.
Mobile devices are the most critical place for website speed. Google’s Maile Ahye estimates that a website taking longer to load on a mobile device can lead to a 9.4% drop in page views. For a one-second increase in page views, that’s almost 10% less pages. It also affects profits; conversions decreased by 3.4% for the same amount of time. Internet users are impatient, and this is magnified when they use mobile devices.
The 3 Most Important Limits on Human Response Time
Jakob Neilsen’s Usability Engineering outlines three time limits that must be considered for all computer applications. The figures are still valid, despite the fact that the book was published 20 years ago. These numbers may be a bit generous considering that our attention spans are actually shorter.
* 0.1 seconds is the threshold at which website visitors can feel the site or application responding in real-time.
* The user’s thought flow can only continue uninterrupted for a maximum of 1 second. Although they will notice the delay, they will be back in the exact same spot they were when you left.
* They can only keep their attention for a maximum of 10 seconds. They might drift off to other thoughts or start to do other things. If the delay is longer than 10 seconds, they will need visual feedback.
You can see that one-second page loading is what we should aim for to ensure maximum user engagement.
A Kissmetrics study found that 47% of users expect pages to load in two seconds, and that 40% of people will abandon sites that take longer than three seconds. According to them, a second delay in loading a site can reduce conversion rates by 7%. This one second of loading will cost PS25,000 annually for a business that receives PS1,000 enquiries per day.
Measure the performance of your website
Website speed was not something I spoke of when I wrote the book. Every business owner, manager, and administrator of a website has to ensure that their website loads quickly. You can accomplish a lot with very little technical knowledge or resources.
You can find a number of online tools that will help you diagnose and measure any speed issues on your website. We recommend Google’s PageSpeedInsights (https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/), that highlights potential issues and suggests possible solutions. The Pingdom Website Test (https://tools.pingdom.com/) gives a ‘waterfall breakdown’, which shows you how long it takes for your site to load and which elements cause delays.
Although technical instructions on how to speed up your website in every area are beyond the scope this book, we have compiled a list of the most commonly encountered problems:
* Leverage browser caching. There are many files on your website, including images, CSS and HTML files. Many of these files do not need to be downloaded each time someone visits your website. They are unlikely to change over time. These files are saved by browsers to reduce bandwidth and time. You can tell browsers through your site settings how often they should’refresh these files. The longer the interval between refreshes, then the faster the page will load. We recommend that WordPress users install W3 Total Cache to handle this automatically.
* Reducing server response time. This is the time it takes for the server to reply to a request for files. Slower servers mean slower site loading. Hosting with low budget can lead to slow response times. This is especially true if you are on a shared hosting plan. You could end up being part of a large number of websites all competing for limited resources.
* Optimize Images. Images can be compressed without losing their quality. This allows for faster downloads. EWWW image optimizer can be used by WordPress users to automatically optimise images on their website.
* Prioritise visible content. Your website will appear to load faster if it loads visible content first. You can give your visitors a better experience by prioritizing content that is ‘above-the-fold’. This will keep them interested and provide a better user experience. This is a technical problem, so ask your geek friend to help you.
Server location is another factor that affects website speed. Server location is another factor that can affect website speed. If visitors to your site are located halfway around the globe from your servers then requests and transfers will have to travel half-way across the globe to the server, and then back to the user. All this travel can cause delays, even if you move at the speed of light. This delay can be minimized by using servers closer to your audience.
Cloudflare is a great service in this area. http://www.cloudflare.com/ Cloudflare is a service that helps optimise website speed. It uses its optimiser and CDN (Content Delivery Network) to store caches of your websites in all its data centers around the globe. The files are sent to the nearest data centre when someone visits your site. This saves them the hassle of having to travel around the globe. Cloudflare offers basic accounts for free and is easy to set up.
It is important to increase website speed. However, most business owners find that addressing these issues on their own is inefficient and not profitable. You should hire someone (or an agency!) to do this. This is what our website development team does all the time. Send us a message at http://exposureninja.com/contact/