Having a fast loading website wasn’t always important. Remember the days of dial-up when it took minutes just to connect to the internet or the early days of file sharing when one download could easily take a few hours? As internet consumers, we’ve gone from waiting hours for an audio file download to minutes for a full length video to download within a few years. The days of sluggish internet are behind us.
As our technology improved, our collective attention spans have shrunk. Consumers now demand speed across all forms of technology and a fast loading website is now crucial to online success.
How fast should a website load? According to insights by website analytics company, Kissmetrics, nearly 50% of users expect a web page to load in two seconds or less and nearly 40% will leave a site that takes more than three seconds to load.
The figures are even more striking for mobile websites. According to Google, 53% of mobile users will click away from a website that takes more than three seconds to load.
While these numbers are compelling on their own, having a fast loading website is important for a number of other reasons. Google has been considering pagespeed as a factor when ranking websites in search results since at least 2010, but this had been exclusively for desktops traffic. Recently it was announced that pagespeed would be a factor in the ranking of mobile sites. Surveys have shown fast loading websites are considered to be more professional, more trustworthy, and improve user experience, leading to higher conversion rates.
Whether you’re looking to rank higher in search engines like Google, create the best user experience, or win more conversions, there are a variety of ways to improve page speed and decrease the time it takes for your website to load.
Basics for Page Speed Optimization
Shrink image sizes
Images can drastically slow down the time it takes to load a website, but web design shouldn’t be sacrificed in the name of getting a fast loading page. Instead, try a plugin like Smush or file size reduction tool.
Leverage page caching
Caching is a great way to decrease the time it takes to load a page. To understand this, envision a website as an image. A non-cached website would have to be newly drawn every time the user visits a page, but a cached version starts with the picture almost completed, saving valuable load time.