Improve Your Websites Load Time
A website’s page load speed is more important in 2019 than ever before. Its importance can’t be stressed enough in enhancing your online presence and digital strategy. Page speed has specifically a huge impact on search engine optimisation (SEO) rankings on both desktop and mobile, paid ads via Google and the overall user experience.
Ultimately, a website that loads faster will have a higher number of conversions, a lower bounce rate and more visits compared to a slow loader. Most of the time, a slow website means that visitors will usually give up browsing as no one wants to wait around for its pages to load. This is especially crucial for businesses with a lengthy conversion funnel on their websites.
To understand how it can impact each aspect mentioned, let’s break it down individually below.
Google Page Speed Insights Tool Bugs
The free to use tool offered by Google is very handy to use and gives you a quick enough skim over how your page speed looks.
The thing not many people know about this tool is the “How” it operates. The assumption ios Google provided a free to use tool for measuring a metric that is deemed important.
The How This Tool Works
The tool is free for all with very little guide on how to use and digest the data is a bit of a downside at least for our web team who are fielding questions around green scores and % metrics that don’t quite add up to what we see when we test websites.
The how begins with how does Google’s page load speed insights tool get the data and how does it test the results to give you a report.
There are a lot considerations:
- What Device was used
- What Power does that device have
- What ISP did they use
- What Browser is being tested on
- Where is the datacenter of the test located
All valid questions when assessing page load speed. It is such a complex process that to come to a definitive answer you can’t base that on one source of data.
We do like to use three data points to come up with an average over the data set. There is no other way to give true intelligence on the result.
The impact that page load speed has can be seen in many different channels of advertising. The true real-world impact it has is dependant on the sales offer. This can be a big impact or a minor factor it all depends on the intent behind the search of the visitor.
We will explore some channels of advertising below and see how page load speed plays into each segment of online marketing.
Impact on SEO
The loading speed of a website affects its ranking factors. Since Google has already started prioritising sites that cater to mobile browsing, it’s high time that you start investing in mobile site speed to so you won’t be left out. With that said, it has been observed numerous times how site speed can directly impact one’s organic traffic and thus SEO rankings.
One of the main reasons why site speed is considered an important ranking factor is because it equates to quality user experience. A fast loading website will typically give a better experience for visitors while a slow one can dampen their spirits and thus lead to a poor experience. Aside from that, users that stay longer on websites with faster load speeds typically convert more and bounce less. That is why Google has chosen this as an important ranking factor.
An ideal page load time would be three to four seconds or even lower than that. This will depend on the kind of website you have and the industry it’s in, but a typical four-second site load speed would do you well. Going past this load time will start having negative effects, which lead to low rankings and bad user experiences.
Impact on Paid Search
With regards to site speed and pay-per-click, this will ultimately come down to paying cost-effective rates for your keyword bidding which your quality score determines. This number is important in paid media because it is how Google determines the relevance of a website based on the search term applied. The user experience from a visitor driven to the same page is then examined. In the end, a slow website load speed leads to a poor experience which negatively impacts your quality score.
This same score is the one that determines the amount you pay in PPC along with your average position on the search engine results page (SERP). A combination of low site speed and quality score isn’t good as this will make it hard for you to show up in the top two positions on search results. In fact, depending on how competitive your keywords are, you may not even show up on the first page at all.
Impact on Social Ads
Similar to paid ads done on Google, Facebook also looks into higher website speed with regards to its ads. This is because the social network also wants to show its users the best results on what they are interested in.
There was an algorithm change a couple of years back on Facebook where it started prioritising user experience with regards to site speed. As mentioned, the faster your site speed, the better the experiences of your users. These two are prime factors that can determine whether your ads will be prioritised by the platform or not. Although there are many things that can contribute to social ads, we know for a fact that a fast loading time will be focused more here.
Impact on User Experience
Consider how you interact with websites online. You visit one and think as if you’re interacting with a real individual. You end up either being satisfied or frustrated from your experience with it. But in reality, a website is just a bunch of code put together and it doesn’t have emotion. Since we are human beings, we react to things emotionally and that is why a website that loads slowly can turn into an emotional meltdown for us.
Most of the time, people move on to a competitor’s website when they aren’t happy with the current one they’re in. They may even head over to search engines to find others that can fulfil their needs. Whichever the case, the damage has already been done and your website has left a negative impression on them moving forward.
What Can I Do to Improve Website Page Load Speed?
Now that you are aware of the importance of site speed for your overall business, it’s time to look at ways on how you can change this for the better. Here is a short guide on the steps you should take.
Benchmarking Your Website
The first thing you should do is to know how your website is currently performing in terms of load speed. This is a crucial step to take as it will provide you with insight into the things that require your attention – allowing you to focus on major concerns.
At Be Media, we utilise an array of tools to carry out our operations but our go-to software when it comes to benchmarking a website is Lighthouse. This open-source tool is capable of running a series of audits on web pages which checks to see how fast or slow it operates when navigated. Our team can run it on any given web page, whether it is public or requires authentication. Aside from that, it supplies us with audits on a website’s performance, accessibility, and more.
Once the assessment has been accomplished, Lighthouse would then generate a report on how well certain pages performed. From here on out, we can view the audits that failed and use the indicators as our guide to know which areas of your website need improvement. Lighthouse is one of the best apps for analysing website page load speed and that’s why we leverage it.
Analysing Overall User Experience
There are a few questions you need to ask yourself before you begin optimising your website, such as:
- Are all website interactions smooth and free of lag?
- Can you interact with the page within 3 to 4 seconds, or does it take longer to load?
- Did the server respond right away upon inputting the website?
- Was it able to render enough content that users can engage with right away?
Tips to Shorten Page Load Speed
The key to improving the loading speed of your website is to eliminate as many unnecessary elements as possible that can hinder its performance. Below is a quick list of things you should carry out to make sure your website is optimised and efficient.
- Prioritise visual content for the “above the fold” section by reducing its size
- Leverage asynchronous scripts to enhance page render times
- Optimise image formats to lower file size as much as possible without affecting visual quality
- Take advantage of a quality content delivery network capable of reaching audiences fast
- Use multi-region hosting for better server response times
- Compress files to minimise rendering time for mobile devices
- Content on your website should dynamically adjust itself especially for slower devices/connections
That’s a lot of things to keep in mind and can be overwhelming for people who are also busy handling their businesses. So what can you do instead? I’m glad you asked!
How We Can Help
At Be Media, we believe that simplicity in website design is a must to enhance site speed, but we also incorporate as much visual appeal as needed to ensure that it remains aesthetically pleasing. This approach has resulted in many of our clients ending up satisfied with our services, especially since it is also very cost-effective and efficient.
We specialise in helping people who want to give their audience the best user experience possible, thereby maximising engagement, conversions and profitability. Our expert teams here at Be Media would be happy to take on your page load speed challenges and turn it around for you.
We can’t help everyone there are restrictions to this service and we don’t want to give you any false hope. If you want to get some help speeding up your website contact our team and ask about our restrictions and what we can work on. For anyone wanting a faster website contact us today!