Optimizing Website Speed and Performance

One of the biggest frustrations web users face is waiting for a page to load. With so many alternative sites available at their fingertips, online shoppers don’t have the patience to suffer slow websites. Today’s digital world moves fast, and your site should too.

If your pages don’t load like lightning, users move on and you lose the opportunity to convert clicks into sales. In fact, according to top web influencer Neil Patel, 47% of consumers expect pages to load in two seconds or less. Every second counts – 40% of visitors will abandon a page that takes over three seconds to display.

Don’t leave your visitors waiting. Follow our four steps for identifying performance issues and optimizing your website.

What is Website Speed?

Simply put, website speed refers to how fast your website, web pages, and media content loads when a user interacts with your site.

Speed and performance optimization play a vital role in your website’s success, influencing important factors like:

  • Customer Usability and User Experience (UX)
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Engagement and Conversion Rates

What matters most is giving your users a quick, agile, and seamless online experience, so they effortlessly receive the information and content they’re seeking. But how big of a difference does slow website speed make? MachMetrics found that a one second delay, on average, leads to a 7% reduction in conversions, 11% fewer page views, and 16% reduction in customer satisfaction.

Don’t let your lagging website reduce customer loyalty, conversions, and revenue.

4 Steps for Optimizing Your Website

Step 1: Monitoring Website Speed Made Easy

Unsure of how to get your website up to speed and improve your web performance? You’ve got to test, test, test it!

Use Page Speed Insights by Google to analyze your pages’ content and how to improve your site’s speed. The results report provides a breakdown of how your site performs on both desktop and mobile devices (more on that below!). Even better, get notifications detailing which changes are high, medium, and low priority to implement a plan that makes the most impact.

In addition to Google’s tool, there are a wide variety of handy-dandy options to run website speed tests. Two accessible options are Pingdom and GTmetrix. Simply enter your web page URL to get performance metrics at-a-glance and actionable recommendations to boost the hustle and health of your site.

Step 2: Images Are Important

No one likes staring at the spinning icon of a loading image. It’s frustrating – and worse, often leads users to miss out on your website imagery or abandon your site altogether. One of the easiest and most impactful steps for enhancing your website speed is optimizing images.

If your images appear too big, small, or distorted, try uploading and testing different sizes on your site to guarantee you don’t compromise quality and impact. You can also reduce the file size of your images using compression and converter tools to save valuable space and shrink load time.

Consider image format, quality settings, resolution, and more when optimizing your images. In addition, determine when images perform best in a vector format and scale your image assets for every device.

Step 3: Caching is Key

When a lot of users access the same page at one time, your server slows down and needs more time to deliver.

Installing or enabling a website caching plugin allows the creation of static HTML files of your web pages and elements (such as sidebars, header + footers, icons, logos, menus, and more). This helps to significantly shave off seconds of load time by minimizing the number of requests sent to your server.

Like website caching, you can also set up browser caching for a hastier user experience. Browser caching lets you temporarily store a cached version of your site in a visitor’s browser, so when they return to your site, it loads faster.

Step 4: Think Mobile

A mobile-first strategy is essential. According to Google, if users have a negative experience on mobile, they’re 62% less likely to purchase from you in the future. Want to know how your mobile site stacks up? Use Google’s Speed Scorecard to benchmark your mobile performance.

When it comes to mobile, faster is better and less is always more. Fast-track your mobile site with decluttered formatting and simplified design, using Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs). Remove unnecessary code and nonessential content for fast-loading mobile web pages.

Need to speed things up?

The notorious adage “patience is a virtue” doesn’t apply to your website. Remember, it only takes a one-second delay to drive your users away. Get started with our simple yet effective 4-step guide to optimize your website speed and performance.

Need help speeding things up a little (or a lot)? Get in touch to work with our web-dev experts to make sure your website doesn’t fall behind and help boost your online business.