Why a fast loading website is good for your business?

Cloudflare network map

Why should you make your business website load fast

Case studies

Case studiesYou shouldn’t take my word for it. There are numerous case studies that prove that there is a correlation between page speed and user conversion. Let’s take a look at few of them:

  • Amazon found that for every 100ms of improved page load time, it saw a 1% increase in revenue.
  • Shopzilla cut its page load time from 6 seconds to 1.2 seconds. In addition to a 12% increase in revenue, page traffic increased by 25%
  • Bing tried an experiment where it deliberately made search queries take two seconds longer. The result was a 4.3% decrease in revenue per user.
  • 39% of users say that performance is more important to them than the functionality of a site.

[Source: Smashing Magazine]

Loading speed impacts SEO and Usability

SEO and UsabilityA slow loading website can get you penalized in Google. You can use Google Page Speed tool to find out how your website ranks and how it can be improved.

Let’s admit it. Nobody likes to wait around for a slow page to load. If your users are waiting for more than 3 seconds, there is a 40% chance they will leave and go to your competitor!

How to optimize your website for fast loading speed

Optimization at design level

designImages are the heaviest component on a web page and are the main contributors for slow loading websites. There are different tools you can use such as jPeg Mini and Image Alpha apps for Mac, which can make a big impact in webpage loading time. However, ask yourself: “Do you really need a home page slideshow?”, “Do you need that high resolution photo of your dog?”. If you don’t need those images, eliminate them from your website to greatly increase loading speed.

Code optimization

optimizationAssuming our design is created with page speed in mind, we can now move to code optimization. First rule of thumb is to move ALL web resources such as fonts, CSS files, and Javascript to the bottom of the page. That way the content loads first before the other web components.

Additionally if we reduce the server requests we can benefit from faster loading speed. For example, a large image loads faster than 10 smaller images of the same size. It is a good idea to combine multiple images into one large image. Other options are Javascript, CSS and HTML compression.

Use Caching

caching

If you have a website with database connection (ecommerce and content management platforms such as WordPress), caching optimization system saves “snapshots” of your pages and delivers them as static HTML. HTML is the fasted way to access data on the web. This process avoids requests made to the database for data which can slow down the website. In most cases a cheap hosting provider can impact page speed for websites with databases. Before you spend time on caching optimization maybe is time for you to choose a better hosting provider.

If you’re using WordPress, then you’re covered because you can take advantage of Total Cache plugin. However to make the most of its entire capability, I recommend custom settings over the default ones. Since tweaking the plugin requires some technical expertise, consult with your developer.

Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Cloudflare network map

Cloudflare network map

cdnThe location of your visitors and your web server matters! The further the visitors are from the server, the slower the website loads for them. This is because data needs to go through more “internet nodes” to get to the visitors.

With CDN service, the website files are cloned on mega servers all around the globe. When visitors view your website, they access it from the closest mega server location. You can use web page test tool to check your speed using different mega servers locations.

Even though there are more CDN solutions out there, I recommend Cloudflare. It is efficient and it has free plan! Most hosting providers offer Cloudflare integration which makes the initial setup a breeze. After I installed Cloudflare on my website, I managed to get faster loading speeds for visitors all around the globe!

Conclusion

While the loading performance of your website may not seem like a big deal, you should consider taking advantage of all optimization techniques at the design and coding level, caching, and using a CDN. It does not only create an optimal experience for your users, it gives you an edge over the competition. In other words, you get more customers.

Please comment in case you found this article useful.

 

Update: Please read the next article in the series: How to make your WordPress website load super fast!

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