There are two key reasons why website speed is important:
- Google uses website loading speeds in its page-ranking algorithms.
- Nearly half of all users abandon a web page that takes more than three seconds to load.
So, if you want your customers to find you via search engines in the first instance, and stay long enough when they do to make a purchase, you need a fast-loading website. Most experts recommend that website loading speed should be below two seconds.
Here’s how to get your website working faster.
Test your website speed
It never hurts to check out the competition, so why not see how your main rivals’ sites are performing too, and aim to be better than all of them?
Page speed is directly related to how much demand is placed on your server, thus loading images – particularly large, high-resolution ones – will significantly slow your website down. Make all the images you use as small as possible without sacrificing quality, ideally below 70kb.
There are lots of free tools that let you compress images; we like TinyPNG.
Enabling caching can help reduce your website response times, as your site will only have to create the content once instead of every time the page is visited. If your hosting service provider doesn’t provide server-side caching, there are numerous software add-ons and configurations available that’ll let you do this. We use PHP to enable output buffering, more can be found on this here.
Improve and optimise coding
Use a content distribution network (CDN)
A CDN typically reduces the distance that data needs to travel to the end users, thereby improving website speed.
CDNs are quick and easy to implement, with many taking only a few minutes to set up. We’ve experimented with the Amazon AWS Platform which is easy to setup but offers a host of advanced features.
Having a website that looks great and functions well is important, but you mustn’t overlook the importance of website speed. A fast-performing website provides a better experience for your users and, crucially, improves your search engine ranking.