Your website speed is a measure of how fast the content on your website loads. The faster your website loads, the better! Unfortunately, we’re an impatient society and people don’t like to hang around waiting for things to load – go figure! If your site is too slow to load, you could be losing your potential customers to your competitors.
The ideal website load time is between 1-2 seconds! You’ll lose at least half of your website visitors if your site takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Statistics also indicate that for every 2 seconds delay in load time, it could increase abandonment by up to 87%.
Site speed is also important to SEO
Keeping an eye on your website speed is also important because it’s one of the factors that determines how high up your website appears in Google search results. Google is all about providing the best experience for its users, and a site that takes ages to load is ultimately a poor experience. So if your site is slow, it will rank lower in search results. In other words, site speed also plays a role in SEO.
There are a few free tools to check your website speed. In each case, you just need to enter your URL and it will give you the results in a couple of minutes:
- Pingdom – https://tools.pingdom.com/
- Google’s dev tool – https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
5 ways to fix a slow loading website:
If you’re not happy with your results, there are some things you could do yourself (especially within your WordPress dashboard), or ask your website manager to do, to quickly improve your website speed.
- Compress images to reduce file size: If you’ve got very large images/media files, this can take the browser a very long time to load them, thereby negatively affecting your site speed. If you’re using WordPress, you can use plugins such as the TinyPNG plugin to reduce the size of the image without sacrificing quality.
- Enable caching: When you first visit a website, certain elements of the page are stored in a cache. This means the next time you come back to that site, it can load much faster. If you enable caching on your website, this can considerably improve the page speed for returning visitors (those coming back to your site after an initial visit).
- Delete inactive plugins, and remove any unnecessary code: It’s worth reviewing your list of installed plugins periodically so that you can remove any that you are no longer using. Rather than just deactivating them, you should uninstall them to avoid the code being ‘bloated’. As much as possible, your web developer should minify the code used to keep it as light as possible. This step can be quite time-consuming, if it wasn’t done when the site was first built, but can really make a difference if done correctly.
- Use a CDN: A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is just a fancy name for a network of servers. You see, when a user visits your website, it is loading the data from your files that are stored in a physical location. Your site speed, for that user, is determined by their proximity to the server (i.e. how close they are). The further away they are, the slower it will load. A CDN simply distributes your files over a network of servers globally. This way, when a user visits your site, it can be loaded from the server closest to them. So if they’re based in the US, they may be served by servers located in New York, rather than London.
- Missing files are causing errors: If you have missing files that are giving 404 errors, this could also slow down your site. You should regularly audit your site and remove any broken links.
In summary, a slow loading site can mean your customers don’t hang around and instead go to a competitor, as well as reduce your visibility in search results. Finding out your site speed is straightforward, using a number of free internet tools. There are some easy fixes to improve your site speed too, so it needn’t be the end of the world if your initial results aren’t great.
How can we help?
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