Scarily Slow Page Speeds

10 May 2017

Nothing is scarier than low engagement rates and a high bounce rate on your website. Although these statistics could be affected by a number of different variables, one of the main factors is the loading speed of your webpage, terrifying...

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Firstly page speed is just that, the time it takes your webpage to load.

This, unfortunately, has a lot of variables such as the quality of the servers you are hosting your website on as well as design or even number of plugins.

Why is Page Speed Important?

Page speed matters for a number of reasons, firstly and possibly the simplest yet most important reason is that visitors are more likely to stay on your website if it loads quickly. This may seem obvious but the average load speed of an ‘optimal’ page is less than 2 seconds with an average abandonment rate of 60%. Studies have shown that a load time of an additional 2 seconds can reduce interaction rates by 20%.

Secondly, Google and other major search engines penalise websites that load slowly by reducing the number of visible search engine rankings they receive.

Again this doesn’t seem that bad but when compared with data on user interaction with search results most people don’t search past page 1…

The third reason page speed is a huge factor in conversion and bounce rate statistics is a combination of the two previously stated points.

The faster the page loads the more likely people are to stay on your page, the more people who stay on the page the more likely those users are to convert into consumers or clients.

Furthermore if your page loads faster than competitors you could appear higher on search engine results, thus driving more traffic to your website ultimately resulting in more conversions.

How can you check your website’s load speed?

There is almost no end of ways that you can check the page speed of your website, out of personal preference we use SEORCH. This free website offers a complete overview of your webpage and pools information from various places on the internet and measures how it ranks against other websites.

This is not the only tool you can use, YSlow is a browser plug-in that assesses a website based on a set on predetermined rules (available on their website). Furthermore YSlow tells you what is slowing your webpage down and how you can fix it.

Alternatively you can use Google’s web analysis software PageSpeed Insights. This tool, similar to Yslow, evaluates your website and tells you why it’s being slowed and how to fix it. However due to this being a Google product the evaluation criteria vary slightly as Google provide the rules on which a website is evaluated.

How can you increase you page/load speed?

Every website is different, meaning that there isn’t a clear cut answer when it comes to increasing page/load speed however there are some general rules and tips you can follow to optimise your page speed.

  1. Ensure that the server you are hosting your website on is high enough quality to handle you website. This can vary depending on the site itself, the more web traffic and content on your webpage the higher quality the server will need to be.
  2. If you audience is globalised than use a content delivery network (CDN) to increase efficiency of content and image delivery to your users.
  3. Make sure that your images and videos are as small as possible however be aware that compressing images and videos can lower the quality so be sure not to over compress them. Effective use of JPG, PNG and GIF file formats can dramatically lower the file size of images and videos.
  4. Use speed optimisation tools such as the ones described above. PageSpeed Insight, SEORCH and YSlow can all help optimise your load speed. These tools will all identify scripts that can be compressed along with images and videos.

If your website runs on WordPress, make sure that you don’t have any unneeded plugins.

Conclusion:

Normally overlooked, page load speed is a huge factor when attempting to optimise SEO and visitor conversion rates. By having a fast page load speed you can reduce bounce rate, raise your SEO ranking and increase conversion rates.