How fast does your website load? If it takes more than 2 seconds you’re losing out on customers and conversions.
How fast your pages load will affect two things.
1) How high your website can reach in search rankings.
2) How quickly the visitors you actually get will bounce off your pages.
There are many factors that determine how fast your pages load. Well built pages will be less than 1 megabyte in total size on average. Fortunately you can optimize these factors and maximize your Google search rankings and overall website conversions.
Page Load Time Factors
There are a lot of factors that affect web Page Load Time. Here’s a quick list:
Photo File Size
Having photos of a large size can slow down your website’s load time faster than almost anything. In most photo editing applications you can optimize an image for the web. Photoshop calls this ‘save for web and devices’. This strips unneeded visual information from the file while leaving the highest possible visual quality.
Generally speaking it’s a good idea to make your photos as small as possible. The smaller the file the faster the Page Load Time.
Links and personal comment icons can get in the way of page load time. Manage your comments closely and delete the spam. Generic messages and links to e-commerce sites aren’t genuine comments. Questions about your content and requests for follow up material are examples of valid comments.
Filter out the garbage and keep the real comments intact to keep your Page Load Time down.
Videos placed on your website have a similar effect as large photos. If there is too much information to load, your user will have to wait for their content. Even linked and embedded videos (i.e. from Wistia, Vimeo or Youtube) can put a strain on Page Load Time.
Too many videos of high quality will ruin your page load speeds if they are hosted locally. If you’re streaming video from your server, keep your videos short and sweet.
Too Many Widgets and Plugins
Having extra features and functions on your CMS website improves the experience for your visitors but not if it slows your Page Load Times to a crawl. Make sure you choose your plugins and widgets carefully. Although some extensions seem like a good idea don’t install anything unnecessary. Only add the features you need.
Keep your selections streamlined and your pages will load like lightning.
Website code can be tricky. That’s why Canopy Media uses content management systems for most projects. Many websites utilize coded elements which can affect total load times. Messy code or pages called from many separate documents can take longer to load than their clean coded counterparts.
Keep coding simple and clean for fast load times.
Ads and social media pop-ups alike can bog down the load time of your website, especially if it pops up on a page that’s already high in content. Having an ad or social media prompt on every page might boost your follows but not your web traffic.
Choose your pop-up pages wisely and try not to bombard your visitors. Too many requests for action and your users will tune out entirely.
Having redirection assistance in place is a big help online. Sometimes a web page gets misplaced or removed from the sitemap. If all the links to that content aren’t deleted or removed then eventually someone will try and access a page that no longer exists. The more redirects you have, the longer it takes to get to the page a visitor is requesting. Try to keep redirects to a minimum.
Dedicated IP address
Most websites today are sharing their server space with a boatload of other websites. The more websites that are hosted on the same server and IP address as your site means less bandwidth and total capacity available for your business. Paying for a dedicated IP address will be slightly more expensive than normal but the load time improvements and improved search results a worth it.
A dedicated IP address = much better load times.
Reducing file sizes as much as possible is a great practice to increasing the speed of load times. Many web hosts use GZIP compression to reduce the total file size by as much as 70%. You can check with your provider to see if this is already being done to your website.
If not make a request and see if you can have it done to your pages. The smaller the better for files sizes and load times.
It’s sometimes difficult to follows all of these guidelines but the more rules you adhere to the faster your Page Load Time and higher your Google SERP results will be.
There’s a lot more to a successful website than load times. Take a look at these helpful posts and increase your online presence.
Content Management Systems vs Coded Websites
Show & Tell: Using Product Videos to Increase Sales
Turn Your Info Into Downloadable Content
Generating Ideas: How-To Write Your Own Blog
How To Keep Them Clicking: Reducing Bounce Rate