Many business owners believe that having a good website means delivering quality content with some well-placed images. These things matter, of course, but just as important is website load time. That may not sound like the most exciting metric. However, people generally expect websites to fully load in about three seconds. If your website can’t achieve this, then your customers will soon be browsing elsewhere.
Frequently, the trick for turning browsers into buyers is getting them to stay on your website. The longer they look, the more likely they are to purchase something or make an appointment. This means that you’ve got to have sparkling content and features that will grab a customer’s interest, but it also means that your website has to move fast enough to hold their interest.
You know from experience that a sluggish website causes frustration. No matter how good the information is, you’re not going to stick around if you have to wait for 10, 20, 30 seconds or even longer for a single page to load. Your time is valuable. If it takes a website that long to load a page, how long will it take to process a transaction? If it goes through at all or charges you twice. Would you feel confident that your order was received? Would you have lurking doubts about the professionalism of the company behind the website?
If your website is slow to load, then it will not figure as prominently in search results as other websites. That’s right. Google actually takes website load time into consideration when it prioritizes search results. Your competitor, who may be quite similar to you, could land higher in search results simply because they have taken the time to ensure that their website has lightning-fast load times.
Anyone who is worried that their website may not be loading as quickly as it should be has good reason to search for ways to optimize load times. Fortunately, several options are available. Consider these eight steps to decrease website loading time.
Scale Images the Right Way
Images can be incredibly engaging, and they are a wonderful way to draw in your audience to keep them browsing. However, they also take up considerable memory space and can hog when it comes to bandwidth. Too many webmasters make the mistake of uploading huge, full-size images to their website. Subsequently, they use CSS to scale them down. Although the scaled-down version appears on the website, the browser still must download the full, humongous file each time someone accesses the website. This is why it makes sense to scale down images before they are uploaded.
Pixels are critical when it comes to appropriately size an image for use on the web. Several options for scaling images are available, and some of them can even be accessed for free.
Work with your web server to compress your entire website. This practice may reduce the size of your CSS and HTML files by as much as 50 to 70 percent. Accordingly, anyone visiting your website will download 50 to 70 percent less data than they had to download before you applied compression. The precise operations used to compress a website very dependent upon your server, so you may have to inquire with your host about how to accomplish this.
The number of ways that hackers can infiltrate a website is truly astonishing. No matter how the dastardly deed is accomplished, it is bound to wreak havoc on website load times. While it used to be true that a website that took advantage of every available security measure tended to be slower to load, this is no longer the case. Place your focus on better security, and you’ll minimize the chances that you’ll have to deal with problems like command injection and cross-site scripting, which can seriously affect how quickly your website loads.
Make Use of Social Buttons
Keep HTTP Requests Minimal
All of the elements on your website require an HTTP request in order to load. The more components you have, the longer it takes to render. Are some of those components unnecessary? They might be, and this means that they are slowing down your website. Check out your developer tools to see if you have opportunities to minimize HTTP requests.
Switch to CSS3 and HTML5
The latest versions of HTML and CSS are vital to speeding up your website. “HTML” is an acronym for Hypertext Markup Language, and it’s the code that describes all web pages. “CSS” is the acronym for Cascading Style Sheets. It’s the style sheets that determine how the HTML elements will be displayed. Using the most recent versions makes your website sleek and fast.
Make Use of AJAX Loading
The process of speeding up your website is iterative. In other words, there’s not a big red “speed up my website” button you can reach for that does it instantly. A bunch of seemingly small actions, though, can result in a remarkable page loading improvement. Is it worth the effort? Considering the impatience of today’s internet crowd, we’d say definitely yes.