Half your customers expect your site to load within two seconds. If it doesn’t, you’re probably experiencing low visitor engagement and high bounce rates.
Google likes zippy sites too. So if yours doesn’t load quickly, it will drop down the search rankings, exposing you to the risk of being overtaken by your competitors.
Not sure if yours is up to scratch? Test the speed of your site using Google’s page performance tool. If it’s slow, follow these tips to optimise your site speed.
Things to do
1. Keep your content simple. The more you have, the more a visitor has to load. Think from a visitor's perspective when developing your website and only include the important stuff.
2. Crop and optimise your images for web and devices. Use JPEG files for static images, and replace animated GIFs with HTML5 - it usually loads 10% faster.
3. Only embed vital tracking codes. Put them at the bottom of your page so visitors don’t have to wait for them to load before they can browse your site.
4. Delete plugins that don’t improve the online journey. Social media sharing tools and feeds can slow down your webpages so use them sparingly.
5. Embed videos strategically. Videos normally load within iFrames, which basically means they’re loading a page within a page. Don't put them everywhere.
The technical stuff
1. Compress your HTML. This can boost your page speeds by up to 70%. 99 years are wasted daily due to slow load times caused by uncompressed data.
2. Cache content that rarely changes. This will store it on your visitor’s local device, meaning returning visitors don’t have to download it multiple times.
3. Streamline your code. Remove broken tags and unnecessary lines of HTML. Switching to HTML5 and ditching jQuery from your mobile site can also help.
4. Improve your CSS delivery. Combine style sheets where possible, replace images with CSS and avoid using in-line styles (that is, hard-coding HTML or CSS).
5. Avoid landing page redirects. Minimise your HTTP requests (for example, a redirect to an adaptive site) to ensure your pages render quickly.
There will be times when you need to include something on your website that can have a negative impact on your page speed - this may be embedding a banner, video or CSS-styled call to action. The trick is to balance their value and impact.
You may want to remove them individually and test your website's speed to see how each element affects your page performance. You'll need to consider, on a case-by-case basis, whether its value outweighs the impact on page speed.
UXB builds websites with page load speeds, search engine optimisation and user experience in mind. Find out how we can increase your visibility and improve your online presence.