Page Speed Matters (Here’s Why, and What You Can Do to Improve It)
It’s easy to become focused on the look and feel of your brand’s website. After all, how people feel about your brand’s appearance when first seeing it can make or break your long-term reputation with them. Aesthetic concerns are definitely one of the most important themes to consider when building a website.
However, there are many technical considerations as well, with page speed being one of them. How quickly your pages load can have a big effect on your website’s performance – among visitors and beyond.
Today, we’ll look at why page speed matters and what you can do to improve your website’s speed.
It Dramatically Impacts SEO Outcomes
There are plenty of reasons why page speed ultimately matters for any website, but in terms of driving traffic to your website, it’s hard to argue that the opinion of search engines is anything less than important. Because of the influence that search engines have on organic traffic, you want to be pinging links to them that load as quickly as possible.
Studies have shown that any page that takes longer than roughly 2 seconds to load suffers in search engine result rankings. This means that your page that might otherwise be ranked in the top slot in one set of results may instead appear halfway down the results page or more. Since search engines value user experience and since users don’t like to wait, page speed is a huge factor in rankings.
Users Will Reject Slow Pages
Speaking of user experience, it’s worth noting the obvious: slow-loading pages are not something people want to deal with when seeking solutions.
Much like ranking suffer after the 2-second mark in terms of loading time, there’s evidence to show that bounce rates increase substantially around the same time. With an unprecedented number of mobile users relying on faster pages due to slower mobile speeds, your site cannot possibly do battle with the competition effectively if pages take several seconds to load.
Sales, Subscriptions and Conversions Are Affected
Especially important to brands that are selling products, services or formally enlisting members, a slow website can wreak havoc on your conversion rates. This is particularly true when there are multiple pages or hurdles through which to jump; each slow-loading page is an opportunity for a less-than-committed customer or visitor to give up and go elsewhere.
Evidence shows that slower websites generate fewer sales and conversions, even when controlling for traffic. You literally cannot afford to have a slow website!
What You Can Do
There are many solutions for improving your page loading speed, but let’s quickly address a few options. One of the easiest to do is uninstall unused plugins: these can slow down your entire site dramatically. Another option is to use caching to serve relevant, older versions of your website to users rather than a new version each time they visit.
Compressing your images to take up less space can help further reduce loading times. Finally, make sure you’re pinging links and pages as quickly as possible by evaluating your hosting provider situation (some providers are substantially better than others in terms of speed).
While it may seem like a minor inconvenience, a slow website can do way more damage than you might realize. It’s important to act quickly to fix this issue so that you won’t encounter these problems and do real damage to your brand.