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Loading speed, how fast should your website be?

In this ever-increasing online world, you can be the best at everything, but if your website loads slowly, you’ll lose out on many potential customers. No matter how good your marketing is, how beautiful your website design or what a major brand name you are, a websites’ performance is key to keeping that traffic flowing to the site.

Website Speed

Ben Webster

Creative director at 1PCS. Addicted to design, SEO, pizza and helping companies big and small succeed online.

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Why is it so important?

On mobile-friendly sites, over half of users abandon their website visit if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Could you afford to have only half your usual visitors for the sake of a slower webpage? Most companies aim to bring in as much traffic to their site a possible so losing this amount can be the difference whether a profit is made or not.

Not only is the traffic drop a potential problem, but page speed can negatively affect your organic search rankings. Google has confirmed that page speed is a ranking factor which is why they have created a Page Speed tool to help see where your website is currently at. It also provides information on the areas you can help to improve this, but we will be covering some of the key points later in this article.

The site loading speed can have an impact on your PPC marketing as well. If you find organic rankings to be lacking, businesses often turn to Pay-Per-Click marketing instead for a quick way to get to the top of search results. In Google Ads, the landing page experience takes into account the speed that the webpage loads up. This has a knock-on effect throughout the campaign as it reduces the quality score meaning bids for keywords are higher than average.

So not only are you getting less traffic to your site and therefore less business being conducted, but it’s costing you more to get that reduced amount of traffic as well. Seems quite counterintuitive, doesn’t it?

Website Pagespeed

How to help speed up the site?

There are a number of ways to reduce the loading time for the page, both that anyone can do as well as ones probably best left to developers and programmers. We’ll have a look at some of the ways that have the biggest impact, though this is not an exhaustive list by any means.

In this day and age, we all like a website with good imagery but modern cameras, even on your phone, take massive pictures. They look great but the file sizes are huge and this can be a big part of page speed. The bigger the file, the longer it takes to load. So, a quick way to improve this is to reduce the image size. This can be done in a variety of software, even Microsoft Paint, though applications like Photoshop will give you the best results. There’s a fine line between having a nice and small image size but also keeping the image detailed and clear, so it might take a bit of playing around to get the key images right. On some website platforms, there are add-ons and plugins that can automatically help optimise the image sizes for better loading.

Now for the bit on the coding side of the site. For those that don’t know, to make up a website there are a lot of files involved. From HTML, PHP and JavaScript files forming the building blocks and defining the main functions, to CSS which gives it the looks and styles on the website. When writing these files, they often follow a similar format to this page you are reading now. Top to bottom, laid out in nice neat sections so that identifying different areas is easy for the programmers. It’s a great way for us humans to use and make troubleshooting or adding/removing sections fairly simple (depending on the project I should hasten to add). However, computers and the servers that host websites, aren’t humans and therefore the neatly laid out files that can contain thousands upon thousands of lines of code can take a long time for them to read. To speed this up, you can ‘minify’ these files. Basically, this condenses all that coding information down into one massive line which the server can read more efficiently as there is no unnecessary space in the file. Reading all the code faster means all the information can be processed faster and then the page loader faster; simple!

The last option is one hosting companies can try and push on you without it always being required – upgrade the server/hosting plan. This normally means forking out more money to get increased performance, but without doing some of the more basic steps like the above, there may be little real-world difference. Where a server upgrade is necessary is if you are running a medium to large website with a lot of traffic flowing regularly. Each user requires a certain number of resources on a site like loading images, videos and the code files for each page they visit. The more visitors you have on the site at one time, the more resources are needed. Imagine opening lots of tabs and programs on your computer all at the same time; it slows up, right? Using a basic server might not be able to keep up with the demand and has to slow down the experience for users while it loads assets before being able to move onto the next request (a button click or a page load).

The bottom line

The loading speed of a page is vital to have an optimal user experience. Just leaving it up to the platform without any extra work will likely end up with slower results, losing some of that possible traffic. Here at 1PCS, we can have a check over your website to find any areas that need fixing or options to help boost the page speed to ensure your customers can have a great online journey. Why not give us a call today on 0800 652 0168 or fill out one of our website’s forms and a member of the team will be happy to discuss your project.

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Article By

Ben Webster

Creative director at 1PCS. Addicted to design, SEO, pizza and helping companies big and small succeed online

Need some help? Pop me an email [email protected]

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