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Top Five Things You Can Do to Improve Your Website Load Time

Top Five Things You Can Do to Improve Your Website Load Time

Website load time affects your traffic, ranking (and $$).

Don’t you hate it when you log onto a website, and it takes (what seems like) forever to load? Website load time definitely influences website conversions. Rather than wait for the page to load, most will just exit and go to the next option.

It turns out no one likes to wait around for a website to load. Website pages that take a long time to load have higher bounce rates (visitors leaving the website all together) and lower average time on a page.

While having a fast-loading website page doesn’t guarantee an increase in traffic or conversions, the chances of a visitor remaining on your website does increase. 

On average, people spend more time and click on more pages if they don’t have to wait for a page to load.

In addition, studies show that the longer a user spends on a website, the better the conversion rate.  Especially relevant is a study by Gomez titled “Why web performance matters: is your site driving customers away?”  This studied reveled that website visitors expect a webpage to load in 2 seconds or less.  As many as 38% of visitors will leave a website if they have to wait more than a few seconds

The study also found that:

  • At peak traffic times, more than 75% of online consumers left for a competitor’s site rather than suffer delays.
  • 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience.
  • Almost half expressed a less positive perception of the company overall after a single bad experience.
  • More than a third told others about their disappointing experience.

Real World Examples

  • Mozilla made its pages load 2.2 seconds faster. As a result, they saw 60 million more Firefox downloads per year.
  • Amazon loses 1% of sales for every 100ms it takes their site to load.
  • Shopzilla also reduced their loading time by 2 seconds. This resulted in a 9.5% increase in the revenue and a 25% increase in page views.

2010 was all about Speed!

The above study was performed in 2010.  That same year, Google announced that they were adding website load time as a ranking factor. Over a decade later, and speed is still a ranking factor.  

In addition to a poor user experience, website load time affects your search engine ranking and indexing.  A slow website means that search engines crawl fewer pages which negatively affects your indexation.

How to check and track your website load time

At Acme Digital Marketing, we use these two tools to check website speed optimization:

What can you do to improve your website load time?

Other than collaborating with Acme Digital Marketing for your search engine optimization needs, here are our top five suggestions for website speed optimization:

  1. Image size: Using unoptimized images on your website uses a large amount of server resources, therefore increasing your website load time.  We recommend optimizing your images before loading them onto your website with a platform such as Adobe Photoshop.  However, if it’s too late for that, we recommend WP Smush or EWWW Image Optimizer.  Both have free plugin versions, but if you have a significant number of images, you may want to consider their premium versions to save time.
  2. Excessive amounts of plugins: We see this a LOT.  There’s a plugin for everything.  The problem is plugins don’t always play nicely with each other.  Unless a plugin is 100% necessary and enhances user experience, delete it.  If you have deactivated plugins, delete them.  Plugins take up a lot of server resources as well.
  3. Unnecessary features: That full page slider you have on your home page is the bomb! It’s flashy and says “hey, look at me!”  But what else does it do?  Sliders have their place and can provide value, but they can also be overused and unnecessary.  According to Erik Runyon at Weedy Garden, only 1% of visitors actually click on a slide and that’s almost always the first slide. Sliders are huge speed sucks so if you don’t absolutely have to have one, don’t. One large image can have the same visual effect and more impact for your website.
  4. Extra themes and plugins: I don’t know about you, but what’s up with the “Hello Dolly” plugin that comes with every WordPress site?  Do you need it?  Delete it.  Most WordPress websites also come with at least two themes. Two themes that 90% of the population never use so they are just taking up server space.  Delete them.
  5. Poor hosting/server configuration:  Raise your hand if you have GoDaddy.  We love GoDaddy.  Their customer support is amazing!  We used them for over 10 years……until we started beating our heads against all the brick walls in the office over website speed optimization. 

We recently completed on page search engine optimization for a fitness company.  Try and try as we did, we just could not get the website load time under 2 seconds without affecting user experience.

We decided to do an actual test of servers/hosting providers.  We downloaded an exact replica of the website and uploaded it onto one of our KnownHost servers.  We did nothing else.  Then we tested both again.  Here are the results.

BEFORE

Top Five Things You Can Do to Improve Your Website Load Time

AFTER

Top Five Things You Can Do to Improve Your Website Load Time

GTMetrix

·         Increase in page score

·         Increase in YSlow Score

·         Decrease in fully loaded time by two seconds

·         Decrease in total page size

Google

·         Increase in desktop score by 9 points

·         Increase in mobile score by 28 points!!!!!!!

 

**BONUS – #6**

Last, but not least, you need a good caching plugin.  If you do nothing else, do this one thing.

 

What is caching? Caching is the process of storing frequently-accessed data temporarily in a cache. A good caching plugin minimizes the amount of data that is transmitted between the visitor’s browser, the WordPress database, and the web server, therefore producing a faster website load time.

 

At Acme Digital Marketing, we use and recommend WPRocket.  We’ve tried several, but this one seems to play nicely with others.  It’s not free, but trust us, the investment is worth it.

**Before starting any website optimization, make sure you’ve backed up your website.  Website speed optimization can be tricky, especially if you don’t have a ton of WordPress experience.