The newest techniques that promise to drive traffic to your site, and the endless design mistakes that every beginner makes when it comes to site speed.
Why is site speed so important? Does a second or two really matter? How do search engine results (SERPs) react to a slow page? And what are the main culprits that slow down your site and drive customers away?
We’ve done the hard work for you by compiling all of the very best performance optimisation and site speed information here in one handy guide. Keep on reading to find out whether your page passes the speed test and what our Identify team will do to improve it.
Why is Website Speed So Important?
You can hire the best SEO team in industry and design the smartest, most sophisticated, most advanced website, set to wow and woo any visitor. But if it takes more than a mere two seconds to fully load, then you’ve already lost the attention of half of your visitors.
We’re not kidding. Studies have shown that you’ve got roughly two seconds to keep a visitor on your page. If your site hasn’t loaded within that time, just under half of those visitors will not hesitate to click away. Worryingly, you might never get them back.
To make matters worse, Google and other search engines will penalise your site once it recognises a slow load time. If your page isn’t optimised to meet the required standards, you’ll find yourself slipping down the ranking while around half of your visitors ‘bounce’ away.
And that means that you’ll be wasting a lot of time and resources simply by overlooking one simple design element: site optimisation.
You have very little time to impress any visitors. Optimised, efficient, and fluent sites will load almost instantly and direct customers to the service and product page they wish to visit. Simultaneously, search engines push these sites higher and higher.
It goes without saying that site speed should be a priority for every website developer and manager. But business owners should pay close attention to the performance optimisation of their page as well.
You need to make sure that your site is fully optimised and loads as quickly as possible. Thereafter, you can guide your customer on the path towards closing a sale and enjoying the benefits of an efficient, responsive site.
What Slows a Site Down, and How Can I Fix It?
Sadly, many novice website developers fail to prioritise site speed and may inadvertently design a page filled with clunky, memory-hungry plugins and images.
There are many other website-building tools that will significantly increase the load-time of your page.
But the good news is that there are several ways to improve site speed and optimise your page with customer experience in mind. Your customer has a better shopping experience, you appear higher in search results, bounce rate is reduced, and conversions are greatly improved.
Here are just a few ways to optimise your page and get the results you need.
Large Image Files
This is one of the biggest known site-speed killers. Often, websites are filled with eye-catching images and videos that add to a brand’s appeal or provide visual examples of products and services.
Unfortunately, they’re often unnecessarily large and many internet browsers will struggle to load those images within the two-second time slot.
Do your images need such a high resolution? Ask your graphic designers to reduce the image size or use images that are optimised for website display instead. Most of the time, this is possible with negligible difference in picture quality.
It’s better to compress images before they’re loaded to WordPress in particular, otherwise WordPress will automatically compress your images and you’ll notice a deterioration in image quality.
Next up are plugins. These are super-handy tools that are used for website development on WordPress sites, and they can very quickly become an optimisation issue.
The number of plugins available on WordPress seems almost limitless. For every piece of coding, for every website trick or enhancement, it seems as though there is a convenient plugin alternative. What starts as one or two handy plugins can quickly become an entire library of energy-draining architecture.
Some plugins are naturally slow and have poorly designed code – try to remove these and replace them with lighter plugins instead. Or, if it’s possible, remove them completely.
Disable specific plugins and carefully reintroduce them. Remember, certain plugins will clash with one another and have a disastrous effect on your site’s load time.
Check the reviews of WordPress plugins and search for ones that prioritise speed and user experience. Paying a small fee for a leaner, more efficient plugin will almost always pay dividends. If not, see if your web developers can instead write code that handles the task of the plugin for you.
The quality of your web hosting provider will also play its part in site speed and web optimisation. The stereotypes are certainly true with this one: when it comes to web hosting, you get what you pay for.
Poorly configured web hosting can hurt your site’s speed. It’s a fundamental part of your site’s architecture, and it pays to build a solid foundation. If your hosting partner is extremely limited and you suspect it is playing a role in your site’s poor speed, don’t hesitate to switch to an alternate hosting provider.
Another easy mistake to make is to accidentally ignore the complicated process playing out in the background of your site.
Plugins and other site tools run tasks behind the front layer of your WordPress page in particular. You don’t have to be a coding expert, but you can still identify a few busy, needless tasks that can be either paused or removed altogether.
For instance, make sure that your plugins only run when they need to, or reduce the indexing frequency across your site. Some users may choose to focus on image caching and only store information temporarily.
Check for Updates
Finally, check and see if there are updates available on your CMS platform and check individual plugins on your WordPress site as well. There are frequent updates that keep your website running smoothly as new features develop online.
Make sure that your theme is operating correctly and don’t avoid updates that prioritise fixing any potential bugs.
With everything up-to-date, your site will be streamlined to run faster while offering a more secure and enjoyable user experience.
Site Speed with Identify Web Design
Our experienced team of technicians and website developers know only too well the importance of site speed on a responsive online platform.
We design sites that are easy for the reader to use with smart, modern, and concise technologies and tools. With our guidance, site speed will never be an issue and on-page optimisation will continue to boost your ranking and drive traffic.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team and find out more about how we can optimise your website and take your business to the next level.