The age of high-speed digital communication has created a mindset of instant gratification unlike any previous time in human history. And within the past few years, the need for speed when it comes to webpage load time has become more acute than ever.
For this reason, it is now crucial for any serious digital marketer to conduct or commission a speed audit on a regular basis. Here are some reasons why:
- Studies have shown that website visitors will bail on a slow-loading webpage in a matter of seconds. The more impatient users in the mix actually expect a page to load in 2 seconds or less.
- Slow-loading pages impair the ability of bots to crawl and index your site, which has detrimental effects on your search rankings.
- An increase in webpage load time of as little as 3 seconds can cause a sharp decline in conversion rates. These declines can be even more severe when the delay is encountered on a mobile device.
- Once a visitor has experienced what is thought to be an unacceptable load time on your site, that visitor is probably never coming back.
- While loss of a visitor is regrettable for any website, even a slight decline in conversion rate translates to serious dollars for an active e-commerce site.
Site speed remedies: both major and minor.
Considering the consequences of slow loading and delayed access times for your website visitors, a comprehensive speed audit is advisable for any company or organization that depends heavily on its website. Also, here are some rules-of-thumb to remember when uploading content to your site on a regular basis, which can help to quicken page loads as a matter of course:
- Optimize images for fast loading: Images that are oversized and/or saved at a resolution higher than necessary are a common cause of slow page loading. Make sure to utilize the Save For Web option in any image editing application such as Photoshop. Also upload an image that matches the specific display size you need, instead of relying on the content management system (CMS) to downsize the image on every page load.
- Use a plug-in to speed up cacheing: Plug-ins like WP Super Cache for WordPress can store caches of the latest version of your webpages for browsers to access. This enabled a browser to display a page instantly, rather than having to dynamically generate the page on the spot.
- Consider the use of a CDN: For a heavily trafficked site serving a wide geography of users, the use of a Content Delivery Network (CDN) may be in order. This can quicken load times by automatically distributing pages from a server that is closer to the geographic area of a specific website user.