July 17, 2015
It’s no secret that when it comes to waiting for websites to load, we are far from patient.
The days of images loading in horizontal strips are thankfully over, but…the speed of your website loading time has never been more important.
Google and Bing both consider your load time in their ranking factors and your bounce rate and conversion rate is directly affected by your load time.
And, most importantly, your bottom line, the amount you take home every year is affected by it too.
In this guide to website load time optimization you’ll learn:
- How website performance affects shopping behavior;
- How to practically optimize your website loading times.
How Website Performance Affects Shopping Behavior
When it comes to page load times, every second counts.
The longer your page takes to load, the more people will abandon it and the more will bounce and leave, meaning you don’t get their e-mail addresses or their money. That’s a bad ROI when it comes to marketing spend.
According to akamai.com and gomez.com, a one-second delay in page response can result in a seven percent reduction in conversions. So for an eCommerce site that makes $1,000 a day, the same delay could end up costing them $25,000 in lost sales every year.
There is an expectation among shoppers that websites should load quickly and perform well too.
Forty-seven percent of consumers expect a Web page to load in two seconds or less and 40 percent abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load.
How to Practically Optimize Your Website Loading Times
To get your website page load speed right, you need to follow a number of best practices for different elements of your website.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- CSS compression
- HTML compression
- Image compression
- Server response time
- Browser caching
- Content delivery network
CSS is the code that styles your website, the colours, fonts and layout.
Compressing it improves your page load time, and not only compressing it but combining all your CSS into one file to reduce the number of requests to the server. is a good idea
Compressing your HTML is a newer technique and a lot of websites do not follow this process.
However, having spaces in any of your code documents between characters will cause longer load times. They have no purpose and you can keep well-structured versions for production so compress your live HTML files.
Optimizing your images is just as key as compressing your code base and often the biggest cause of slow loading website pages. You should also combine all your images into sprites
Follow these Google guidelines for image compression.
Server Response Time
Server response time measures how long it takes to load your HTML to begin to render or create the page from your server.
This basically comes down to the quality of your hosting and the amount of computer processing power and memory your hosting offer.
Browser caching is when your website saves temporary data to your visitors’ computesx to speed up their page load times next time they visit you.
A CDN is a content delivery network. It basically means you host your media files on a separate server from your code to speed up your page load time.
Server Response Time + Browser Caching + CDN
In terms of performance versus cost, after comparing hundreds of combinations, this has been the best performing for me.
Page Load Time Affects Your Bottom Line
You need to be optimizing the conversion rate of your website at all times.
As you learned here today, even technical aspects such as page load time are part of a complete conversion optimization process.
For those of you who are serious about improving the performance of your websites and conversion rates I have created a free bonus area.
What you get:
- PDF – Website performance and load time checklist to give to your developer
- 25 Conversion rate best practices to test in your next redesign
Giles Thomas is the founder of AcquireConvert, the place where eCommerce entrepreneurs and marketers go to learn how to get more visitors to buy. He is a head marketing mentor at the Google Launchpad Accelerator and a member of the prestigious Google Experts Program.