“We need to stop worrying about proving the value of design and just focus on outcomes that provide value.”
– Denis Weil, former corporate vice-president of innovation at McDonald’s
Speed is a necessity in today’s online world.
Outside of SEO optimization, speed is a critical component to driving sales. A research report from the Aberdeen Group uncovered that a mere one-second delay in load times resulted in 11 percent less page views, a 16 percent decrease in customer satisfaction and seven percent fewer conversions.
Moreover, retail giant Amazon found that every 100 milliseconds it takes its site to load resulted in a one percent decrease in revenue.
While both stats are fairly old, it’s safe to say that Internet users have not grown more tolerant of slow loading sites. No matter how you cut it, if your site isn’t fast, consumers will find one that is.
Because of the demands that customers put on today’s online businesses, brands must do everything in their power to drop load times and increase conversions.
If you’re afraid that your website load times are costing you cash, check out these eight ways to create a faster website that is more likely to convert.
1. Optimize Your Images
More than half of all Google searches are now conducted on mobile devices. Fifty-three percent of those users will abandon a site that doesn’t load within three seconds.
While images make your site look appealing, they can be hell on load times because these account for the largest portion of a page’s downloadable byte space.
This makes image optimization a downright necessity. The best way to optimize your images is to ensure proper sizing and format is applied. Your goal is to retain the quality of the image while minimizing its size as much as possible.
Webmasters can achieve this by leveraging WordPress plugins like Smush Image Compression and Optimization.
2. Minimize HTTP Requests
Yahoo once reported that nearly 80 percent of a site’s load time is spent downloading the page’s components; images, scripts, CCS files, stylesheets, and other features. Before each can be acquired, however, an HTTP request must be made.
Basically, this means that the more any given webpage has going on, the longer it will take to load.
3. Commission Compression
Anytime a site employs lots of high-quality content, its file sizes are going to be rather large and will slow download times.
For this reason, compressing webpages through zip is a necessary means for reducing load times.
Optimizing your site via compression is an easy way to save on bandwidth and speed up your website.
4. Please Mind Your Plugins
Plugins are an extremely popular method for adding additional functionality to webpages. While there is no limit on the number of plugins you can leverage, using too many can harm your site’s speed.
Many bloggers leverage Facebook or Twitter plugins to highlight their social feed directly from their website. While this is great for increasing social followings, it’s rather unnecessary as the same thing can be accomplished via coding.
In fact, Facebook’s developer page provides this code for site owners to leverage; a hassle-free way to speed up your site.
5. Keep Coding Agile
6. Leverage Caching
Caching is a fantastic way to speed up your site. This method temporarily stores webpages to reduce bandwidth and boost your site’s performance.
Using this technique, when a returning consumer arrives on your site, they will be served a cached version of the webpage; unless it has been altered or updated since the last cache.
By allowing browser caching, repeat visitors will have a much faster (and more satisfying) experience.
7. Ditch Ads that Don’t Convert
Another element that often slows down websites is too much affiliate code or too many display ads.
Since the click-through rate for banner ads hangs at around 0.01 percent, these likely aren’t serving your site or its visitors. Go through your site’s promotional portals and eliminate any that are failing to garner attention or drive goals.
8. Check Out a CDN
The goal of your website is likely to drive revenue. To do that, you need a sizable amount of traffic. The slower your site is, the higher the bounce rate, the lower it sinks in the SERPs, and the less traffic you have.
Take your site’s load times seriously because it can be a major deterrent for today’s users. While certain features may seem like an appealing addition, if they slow your site, no one will ever see them.
Leverage the eight tactics outlined above and you are likely to have a lightning fast website capable of driving conversions.
Which of these tips surprised you the most? What other ways do you employ for speedier load times?