When it comes to the load time for your website’s pages, your only option is speed. Webpages that load faster do better everywhere in the online world – they get more traffic, please more prospects, and ultimately make more sales.
After all, nothing is more off-putting than a page that loads slowly.
The alarming part is that you don’t even have 5 seconds!
That’s right. The bounce rates increase by 90% if the web page takes 5 seconds or more to load. If you want your hard-earned traffic to stay a while longer on your website, page speed optimization is a vital factor that must be dealt with carefully.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide an in-depth insight into what page speed is, why it is crucial for your website, and how page optimization helps make your website better.
What Is Page Speed?
Technically, your page’s speed is the loading time of the content of that particular page on the website or, in practical terms, time to first byte (TTFB) which measures the time it takes for the user to get the first byte of the web page data from the moment they open the site.
Page speed is an overlooked yet pivotal factor that helps capture visitor’s attention, retains them, and finally converts them from visitors to actual buyers.
Why Is Page Speed Important?
Pages that load in two seconds have an average bounce rate of 9%, whereas webpages that load within five seconds see bounce rates soar to 38%. As stated by John Mueller, the Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, 2 seconds is the limit that most visitors want to wait for your webpage to load completely.
Two seconds has been the standard loading time since 2015, and businesses need to follow through and keep the page load times under this benchmark.
Even renowned names like the BBC see an additional 10% drop in visitors for each extra second their websites take to load. While they can afford that, your business probably can’t.
There are various reasons as to why it is essential to lower your site’s page load time:
An agile website with minimal page loading time means – higher conversion rates and – lower bounce rates. On the other hand, slow-loading web pages deter visitors and ruin their experience.
For better user experience, Google launched a page speed related update to its process in July 2018 that highlights the importance of speed as a critical factor.
Search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, and others consider positive user experience a crucial factor in determining the worth of a website. Google, in particular, uses page speed as a reason for ranking. Therefore, the quicker your web page loads, the better your chances of ranking higher in search results.
Conversion Rate Optimization
Improving your site’s loading time and making it load faster can have a significant impact on your conversion rates. Each extra second your site takes to load can decrease the conversion rates by up to 7%. Web pages with a slower loading time can be a severe turn-off for visitors.
How Is Page Speed Measured?
Generally, the real-time performance of a website varies from user to user depending on their devices, internet service, and other factors that can affect their experience. Also, the terms “page speed” and “loading time” are interchangeable.
The following are some of the ways to measure page speed:
Time to First Byte (TTFB)
It’s the duration from when the user requests an HTTP to the first byte of the information displayed on the web page.
First Contentful Paint (FCP)
It’s a measure for perceived load time as it displays the first bit of the content that a user can view which can be in the form of any text or images.
First Meaningful Paint (FMP)
This is how long a page takes to display the primary content on the user’s screen, giving them the impression that it has loaded. However, sometimes it also catches non-meaningful paint such as navigation bars, headers, etc.
Time to Interactive (TTI)
This term refers to the time it takes for a web page to render and be ready for the user to engage and interact with it.
For instance, when a visitor clicks on the ‘Add to Cart” button, TTI gauges how long it takes the user to use an interactive element on the other page, as in this case, the “checkout” button.
How Long Should It Take a Website To Load?
Generally, a page should load within two seconds for good visitor experience. The faster it loads, the better the user interacts with your page. However, in an ideal world, the loading time of a page should be less than a second.
This load time depends on different factors:
Factors You Can’t Control
Naturally, lower bandwidth will cause lags in the internet speed, which will increase the loading time of a website and web pages.
If the user has not cleared the browser cache, the loading time may be slower than usual because of its inability to process it.
Client Processing Power
Insufficient memory can interrupt the load time of web pages, especially with conventional desktops as the (Document Object Model) DOM is unable to function correctly because of processor and memory issues. Document Object Model is a software interface for documents representing the data and content on the web page.
Factors You Can Control
The file sizes on your website determine how responsive and quickly your website loads. The script files, HTML codes, stylesheets, and images – all impact page speed. Smaller sized files can enhance the loading time of your website and make it faster.
Web Server Network
When a client calls up a website, the request is processed by the webserver. If there is minimal data, it can accommodate the request faster but, if there are too many requests simultaneously, it can be a roadblock to the loading time. As website traffic increases, the processor slows down. So, it is imperative to increase the capacity of the processor.
Techniques for Optimizing Page Speed
The smaller the size of files, the faster the process. This is also the case with programming code that displays on the visitor’s browser. The code can be shortened and simplified, like in a zip file, thus enhancing website loading time.
Optimize Web Server
When it comes to web pages, it is crucial to determine the root cause of the delays in page loading time. Quite often, the server is overloaded resulting in the host showing an error and being unable to process various requests.
Recognize the roadblocks, and then implement the hosting solutions available to measure the performance of your website. You can gauge it by the time to the first byte, and if too slow, you need to fix the webserver.
It is essential to decrease image file sizes, i.e., compress the images to increase the loading speed of your site and ensure a better experience for users.
Since images are an essential element on a website, you can’t afford to remove them. Therefore, to captivate the user’s attention and at the same time to make them stay on your website, it is crucial to compress the images to smaller sizes while maintaining the quality of images.
Typically, JPEG and PNG are the preferable formats. These can be compressed but still retain most of the image quality.
Consider Different Devices (Desktop and Mobile)
Your visitors access your website using many types of devices with different operating systems. It is vital to consider the users’ experience and ensure that the output media delivers diverse yet high-resolution images for smartphone and desktop users alike.
Your page speed matters a lot and can be a game-changer in helping you acquire and maintain the customer base you are looking for.
There is no doubt that anyone can make their websites loading time faster by following the above methods. These strategies can help you create a seamless experience for visitors and also please search engines.