Website Speed Optimization Matters!

Your customers’ time is precious. It’s your job to protect it.

Website speed optimization still has a great impact on your online presence. In addition to protecting your customers’ precious time, sluggish websites also experience negative impacts on the following.

· SEO rankings: Google and other search engines work to get relevant information to their users quickly. If your site is slower than your competitors’ websites, more than likely you’ll rank under those competitors. Mobile website speed optimization is especially important in Google’s eyes.

· User experience: Slow page load times can lead to a poor user experience. No one wants to wait for content to load, which could lead them to abandon your site or not return in the future.

· Conversion rates: According to Cloudflare, Walmart found that it could increase its conversion rates by 2% for every second it reduced its page load time. The easier you make it for customers to purchase through your website, the better conversion rates you’ll see.

· Bounce rates: Website bounce rates are calculated by the number of visitors who visit one page on your website and then leave with no further action. When your website loads slowly, you’re much more likely to see a high bounce rate that will ultimately lower your organic standing.

What Impacts Site Speed?

Many factors contribute to your website’s load times from what’s on the page to your website’s hosting location. Here are the three most impactful.

· Page size: The amount of information on a page will have a large impact on your website speed optimization. But we’re not talking about how many words are on the page. This is more about JavaScript, CSS files, images, videos and files.

· Internet service provider: This is an aspect of load speeds that you have no control over. The user’s network connection will affect how long it takes for your website to load.

· Website host: The location of your website host’s servers will impact the speed with which your website loads. If your data has to travel thousands of miles from overseas to reach the end-user, it will naturally take longer for the site to load than it would if your host was local or had multiple server locations.

What is a Good Site Speed?

Ideally, you want your website to load as quickly as possible. But the major benchmark for websites is 1–2 seconds at most. Failing to meet this expectation will mean you’ll see a high rate of abandonment, especially on mobile devices.

To learn your website’s speed, you can visit Google PageSpeed Insights for a free assessment.

Why is My Website so Slow? What Can I Do to Fix It?

Page size is one of the best places to start in optimizing your website’s load times. That’s because it can be a fairly quick fix without the disruption of moving website hosts. The most impactful ways to improve your page size include:

· Optimizing videos and images

· Limiting font types and hosting those fonts appropriately

· Avoiding free WordPress templates, which often have heavy JavaScript or CSS files

· Using plugins and services to optimize your webpages automatically

Here’s a look at some best practices for these three ways of reducing page size.

Website Speed Optimization for Videos and Images

Without any outside services or plugins, you can start by optimizing the size of your website’s videos and images. For videos, YouTube hosting is an easy and fast way to minimize the size of your videos. Plus, when you upload a video to YouTube, you can take advantage of the free captioning service, which will make your website more accessible.

But if you feel uncomfortable with hosting your videos on the platform, you can still take advantage of the platform’s optimization. Once you’ve uploaded your video to YouTube, the platform will crunch it. Then, download the video file for a more optimized file size for local hosting.

For images, resize the image to match the file size they’ll be shown at. You don’t need photos that are 6,000 pixels on your website. While this might look great on a billboard or full-page ad, you don’t need that large of an image to make your website look great.

Limiting Fonts Types and Hosting Appropriately

Fonts can slow down your website at surprising rates. And the end-user will have to wait for their browser to download every font type you use. This is true even if your fonts are all part of the same family (i.e., light, thin, medium, bold, black).

Avoid hosting your fonts locally as this will take longer to load. Instead, use services like Google Fonts, Adobe Fonts (formerly known as Typekit) or Hoefler & Co. These services will host the fonts for you using a content distribution network for faster load times.

Avoiding Free or Off-the-Shelf WordPress Templates

WordPress is a powerful and easy way to get started with a website. But because it’s an open-source project, anyone can share a template or plugin. Be careful what templates and plugins you choose to add to your website.

These services can slow down your website if the code isn’t optimized. You’ll find many WordPress templates that have excess CSS files and JaveScript that bog down your page load speeds.

Instead, consider creating a branded website design with professional development if you’re considering a WordPress website. This will ensure a solid foundation for your website’s load speeds.

Using Plugins and Services to Optimize Your Webpages Automatically

Outside services or WordPress plugins can help optimize your webpage content automatically. A Content Distribution Network (CDN), such as Cloudflare can speed up load speeds immensely. A CDN is not a website host. Instead, it caches content at the network edge. This improves your website’s performance by helping customers load your webpages faster

Here’s a look at some additional plugins/services that can help cache your website or provide on-page optimization.

· Breeze

· Imagify

· Yoast

· NitroPack

· WP Rocket

· Autoptimize

Page Speed Optimization Next Steps

Investing time in improving your page speed is certainly worth it. You’ll see your invested time pay off in dividends in satisfied customers and improved SEO rankings.

Design Positive provides optimized and accessible website designs and services. Contact us for your website needs.

Design Positive is a strategic branding and accessibility agency.