Your company’s website is your calling card that introduces your local customers to your products, goods, and services. It is generally the first introduction that prospective clients have with your business brand. It also showcases your professionalism and commitment to quality.
The online marketplace is extremely competitive. Any slowdown in the performance website’s performance can have your prospective customers abandoning your page for a competitor’s site. You will need a fast-loading webpage that engages your customers and keeps their attention. It is why your company needs a website with a quick page load time.
Today, you will learn eight tips to keep your customers engaged by improving your page load time.
What is Page Load Time?
Webmasters define page speed as the time it takes to download and display the entire content of pages and their media content from an online host. This time is measured in seconds, starting from when end-users click on a specific link until the material displays in the browser that made the request.
Optimized website performance is essential because search engines, like Google, use page speed as a metric to rank sites in its algorithms. It has become even more vital since the technology engine giant launched its Mobile-first Index that ranks all search results based on a website’s mobile version.
Google engineers estimate that 0.4 seconds is the optimal page load time. This speed will not make your end-user impatient, and it will keep browsing on your site, instead of abandoning it. Microsoft computer scientist Harry Shum claims that a 0.25-second difference in page load time can give businesses an advantage over their competitors.
Forty-seven percent of consumers expect webpages to load in less than two seconds. In one study, computer researchers learned that 40 percent of visitors leave websites that do not load within three seconds for a faster one with the same products and services they want. Seventy percent of mobile users also depart from sites that take longer than 5 seconds to load.
Analysts estimate that every one-second delay in page load time can reduce customer satisfaction and reduce pageviews. A one-second delay in page response can also result in a 7 percent loss in conversion. It can also impact conversion rates for sales, costing almost $1.6 billion in revenue for large online merchants like eBay, Amazon, Walmart, and other sites.
How to Evaluate Your Website’s Overall Speed
Most webmasters should conduct a compression audit of their page load time before they attempt to optimize it. This step can help webmasters shrink files to the smallest possible size without sacrificing quality. Your overall page load time will speed up when you optimize your website’s files.
You can increase your page load speed by compressing your files. Use GIDNetwork to run a compression check. If you have any images, videos, or other content, your pages can become heavy and harder to download. Enter your URL and type “Check.” If your web page isn’t compressed, it will read, “No,” and provide a compression type of “none.”
It will also give an analysis regarding how you can reduce the page’s size by using tools like Gzip.
You can also use tools like GTmetrix to evaluate your page load time.
1. Take time to optimize all of your images for mobile devices
Images are an excellent way to make your website stand out and look professional to your visitors. Unfortunately, these graphics can significantly slow down the load time for your pages. Webmasters should take a few minutes to optimize the size and scale of their images, so they’ll load quickly and efficiently.
High-resolution images are bloated, heavy, and hard-to-load. Many web designers use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to reduce the size of images; however, it isn’t the best solution. Although it scales down the final product for the end-user, the webpage will still load the full-sized image. This process slows down your page load time. The end user’s browser will download the full 1200 x 1200 pixels image, even if the webmaster has created a style rule that the photo should only be 120 x 120 pixels.
Always resize all graphics before uploading them to the server, so you don’t forget to optimize them when you save the website’s final version. You can manually scale them down using an image editing program.
Unfortunately, scaling down images can sometimes compromise your graphic’s quality, making them lose their vibrancy, sharpness, and clarity. Compression might be a better solution, which allows you to keep your image’s precision without leaving it looking distorted, fuzzy, or blurry.
Webmasters can compress images using several tools, such as Image Resizer, Small SEO Tools, or Tiny PNG, that you can use for compressing images. These tools can reduce file sizes by almost 80 percent in some cases.
Make sure to keep your image sizes under 100kb.
Most webmasters use Cascading Style Sheets to add stylistic elements to their website’s HTML markup. Although they add beauty and functionality to a site, these stylesheets can become long and bulky. Because of their file size, they may add seconds to your site’s page load time.
Minification is the process of removing unnecessary characters and formatting from your source file. It doesn’t change the functionality of your stylesheet.
Other things you can do to optimize your CSS, including replacing images with CSS effects. You can remove unnecessary fonts your page has to download and substitute them Google’s online font reservoir. If possible, avoid the “@import” rule that allows the layering of additional CSS files within another. For a full list of CSS optimization tips, read Sitepoint’s “20 Tips for Optimizing CSS Performance.”
3. Cache your browser data so your pages load faster
Webmasters can enable browser caching on their sites. It allows visitors to browse different pages on a website without downloading the same images and media every time. Browser caching temporarily stores data on a user’s local computer, so their pages load faster.
How long is this information stored? It depends on the browser configurations and the server-side caching settings. Webmasters should read the following tutorials to learn how to set up browser caching on their specific servers.
On mobile devices, make sure that their browsers use only the local memory to cache resources to avoid any unnecessary server requests.
Most webmasters add their scripts at the beginning of their documents in the HEAD area. Avoid doing this. Instead, place them at the end of the webpage just before the BODY tag closes.
You can also minimize your page loading speed by using ASYNC or DEFER tags. Find out the difference between the two tags when using them to load external scripts.
5. Add Asynchronous Pages
When your page loads HTML, you should avoid reducing your page’s loading performance. Be conscientious about where you add your scripts because this will affect the speed. An external source can render your page’s HEAD area. A stylesheet and script may load media and other content onto your page.
Browsers render many webpages using synchronous loading. If one part of your page requires a specific function to load, it may be delayed if that function is busy loading other parts of your page. The initial task must finish first before it begins the other one. It results in the visitor waiting a long time for their webpage to load.
Asynchronous loading eliminates the chain of function commands and allows pages to load simultaneously. You can accomplish this by adding a few lines of code.
6. Use Social Buttons
7. Enable Compression
The smaller your files, the faster your pages will load. Compressing your files is the easiest way to reduce load times. Enabling Gzip compression is a standard practice that can reduce your page load time. Almost 90 percent of internet browsers support Gzip, including WordPress, WP Rocket, and W3 Total Cache plugins. It is a file format and software application that locates strings of similar code in your text files.
Gzip temporarily replaces them to make the files smaller. This software works well with CSS and HTML because these files have repeated code and whitespace. Many web servers can compress files in Gzip format before sending them for download, either by a third-party module or using built-in routines. Yahoo says Gzip may reduce download times by 70 percent.
You’ll want to enable Gzip if you don’t’ already have it enabled. In W3 Total Cache, check the box “Enable HTTP (gzip) compression.”
8. Use a Content Delivery Network
You can use other networks of servers to decrease the load times for your visitors. When your site uses one server, users generally make requests to the same server. High traffic times offer the potential for your business to grow. When this server has a high level of traffic, it will take a longer time to process all requests and slow down traffic. Users who are physically further away from your server will also experience longer load times, even when you don’t have heavy traffic.
A Content Delivery Network can help you reduce your load times. They cache your site on an international network of servers. When a user’s browser requests files from your site, it is re-routed to the closest server. For example, if your website is located in New York, and a visitor from Germany requests a page, it will be rerouted to the server closest to them.
Are you a local, small business that wants a beautiful, professional website that will grow your customer base? Dialed-In Local can help you. Our skilled marketing team will build an optimized website that fits your business goals. We will create a marketing plan that will allow you to focus on what you do best – running your business and delighting your customers. Contact us today to set up a free consultation.