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How to Improve your Website Load Time

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Do you know how much your website load time affects your sales? Just a one-second delay yields 11% fewer page views and a 7% loss in conversions. In fact, 40% of users will leave a page that takes three or more seconds to load. Even if people do stick around, slow speeds make them less likely to return and 44% will tell their friends not to give you traffic, too.

Users aren’t the only reason you should speed up your site, though. Google uses this as a factor in its ranking algorithm, and even more so with mobile-first indexing.

But did you know your page speed could also affect your Google Ads campaigns? If your site is slow, you run the risk of increasing your cost per click due to a poor quality score, which will have a major impact on your sales and revenue.

What many companies don’t realise is that there are many ways you can make your site faster. Some are complicated and require technical know-how, but others are straightforward and can still make a huge difference.

What’s the best website load time?

Google advises that websites should take no more than three seconds to load a page. However, the majority of sites are nowhere near that. The average time to fully load a mobile landing page is actually around 22 seconds.

Before you begin optimising your site, run a page speed test. Remember that the longer your landing pages take to load, the more potential customers you’re going to lose. The easiest way to find out our website’s speed is to enter the URL into Google’s PageSpeed Insights. In less than a minute, you’ll have a score out of 100 along with other helpful statistics like time to interactive and first contentful paint. PageSpeed Insights will also give you some pointers on what you can do to improve.

How do I make my website load faster?

There are many reasons why your website could be running slower than it should. These range from the images you choose to your use of redirects. Here are some tips to help you get your speed up and your bounce rate down.

Separate JavaScript and CSS

When your page loads, most of the time it takes is because of CSS and JavaScript. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Separating your CSS and JavaScript and loading them asynchronously will make a huge difference. While you will be making more requests, HTTP2 is designed to do that and so isn’t slowed down.

Optimise images

Stop using larger images and then scaling them down; instead, use an editor like Photoshop to resize them to the dimensions you need before uploading. It’s also important to remember that different file formats change file sizes:

  • GIFs should be used for images with few colours like logos
  • JPEGs are for any images with lots of colour and detail like photographs
  • PNGs are perfect for high-quality, transparent images

Get rid of 301s

When you’re bouncing users from one page to another, it usually takes up extra processing time. Instead, remove your 301 redirects and send users straight to the page they’ve requested.

Make the most of lazy loading

There are two ways your content can load: synchronously or asynchronously. The latter, also known as lazy loading, will make it feel like your page speed is much quicker. Instead of everything loading at the same time, requests are only made when the user scrolls down to the assets.

Use content delivery networks

Content delivery networks like Amazon Cloudfront will greatly reduce your website load time on mobile devices. They allow your website to access a fast server near the user’s geographical location.

Trim your JavaScript

Eliminate any unnecessary code on your website. If you don’t know much about coding then you’ll probably need a web developer to do this for you to make sure no important data is deleted by accident, but it’s well worth the results.

Switch to AMP

Accelerated mobile pages, or AMPs, will make your pages load much faster. They are alterations of your site’s source code and they point your HTML page to a stripped-down version. They have been known to cut 15-85% of a website’s load time, so it’s definitely an option worth considering.

In summary

Ignoring your page speed is a fatal mistake when it comes to SEO management, and it will cost you. A few simple tweaks and some technical know-how will decrease your bounce rate, increase your conversions and stop you from slipping down the SERPs and onto the second page.

Do you have any tips for improving your website load time? Leave them in the comments or tweet us @TeamTillison. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our specialists.

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