How do I speed up my website? – Website Optimisation 101

Page loading time is undoubtedly one of the most important factors for a website today, not just from a user point of view, but also from Google’s.

 

Quick loading websites perform much better on every front: better SEO indexation, superior customer experience, higher search ranking and increased user engagement. Most importantly, fast-loading websites deliver increased revenue and higher conversions.

 

On the same note, responsive design is an essential part of a website optimisation project. With the staggering growth of smartphones and tablets, over half of all traffic websites receive comes from mobile.

 

If your website is not mobile friendly, your users will have a hard time finding the information they need. If it also loads in more than 5 seconds, most of them might even bounce before reaching the content.

 

In this post, we would like to highlight the importance of having a quick website that is responsive and works flawlessly on all devices.

 

Why Responsive?

 

Mobile usage is on the rise. In the US alone, over 60% of adults own a smartphone. More than 90% of them access the internet daily on their mobile devices. The same goes true in Europe and South East Asia. Every single month, mobile usage continues to grow at an astounding pace.   

 

Shopping on mobile devices is also skyrocketing. According to the latest statistics, 80% of mobile users use their smartphones to shop online, while 70% of shoppers use their mobile phones while in shopping centres and stores, especially during holidays. You don’t want to miss all that traffic, especially if you have an online shop.

 

A responsive website allows your site layout to change depending on the size of the device used. In simpler terms, the size of the screen, the text, the images and any other content adjusts for tablets and mobile devices. This makes the whole navigating experience much easier and allows for future scalability.

 

Does a Responsive Site Helps me with SEO?

 

Yes, it does. Google has long recommended to use responsive web design in order to support the huge number of traffic that comes from mobile devices. In 2017, mobile has become more important than ever, especially as Google has gone all in mobile. Since November 2016, Google has started to use the mobile version of websites instead of the desktop one for indexation.

 

You can learn more about it here: http://searchengineland.com/faq-google-mobile-first-index-262751.

 

On the same note, Google has started to penalize sites that are not mobile friendly;

(http://www.inboundmarketingagents.com/inbound-marketing-agents-blog/bid/361535/Google-to-Start-Penalizing-Non-Mobile-Sites).

In other words, if your website is not yet responsive, you won’t be able to outperform your competitors.

 

The Importance of Page Loading Time

 

Every second counts, especially if you have an eStore or a site that you want to monetize. According to the latest stats, loading time is one of the biggest contributors to page abandonment. Page abandonment increases proportionally with loading time.

 

For example, at a 2 second loading time, around 12% of users will abandon the website. At 4 seconds, the number of users who leave a site doubles. For 10 seconds or more, almost 40% of site visitors choose to bounce.

 

As for mobile users, the importance of page loading time is even greater. More than 50% of mobile users expect a page to load faster than 5 seconds. For just one second of delay in load time, online sellers can expect a reduction of 7% in conversions ad sales.

 

What is the Ideal Page Loading Time?

 

While it would be perfect for your site to load faster than 2 seconds on mobile, it’s reasonable if you manage to make it load in less than 4 seconds. Or you can leverage the power of Google AMP to make it load in just 1 second or less.

 

Going a Step Further – Google AMP

 

AMP, or Accelerated Mobile Pages, is a brand new concept from Google that is giving even more importance to responsive websites that load quickly – (link: https://www.ampproject.org/).

 

With AMP, your mobile site loads almost instantly, and the benefits are multiple: you gain a huge competitive advantage in SERPs (AMP pages appear for 7-8 results out of 10 on the first Google page for a certain keyword), your customers spend more time on the page, the users’ experience is improved and your revenue skyrockets.

 

Google AMP incorporates both responsive design and low page loading time. Take advantage of this Google project to skyrocket your SEO efforts and take your site visitors’ experience to the next level.

 

Can I have Some Practical Tips on How to Decrease Page Loading Time?

 

For starters, we recommend you to use Gtmetrix.com and Google’s Page Speed Tools to analyse your site performance and determine what are some of the issues that are preventing your site from loading fast enough.

 

Some of the most common causes are: defer parsing of java script, https:// instead of htts://, javascript errors, no alt tags, leverage browser caching, minify HTML, minify CSS and optimize images.

 

A good site architecture and the correct usage of javascript and HTML 5 will make your website run smoother than ever before. At the same time, you need to pay close attention to lines of code that might prevent certain elements on the page to load quickly enough.

 

Gtmetrix comes in handy at this point. You can use its Waterfall feature to see exactly how each element on the page loads.

 

Some of the most important things you need to do to minimize the loading time of your site include optimizing your images, using gzip compression, caching your page, removing 301 redirects and considering using a CND network to carry the load.

 

If you are using WordPress, try installing Google Pagespeed Insights or any other high-rated plugin that gives you insights on how to increase the performance of your website and make it load faster. Using advanced data visualization, filtering, tagging and snapshot technology, these plugins help you boost your site performance and clean up the code.

 

For WordPress, you can also use Smush Image Compression or EWWW Image Optimizer plugins to optimise your images and lower the load time of your site.

 

Conclusion

 

Speed and usability matter. A properly optimised website that loads extremely fast on mobile and is 100% responsive, with no errors and misplaced items, can go a long way in increasing user engagement and user satisfaction on your site.

Leverage the tips presented in this post in order to gain a competitive advantage in your niche and boost your rankings in search engines.

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