As a small business owner, the speed at which your website loads may not be at the top of your list of concerns. However, site speed can actually be the difference between you gaining or losing a customer.
Think about it. We’ve all had the experience of clicking a link to a site, only to find it taking a few seconds too long to load, leading us to visit another site instead. In fact, 47% of consumers expect a site to load in two seconds or less for desktop. If a site takes longer than three seconds to load 53% of mobile users choose to abandon.
And on top of that, page load speed is one of the critical factors that determine where your site ranks on SERPs. Google’s ranking algorithm uses site speed as a signal, making it even more important that your site loads quickly.
At GoDaddy, we think about all the ways to make sure your online presence is successful, big and small, and kept site speed top of mind when building websites + marketing. According to IsYourHostFastYet.com, a personal site created by a Google engineer, our newly improved platform offers the fastest page load speed on both mobile and desktop devices.
But even without websites + marketing, there are things you can do to make your site load faster. Start by using an open-source tool like Google Lighthouse to measure your current site speed, then assess the different factors that could be slowing down your load time.
Next, distinguish which of these factors you’d like to change. I’ve included a few tips to help improve your site’s speed below:
1. Less is more
Overloading your site with various media assets like photos, videos, and oversized files can be a determining factor in how fast your site operates. Determine what is unnecessary or no longer relevant on each page and remove them to help your server break through the clutter and make your site faster.
2. Optimize your images
Images can make up as much as 21% of the overall weight of your webpage, effectively causing it to become sluggish. Reduce the file size of your images to improve site speed by utilizing less bandwidth and storage on your network’s server. Check out this article to understand and implement image optimization for your site.
3. Enable caching
By enabling browser and CDN caching, users visiting your site will have certain information such as images, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), and media files temporarily saved, allowing your web page to load faster the next time they visit your site. Cached items should be stored for as long as it makes sense. For instance, third party items such as ads or widgets typically only last a day while static items such as images are stored for at least a week.
4. Location matters
Living in a digital world allows us to easily access content globally in a matter of seconds, so the physical location of your hosting server doesn’t seem like a big deal. However, server location actually has a direct impact on site performance for the end-user. Regardless of how far internet advances have come, data still has to physically travel to a new destination. Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) will shorten the delivery time for your customer. CDN’s hold copies of your website assets on a local server near your customer, rather than sending data from your home server to theirs, making their page load faster.
Overall, having a fast loading site helps create a positive user experience for your customers. While it may not be the sole reason they choose to frequent your site, it will enhance their overall experience, causing your site to get more traffic and make more sales. There are various factors that contribute to having a high performing site. Consider which ones make the most sense for your business as a few small tweaks can greatly impact your online success.
Aaron Silvas is Software Architect at GoDaddy.