A few extra seconds could have a huge impact on your ability to engage visitors and make sales. Therefore, having a fast website speed is essential — not just for ranking well with Google, but for keeping your bottom-line profits high.
A one-second delay in page load time results in:
- 11% fewer page views
- 16% decrease in customer satisfaction
- 7% loss in conversions
In fact, 47% of consumers expect websites to load in two seconds or less — and 40% will abandon a page that takes three or more seconds. This means that if your site takes more than three seconds to load, you lose almost half of your visitors before they even arrive on your site.
That alone is a huge blow to your potential conversions.
And for the visitors that decide to stick around, your slow load times can deter them from returning in the future. In one survey, 79% of customers said they would not return to a site with poor performance.
In that same survey, 52% of shoppers said that quick page loading is important to their site loyalty and 44% said they tell their friends about poor site experiences.
This survey also discovered that a one-second delay can decrease customer satisfaction by about 16%.
It should come as no surprise, then that improving site speed improves performance.
At the end of their website speed optimization, Walmart reported the following results:
For every one second of improvement they experienced up to a 2% increase in conversions.
For every 100 ms of improvement, they grew incremental revenue by up to 1%.
In another study, the relationship between load times and conversion rates showed a 25% decrease in conversion rates with just one extra second of load time.
It’s clear that putting in the effort to increase your site speed — even by one second — could have a major impact on conversions
Still not convinced?
Along the same lines, Amazon once ran A/B tests in which they delayed pages in increments of 100 milliseconds. They found that even small delays resulted in “substantial and costly” decreases in revenue.
These are two of the most well-known and reputable sites in existence — so if users aren’t willing to wait an extra second for them to load, they probably won’t wait for you.
In a nutshell, having a slow website will negatively impact the following:
- Traffic and page views
- Brand image and perception in the mind of your visitors
Below are some ways to increase your website speed:
First, go and check your current website load-time via Pingdom or Google PageSpeed Insights. This helps you to compare the speed changes once you’ve tweaked your site.
Secondly, make sure you backup your site as some of the methods require tweaking/editing files that can mess up your site.
1. Remove Unnecessary Plugins and Add-ons
Unnecessary plugins and add-ons can reduce your website speed by A LOT, and it’s especially important to pay attention to them if you use blogging CMSs like WordPress, Joomla or Drupal.
2. Significantly Limit, or Remove, Social Sharing Buttons on Your Website
If you believe that you need to have 100 social sharing buttons on your website, think again; it’s hard to pinpoint research that establishes a massive boost in website traffic due to having social sharing buttons (if anything, too many social sharing buttons will confuse your readers), but research shows that a slow website does reduce traffic.
3. Load Analytics and Ad Networks Code Asynchronously
Analytics tracking codes and ad networks’ codes can also significantly impede your website speed, especially if the remote server is slow or down; you can easily prevent this problem by configuring all of your tracking codes to use asynchronous delivery; this way, a server outage or delay with your Ad network or analytics service won’t slow down your website.
4. Enable Expires Headers
Expires Headers tell your visitor’s browser when to request certain files from your server vs. from their browser cache; if an Expires Headers is configured so that your visitor’s browser only request a file once in a month, and that file has been stored in their cache from a recent visit, then their browser won’t request that file again until a month is over. This is like a double-edged sword for boosting site speed because it limits the number of HTTP requests on your server and at the same time reduces load on your server since the same file won’t be requested repeatedly.
5. Enable Caching
Caching ensures a much faster experience for your website users by storing a version of your website on their browser and serving them that version until your website is updated or until you instruct it to refresh the version of your website they are served.
If you want something more advanced, go ahead and buy WP Rocket (it’s probably the best!).
6. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Most sites are hosted on servers in the US, and while these websites will generally be faster for people in the US or people visiting with a US VPN service, your website will be a slower for people from other parts of the world. A CDN solves this problem by distributing your website files across a network of servers in different locations of the world, so that someone trying to visit from India will get served from a server in Asia instead of from a server in Europe. This will lead to significant increase in your website speed.
7. Your Website Theme
Exactly how much of an impact does your website theme have on site speed? A lot! You are able to take your website load time at least by 70% only by switching themes. You can keep the same site, with the same host, and nothing else was changed but the website theme, and this may result in a massive boost in site loading time. Be careful and measure your website’s performance if you decide to change the theme.
8. Install Google PageSpeed on Your Server
The PageSpeed module is an open source server module from Google that automatically optimizes your website speed; it makes modifications to your server and files, following website performance best practices, without requiring you to do anything else.
9. Optimize and Reduce Image Size
Un-optimized images can be very bulky, and use a lot of server resources and take longer to load. If the average image size on your website is 1mb or 2mb+, you’ve got serious work to do. You can significantly reduce the size of your image while ensuring that its quality is not negatively impacted by making use of the following tools:
- WP Smush (for WordPress users)
- EWWW Image Optimizer (for WordPress users)
- Kraken (for everyone – Drupal and Joomla)
10. Regularly Optimize Your Database
You can make your website much faster by regularly cleaning up your database, a process that can be automated with the WP-Optimize plugin if you use WordPress, or manually (for other platforms).
Conclusion It is true that these are only a few of the different techniques that can be used to speed up your site. However, they’re some of the easiest to implement. This list is a great place to start if you notice your site not performing at its best. When every second counts, every step you can take for a faster website is worth it.