Importance of website’s speed and its role in SEO
When running an online marketing campaign, the first thing people focus on is improving the appearance of the website. Another important aspect that should be focused on is the speed of the website. But how big of a role a website’s speed really plays?
Let me explain this in a simple way: it does not matter how high your website ranks or how attractive is your website’s design, if your website takes too much time to load, it will deter your visitors and bring down its usability.
The website’s speed determines the load time of its content. So, if you want to utilize the full potential of your website, you need to work on your website’s speed. There are many benefits to increasing website’s speed, such as increase of website’s ranking which translates to better results.
Why is the website’s load speed important?
To boost Google ranking
Page speed is a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm. In the other words, when your site speed is low, search engines will load less pages according to their capability. And the less pages loaded by the search engines also affects how your website is indexed.
To reduce Bounce rate
Bounce rate refers to the percentage of those visitors who enter the site and then leave rather than visiting other pages of the same website.
If your website content loads slow, it will deter visitors from sticking around to visit other pages on the website. They might go back to their search results and visit a competitor’s website. Exploring your website becomes a waste of their time and they would rather visit other websites, rather than waiting on your content to be loaded properly. Google follows up on your website’s traffic regularly, and if your page takes 5 seconds to load for majority of visitors, your website will not be ranked first anymore.
There are many websites listed on the first page of Google search results, but if visitors have to wait 5 seconds to load a page on these websites, they will decrease the quality Google strives to provide its users with. In plain terms, such websites are not good.
Increasing conversion rate
If each visitor has to wait more than usual to load your website, you haven’t only lost a visitor but also a potential customer. Faster websites make bring in better revenue, consequently your visitors will be more eager and motivated to visit other pages of your website. According to a study conducted by Strange, every second of delay can cost as much as 7% of sales. Your website’s speed will also affect your online marketing efforts. High load times lead to customers not completing their purchase process.
Customer satisfaction increases sales. If you would like people to visit your website, purchase your products, or inquire about your services, you should speed up your website. If your website takes too much time to load, your visitors won’t think twice about leaving and exploring other options with your competitors.
Ways to speed up the website
There are some effective ways to speed up your website as which we will briefly cover:
- Adjusting the size of an image before uploading
If you use a content management system such as WordPress or Joomla, you’ve probably realized that it is possible to upload full size images and then adjust their size on the website’s backend.
However, uploading full size images can affect the hosting services speed. In order to prevent of this, you can adjust the image size by a photo editing program before upload them.
- Removing unnecessary plugins
Nowadays, numerous plugins and scripts are available and it tempts the web designers to use them more than its needed. But keep in mind, each plugin needs resources to run and usage of these resources reduce your website’s speed.
Utilize more popular plugins
Before adding a new plugin, figure out whether it is optimized for speed and quality. After installing the plugin, if your website’s speed decreases, you can explore more popular options. Usually, more popular plugins are tested by many users for speed and security, and have a strong support team behind them.
- Updating your website
Updating your website depends on content management system (CMS) or the e-commerce platform being utilized. It is necessary to check whether the CMS is up-to-date or not.
If there are any available updates for your CMS, back up your website, and update it immediately. CMS developers are always working to improve their code, especially in terms of speed. Upgrading to the latest version can at times improve your website’s speed greatly.
- Make use of Content Delivery Networks (CDN)
CDN or Content Delivery Networks are extensive networks of available servers around the world. If you are not using a CDN, your visitors will have to connect to your hosting servers. This can translate to slower load speeds for your visitors, especially if the person visiting is located far from your hosting server’s central location. In addition, if you are using a single server, it could be overloaded with visitors and crash.
Utilizing CDNs, solves these issues by allowing visitors to access the cached version of your website from a closer hosting server. In addition, if your servers are overloaded, visitors can be connected to another server.
- Activate browser caching
Browser caching is a technology that allows browsers to save a copy of website’s pages in case visitors come back to the website. When caching is enabled content will be taken of cached version and the user will not be loading the entire content every time. This will save resources normally used to load your website, and in result, speed everything up for the visitor providing them with a better experience.