Have you ever closed a website because the speed was too slow? This is the story of many website users these days. We are now used to very fast loading web pages and if your website is slow you are losing tons of conversions.
A 2015 study showed that an average person’s attention span decreased to only 8.25 seconds, 4.25 seconds less than 15 years ago. In other words, you probably have a tenth of a second to make a good impression.
Given these numbers, it should give you a pretty good idea of the importance of time for captivating your target audience. Page load speed matters and we’ll explain how you can improve yours. Ready to learn how it factors in improving your conversion rates? Read on.
What is page load speed?
Page load speed is the time it takes for a website to display in the browser window. The count starts after a user clicks a link or makes a request. It is a metric that impacts user engagement and a business’s bottom line and is an essential factor in website optimization.
Website owners should aim to make their pages as fast as possible without compromising on the customer experience such as having low quality images.
What does page load speed affect?
Studies have found that page load speed affects user experience and can harm conversion rates. As page load time increases, conversion rates decrease. For example, when pages load in 1 second, the average conversion rate is almost 40%, but when it takes 2-3 seconds to load, the conversion rate drops to 34%. Additionally, studies have found that page load speed can impact bounce rates, meaning users exit your website without visiting any other pages.
#1 – Page Load Speed and User Experience
Users expect pages to load quickly and become frustrated if a page takes too long to display. Long page load times can lead to users abandoning a website or leaving without taking any action. Studies have found that page load time affects user satisfaction and directly impacts whether users interact with content and complete a task. One survey showed that almost 70% of consumers factor in page loading time in their buying decision.
#2 – Page Load Speed and SERPs
Page load speed can affect search engine rankings, as search engine algorithms consider page speed when indexing and ranking websites. Google has stated that it considers page speed when ranking websites in its search engine results pages. Studies have found that websites with faster loading times rank higher in SERP.
#3 – Page Load Speed and Conversion Rates
By satisfying user experience and website crawlers, page load speed can impact conversion rates. When your page is crawled, indexed, and ranked better, its visibility index is higher. More customers can see your site and know your business exists.
Faster loading times mean customers can browse more pages on your website and gain more valuable information about what you’re trying to sell. This way, they’re encouraged to take action, including making a buying decision. Ultimately, this leads to improved conversion rates.
Tips to Improve Page Load Speed
Now that you know the impact of the page load speed on your bottom line, it’s time to focus on improving them. Here are some examples.
#1 – Optimize Images
Using the correct format for each image is critical to optimization. JPEGs are best for photographs, while PNGs are best for graphics.
Another way to optimize images is to use an image resizing tool, allowing you to change the image’s dimensions while maintaining the same quality.
Use the right image size. Browsers will have to load a larger image if it is too big, so resize it to the appropriate size for its purpose. Doing these things can drastically improve page load speed, increasing conversions and user experience.
#2 – Minimize HTTP Requests
Minimizing HTTP requests is a great way to speed up page loading times. The browser can load the page more quickly by reducing the number of requests. You can do this in various ways:
- Using external style sheets
- Combining multiple images into a CSS sprite
- Using the background-image CSS property to display the necessary images
- Utilizing image maps
- Caching to improve internal page load times
#3 – Compress Files
Compressing an image reduces its file size, reducing the time it takes for the page to load. Smaller files require lower bandwidth to load, lessening the time it takes for a web browser to render content.
When compressing a file, ensure that you’re not losing the quality of the images. As much as possible, maintain image resolution to nothing below 72 dpi.
#4 – Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Using a content delivery network (CDN) improves page loading speed by spreading resources across different locations, such as text, images, and videos. This improves page loading time, even when the user is away from the hosting server. CDNs also optimize delivery based on the type of content requested, further reducing the load time. Across industries, CDNs are a standard strategy for achieving optimal page loading speeds for desktop and mobile. That’s why looking for dedicated servers with a CDN feature matters.
#5 – Enable Browser Caching
Browser caching is an integral part of website optimization. This process allows a web browser to store a copy of the website’s content locally. With this, the browser only needs to download the content once. This significantly improves page loading speed and reduces strain on the server.
#6 – Reduce Redirects
Redirects take time to process, so the fewer redirects a page has, the faster it will load. Start by simplifying the site’s navigational structure, avoiding redirects when linking to external resources, and using canonical URLs.
Additionally, set the redirect HTTP status code correctly. Do redirect testing regularly to ensure that they are working properly.
Page load speed is an essential factor in conversion rates. Improving page load speed can lead to improved user experience, higher search engine rankings, and increased conversions.
Several techniques to optimize page load speed and improve conversion rates include:
- Optimizing images
- Reducing the number of HTTP requests
- Compressing files
- Using a CDN
- Allowing browser caching
- Reducing redirects