We live in a fast-paced world, we demand everything now; fast food, fast news and next day delivery. And we expect to be able to order all these things anywhere; on mobile, on tablet or any other device with an internet connection come to think of it. Partly because we have busy lives with little downtime and partly because improvements in technology have spoilt us. Instant gratification is a buzzword of the 2010s.
Online speed is a hotly debated topic, from broadband speeds to the importance of page loading time for search engine optimisation, where, it seems, a couple of seconds can make all the difference.
Test your speed
First thing’s first, test your desktop and mobile page speed with Google’s PageSpeed tool. The closer to 100 your score is, the better. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get a perfect score though, even ‘google.co.uk’ only gets 96/100! The tool will also give you some recommendations to improve your site’s performance.
The speed of your site and UX
According to Tony Haile, an average visitor will spend less than 15 seconds actively on a page. That’s just 15 seconds to capture their attention, create interest and persuade them to click. And that’s if they even make it on to your website.
Page loading time is a huge contributing factor to page abandonment and crucial in keeping visitors’ attention on your site. Simply put, slow page loading will turn off potential customers. It seems users have even less patience when it comes to mobile browsing, with most participants in a Kissmetrics survey saying they only wait 6-10 seconds before abandoning a page.
47% of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less
40% will abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load
52% of online shoppers’ state that quick page loading is important to their site loyalty.
A one second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
If an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1 second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5 million in lost sales every year
Alongside a multitude of factors including page relevance, domain age and number of inbound links, page loading time is recognised as key in google search rankings. First announced in 2010, the speed at which a user can reach the page content from the google search results is a deciding factor in where google will rank the page.
Research by Moz found it was the back-end performance (including web servers, their network connections, CDN (content delivery network) and back-end application and database servers) that had the biggest impact on search engine ranking, with websites that could quickly deliver pages gaining a higher position than those that were slower.
How does web hosting impact site speed?
Your website’s hosting should be optimised for speed, just as the website itself is. SSD, CPU, memory, server location, network speed and load balancing all have their part to play in the smooth running of your site. Choosing a good web hosting company like Certa Hosting can’t guarantee you’ll reach page one of google, but it does mean you’ll avoid the penalties of hosting your site with the wrong one. Choose carefully and don’t base your decision on price alone.
10 things you can do to speed up your site
- Minimise HTTP requests by reducing the number of elements on your page
- Minify resources
- Optimise images
- Enable compression of large pages
- Reduce the number of plugins on your site
- Choose a reliable web host
- Ensure your site’s scripts are up-to-date
- Minimise redirects
- Fix broken URLs
- Use a CDN (content delivery network)
A fast site that gives a great UX will start generating its own SEO in the resulting backlinks from recommendations and online conversations about the brand.
If you want your users to have a great experience and tell others about it, pay attention to both the front and the back end of your website. Once they are harmoniously working together you will reap the rewards of a fast, user-friendly website that can keep up with your business ambitions.
Thank you Jeremy Rose, director at Certa Hosting, a premium web hosting services provider.