Monday, 4 September 2017

Why is page load speed so important?

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Potential customers can really get frustrated and disillusioned with your site if they find that they have to wait ages for pages to load. This is a key reason why exit rates (the rates at which visitors to a page exit your site on that specific page) can start to climb.

Gomez.com recently did a study which suggested that over half of internet users expect a website to load within 2 seconds. Any longer than that, and they may start tapping their watch, getting frustrated, and preparing to click away from your site to see if one of your competitors offers an e-commerce experience with a better page load performance.

Branching out into your mobile site

It is always a good idea to have a mobile version of your site. Studies into smartphone usage have shown that around two-thirds of smartphone users use their phone to access the web.
However, one thing to be aware of is that the mobile versions of websites will tend to load more slowly than the ‘traditional’ web versions.

This means that you cannot just dump the same code that you used for the web version of your site onto the mobile version. Rather, you will need to rejig that code to streamline it so that your mobile site has that crucial two seconds or less page load performance.

Three key ways to get those pages loading more quickly

There are several ways to improve the speed at which your pages load. Below, are three of the key ones:

1. GZIP compression tools. It’s understandable if you don’t want to sacrifice those big, beautiful high definition images in order to make your page load performance a little quicker. But with GZIP compression, you do not need to. GZIP can reduce the size of the files on your website by up to 70%, without sacrificing the quality of images or other graphics.

2. Save your CSS and scripts as external files. One of the key things that can slow down your pages as they load is having your stylesheets load up every time that your visitors click through to a new page on your website. Saving your CSS and scripts as external files avoids this problem as it means that all of these files only need to load up once for your website to work perfectly – and of course, this means that individual pages will load much more quickly.

3. Use caches. Enable your cache settings so that if your pages are in danger of loading a little more slowly, your website can rely on cached versions instead. If you update your caches regularly, they will give the same look and feel as the up-to-date versions. You should consider using CDN to serve your pages & images. You can use MAXCDN or KeyCDN which is recommended by most pros. Here are more options for CDN.

There are plenty of other ways you can increase your page load performance beyond these three key methods. Try using methods other than HTML to resize your images, for instance, and try and use the very best performing network that you can.

Bonus: Reduce your image sizes with online compression tools.


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