Is Your Website Speed Important?

It is important to consider your website speed when designing your site.
Image courtesy of tiramisustudio at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you search on Google why you need to have a fast 'website speed' you’ll find dozens of articles giving you advice. The main reason why businesses are often told they need to optimise their website speed is because customers don’t like to wait around.

Research by a number of different organisations has found evidence to support this. For instance, studies have concluded 47% of customers expect a website to load within 2 seconds and 40% would abandon a website that took longer than 3-4 seconds to load. The same studies have found a 1 second delay in the load time can decrease conversions by 7%.

This can cost your business significantly: just one second for a business turning over £100,000 a month is worth £90,000 of lost revenue annually.

How Can You Measure Your Website Speed?

Website speed can be measured in various different ways. The first option is to go to Google Insights and ask the search engine giant to do a quick test. This is the fastest method and the results are displayed in an easy to understand format. Google also offers you suggestions on how you can improve your score.

However, Google Insights does not tell you how long it took to load your site.

Instead, you could go to GTMetrix where you can get all the same information as you can from Google Insights and more. The diagnostic tool not only provides you with the Google Insights score, but also one from Yahoo’s own algorithm and your website speed.

GTMetrix also saves your test history so you can see how your site has performed over time and you don’t need to sign up. The problem with the site is that I often find that it goes offline and relying on one test is not good practice.

This is why you should also use Pingdom. The site doesn’t share as much data but it does give you highly valuable information. Such as how fast your website is in comparison to other sites and a brief history and analysis section.

Finding the Solutions To Increase Your Website speed

If you are running a static website you need to speak to your developer about how you can increase your website speed. The most common areas your developer could improve upon include:

  • Optimising images so they take up less room but retain quality.
  • Remove any query strings from static resources.
  • Leveraging Browser Caching.
  • Minifying your CSS, JavaScript and HTML.

To get an exact list, use GTMetrix and print off the free PDF report they offer and give to your website developer. They should be able to identify solutions and improve your website’s speed using that.

If you are using WordPress you can solve most of the problems yourself. The first thing you need to do is delete all the inactive plugins you have. Then download and install WP Super Cache, WP Smush.it and Remove Query Strings plugins. These highly successful plugins will improve your website speed quickly although the results can take a few hours if not a day to show up on tests.

Why Should You Increase Website Speed?

Website speed is very important. Google uses your scores in its page rank algorithm. While it may be one factor of 200 or more, every advantage you have in the Google rankings is important. A faster website speed will also improve your visitor’s experience increasing your conversion.

It doesn’t take long to make these changes but they could yield significant results. So why not test your site and see what improvements you can make to your website’s speed?

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