12 May How Does Your Website’s Load Speed Stack Up, and Why Does It Matter?

escarbleuIf a web page takes more than 3-5 seconds to load, I jump off and go to a competitor. Seriously. How about you? Do you hate when you are trying to view a site and it spins, says it’s loading, spins some more… how long do you wait before giving up?

Slow loading websites don’t just annoy their visitors; they repel search engines as well.

You may not think your page speed matters, but in today’s lightning fast paced information society, it matters more than you know.

According to an article in Search Engine Land, the average load speed for a retail site is three seconds or less. According to KissMetrics, a four- to five-second differential can cost retailers billions. In fact, according to their findings, a one-second delay in page response can lead to a seven percent reduction in sales.

It’s not just sales that suffer. SEO rankings are also highly tied to page speed. Yes, it’s true – Google incorporates site speed into its ranking algorithm. Web pages that load faster receive a ranking score bonus that bump them up in organic search results. Instead of using their web crawler to determine speed, however, they are using Chrome, which includes tools that enable Google engineers to measure page load speed. The tools send the information to Google every time you visit a page within the Chrome browser, via your PC or smart device.

What can you do to boost your website’s loading speed?

Index. If you have a blog, news site, or any type of dynamic functionality like internal search, then you are using a database, and that can impact your page speed.

According to Search Engine Land, adding an index is one of the best ways to optimize your database for page speed improvements. Doing so will help your database find information faster. Instead of having to scan millions of records, your database can rely on an index to narrow down the data to a few hundred. This helps the data get returned to the page much faster.

Cool it on video. What? But video is a great way to build consumer engagement and create a better user experience! Unfortunately, most video embeds (including YouTube) use iFrames to display the video, and that slows down your page’s load time. It technically causes you to load a separate page within the page you’re actually loading.

Keep your cache. When you visit a web page for the first time, your browser requests all the images, text and more from the website’s server. They are stored in your browser’s cache so that when you visit other pages on the site, you only need to download the parts of it that are unique.

WordPress users have many great caching plug-ins available to help speed-up a site, such as Quick Cache.

Today, speed rules. Your audience is impatient. Use Google’s new PageSpeed Insights to analyze your website’s load speed and read their tips for improvement.

Within Google Webmaster Tools you now have access to “PageSpeed Insights.” This tool analyzes a given URL’s page load speed, and gives you tips on how to make improvements. Your website visitors will thank you  🙂

Sibet B Freides