We've all experienced frustration with a slow loading website, finally giving up and going to another page. For a business, long load times are a two-punch KO. Not only do customers leave your site before making a purchasing or completing another type of desired action, but slow speeds also reduce SEO rankings and make your site less likely to be discovered by consumers.
So how fast should your website load? As fast as you can get it.
Google itself aims to have sites load in less than a second and research Google conducted in 2018 revealed that 53% of mobile users leave a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. A Google study released in late 2016 discovered, "publishers whose mobile sites load in 5 seconds earn up to 2x more mobile ad revenue than those whose sites load in 19 seconds [the then average page load time over 3G]."
Fast website speeds can only help your business. So, what drags down your website's page, and how do you fix that?
Media File Size
It shouldn't be a surprise, but the larger the image and video files are on your website, the longer they will take to load. This is an easy fix, however, as several online tools can compress files into smaller sizes. As such, this is the easiest way to reduce the size of your website and thus increase your loading time.
If your server is in California, but many of your interested customers are in New York, Toronto, or even London, it'll take extra time for the messages between computers and servers to be delivered. This can be addressed by a Content Delivery Network, which places a copy of websites on servers physically closer to website visitors.
Caches are browser stored copies of your website, and they can drastically reduce load times for subsequent visits. Enabling this can be as easy as installing the WordPress plugin WP Super Cache or a little more involved by enabling the OPcache engine for PHP if that's the language your website is built off of. In either case, it's best if your website encourages browsers to cache it.
Getting rid of any of these speed suckers reduces your website's loading time, which in turn raises your conversion rate. If you want to take it one step further, you can consider an AMP site. AMP, or Accelerated Mobile Pages, are built specifically for use on mobile devices. As the majority of web searches are now mobile and mobile speed is weighed heavily in SEO algorithms, it's an investment to consider.
Whether your website has one or all four of these issues, fixing them to shave even seconds off a loading time helps you retain customers and get your website in front of more people.