When you are developing a new WordPress website, or undergoing any web development project, reducing page loading times should be one of your primary objectives. Page load times have a huge impact on conversions, user experience, and more.
In this article, we’ll be going over the impact that page load times have on the completion of your website goals – and discussing why it’s so important to use best practices to reduce page load times in your web design project. Let’s get started!
How Does Page Loading Time Affect The Performance Of My Website?
Wondering why page loading time should be at the forefront of your development goals? Let’s go over just a few of the reasons that you need to focus on reducing the time it takes to load your pages.
- Conversion and bounce rates – According to Akamai, users expect a webpage to load in under 2 seconds – and user abandonment rates begin to skyrocket after about 3 seconds.
What this means is that there is a very small “window” during which users expect your website to load. If you can manage to serve all of your website’s assets within 2 seconds, your customers are more likely to stay on your website and convert into leads or sales.
In contrast, if it takes more than 3 seconds to load your website, most users will just hit the “back” button and choose another website – and chances are, they’ll never come back to your website again. About 79% of users who abandon a website due to slow loading times will never come back.
So, if your website goals include higher conversion rates and lower bounce rates, focusing on faster page loading times is a great way to meet these goals, and bring in more customers.
- SEO and page rankings – Did you know that a slow (or fast) web page can actually affect your Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? It’s true! Starting in June, 2018, Google has begun incorporating page loading speed into mobile SEO rankings.
Currently, the numbers behind how speed affects SEO are unknown, as this change is relatively recent, and has only begun rolling out in the last few months. But by incorporating features like AMP (Accelerated Mobile Processing) in your WordPress site, you can ensure that you’re able to prepare for the effect of page load time on SEO.
- Customer satisfaction – Even if a customer is already shopping at your website or making use of your services, their opinion of your company – and their satisfaction – can be damaged by consistently slow page loading times.
A study found that an additional one-second delay, beyond the expected 3 seconds, reduced customer satisfaction by 16% – the longer a customer has to wait for your content to be delivered, the less satisfied they’ll be, even if they are loyal to your services. This may result in your customers abandoning you entirely, if the issue is not solved.
For these three reasons – and many more – page loading times should be at the forefront of your website goals.
How You Can Speed Up Your Website – And Satisfy Your Customers
Okay. By now, we’ve made it clear that page load time is incredibly important for your website. But how can you make sure that your website loads quickly, and reduce bounce rates and increase conversions? Here are just a few tips.
- Understand Your Current Performance – To understand how you can optimize your website, you must first assess the performance of each of your web pages. Google’s free PageSpeed Insights tool is a great way to do this. Assess all of your web pages to see which ones load quickly – and which ones are slow, and may require improvements.
- Take Another Look At Your Web Host – Upgrading your web hosting plan is a great way to improve the performance of your website.
Make sure that you are not using a shared hosting plan, which may slow down as your website grows and requires more bandwidth. Upgrade to a plan which gives you sole access to a web server, such as VPS (virtual private server) or a dedicated hardware-based server.
- Make Use Of Caching – Caching allows you to save some static assets to a web visitor’s computer, which allows your pages to load much faster after they have visited your website for the first time.
- Take Another Look At Your Plugins – WordPress plugins are great – they allow you to extend the functionality of your website without investing in custom application development.
But each and every plugin will add thousands of lines of code to your website. It may be a good idea to look through your plugins, and eliminate or disable any plugins that are not essential for the functionality of your website.
- Optimize Your Images – Images take up a lot of bandwidth. This means that optimizing them by compressing them and reducing the file size is a good idea. You can use WordPress plugins to do this automatically, which dramatically speeds up your page load times, compared to using non-optimized images.
Understand The Importance Of Page Load Speed – And How To Give It A Boost!
If you want your website to bring in more customers, rank more highly for SEO purposes, and provide a smooth and intuitive user experience, page load time should be at the top of your list when it comes to website goal completion.
By speeding up your website, you’ll be able to minimize bounce rates, satisfy your customers, and even outrank the competition – and that’s a win-win-win!