By Deepak Vijay
When it comes to the load time of a website, even fraction of a second matters. Former Google VP Merissa Mayer shared some interesting insights at how delay of just half a second can result in 20% drop in traffic. After this revelation, several other studies have confirmed that 25% of users would not even wait for 2 seconds before exiting the website. Well maybe, two seconds are little too much. According to a revelation by Amazon, a website would lose $1.6 billion annually if it slows down by only 1 second.
There has always been strong evidence that supports the significance of load time for a website. But even if you don’t want to believe everything that the study states, ask yourself. How long do you wait for a website to load before you consider going to search results again and try some other site? What more? Chances are that your page may not even appear in top results for your keywords if its TTFB (Time To First Byte) is low. And the situation keeps on worsening from SEO perspective as the bounce rate of your page increases because users these days are not patient, and for right reasons too.
In addition to that, if users have had a bad experience, again referring to the kissmetrics study, they would not even consider going back to that site, and would avoid it like the plague. Now, there’s no question about conversions anymore, because there would be too little traffic to begin in the first place. So no matter from what viewpoint you look at it, slow load speed of your website is way too harmful to its success than it might appear in the first consideration. This is what slow load time could do to your websites.
- Less traffic.
- More exit and bounce rates.
- Less SEO score.
- And fewer conversions.
Though, evidently, less traffic will automatically create a negative impact on the revenue, what’s surprising is that even if a user has stayed on your website, you will lose seven percent of conversions even from these patient customers due to the slow load time.
One may attribute this loss to the fully-load time of the website, as opposed to the TTFB score that most probably the search engines algorithms are calculating. But what it signifies to you is that fixing one or two parameters for website speed is not going to work on an expansive scale. You have to bring down the whole page’s load speed for better traffic and conversions, and in doing so these proven tips can help you.
GZIP compression is, easily, the most prominent web compression tool used by the developers today. In fact, it is so prominent that most of the browsers through the entire world support GZIP. The reason behind the tool’s popularity is that it can reduce the overall response size by a whopping 70%, without degrading its quality. This is a huge amount, especially if you have really bulky pages with numerous graphics, flash, stylesheets, and scripts. GZIP will zip these components of your web pages, resulting in compression in their bandwidth usage. Eventually, there will be a verifiable reduction in the HTTP Requests, which in turn will reduce the load time dramatically.
You can GZIP your website through a variety of ways and you can find all the required information in this easy GZIP compression guideline published by Better Explained.
Work around the Stylesheets and Scripts
On the other hand, inline styling and scripting can produce better results for those websites that have few or just one-page view per session. Though evidently, it will increase the length of the code, reduction in HTTP requests will surpass it. The load time will ultimately be reduced to a verifiable measure.
Redirects are powerful tools for search engine and device optimization, but they are real killers when it comes to load time and eventually user experience. Unless you have optimized them up to a certain level, every redirect means a whole set of new HTTP requests. They are the necessary evils; you need them to retain all your SEO juice while restructuring your website, and also when you want to send users to the responsive version of your website when using smaller screens; latter being the need of the hour.
Optimize Domain Look ups
By now it must be clear that anything that increases the number of HTTP requests has a bad impact on the page load speed. Domain look ups is yet another inevitable part of your website that may unnecessarily increase the HTTP request, and thence the load speed. But if something is unnecessary, there is always a way for optimizing it. In the case of domain look ups, half of this optimization job has already been done by ISPs and web browsers that maintain their own DNS cache.
This is how it works. The Domain Name System or DNS maps hostnames to IP addresses, and it takes around 20 to 120 ms to do its job. Until this process of domain lookup is completed, the browser will not download anything. And now think as many unique hostnames are there on your web page, like images, flash objects, script files, etc., those many times the domain look up process will be run. To quite an extent, caches of domain names have resolved this issue, but definitely reducing the number of unique hostnames is going to serve long way to manage the load time of your website.
CDNs or Content Delivery Networks are geographically distributed servers developed with the prime objective of providing better web browsing experience to the users, by reducing the load time and offering a better availability. Websites with greater traffic and global reach almost always prefer using CDNs. The idea here is to lessen the geographical distance between the data center and the user, and also to reduce the chances of getting your server overloaded.
Even if the servers do get overloaded, CDNs will allow your users to browse the cached version of your website while you switch your resources and data to a new server. So, CDNs aren’t useful only to speed up your website and thence support UX and conversion rates, they also make your website appear more reliable, as nothing breaks trust for a website than an occasional break down of services.
So these are the five promised tips for the better performance of your website. One note worth mentioning here is that these are the fundamental yet also advanced methods of speeding up the loading of your website. They do not include the basic things, which most probably your web developer has taken care of. Things like less complicated and short codes with core programming, instead of using easier ones to apply high-quality design with WYSIWYG web development. There are various other things that your web developer must have applied while working on the device responsiveness of your website, things that are mentioned in this blog post. However, even if your developer hasn’t already used these basic methodologies, as are considered a part of the efficient web development, you can still use these tips to notice the verifiable results in the load-time of your website, or you may even test that on PageSpeed Insights by Google.
Deepak Vijay is a Digital Marketing Professional and an SEO expert who puts his knowledge to use for one of the most reliable mobile app development companies, Syon Infomedia. His Conversion Optimization skills also come in handy for the organization. Get in touch with Deepak @Deepak_Vijay.