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How Website Speed Impacts Your Marketing

How Website Speed Impacts Your Marketing

Website visitors today are used to instant access to information. This is the main reason why the loading speed of your pages will impact website performance and even search engine positioning.

Nearly 44 percent of online shoppers will abandon their cart and discontinue the purchasing process if a website is too slow to load, statistics show. Forty seven percent of the consumers expect a website to load in less than two seconds. A one percent delay in site speed could contribute to a seven percent decrease in expected conversions.

These figures simply prove that the audience is impatient and used to immediate access to information, products and services. Major search engines are taking this fact in consideration. As a result, the load speed has become one of the factors indicative of audience experience and thus incorporated in SEO algorithms.

Are you aware of your website’s speed and the manner in which it’s affecting user engagement, SEO and overall performance? The following guide will acquaint you with some of the most important concepts, as well as the best ways to track and improve website speed.

What Aspects of SEO does Website Speed Affect?

Site speed is used to assess the experience of a website visitor in several ways. It affects several key SEO components, which is why you need to start paying attention to the metric.

For a start, speed is one of the factors that will be determining for the audience’s experience. It’s easy to understand why people will enjoy websites that load fast. Just think about it – have you abandoned a website that takes forever to load? Every internet user has done the same, especially if the page fails displaying all elements or these don’t show up within a couple of seconds.

The internet user is changing all the time. People were happy with a particular site speed in 2010. In 2014, however, the same speed could contribute to a significant reduction in conversions. As technology improves, website visitors become much less forgiving and willing to put up with mediocre performance.

Here’s some more information about the link between website speed and conversions – website users will abandon a website that doesn’t load within three seconds. Nearly 80 percent of the individuals that had trouble with loading pages will never return to the same ecommerce website and 44 percent of those individuals will warn others about the poor experience they had.

Site speed is just one of the 200 factors that Google takes in consideration. Though slow speed may not necessarily cause a serious drop in the website’s search engine positioning, making a website faster will certainly have a positive impact on SEO.

The Best Tools for Tracking Site Speed

Now that you know just how important website speed can be, it’s time to take a look at some wonderful tools that you can use to assess the performance of your website.

  • GTMetrix: this free tool will give you an overall idea about your website’s current performance and provide suggestions about improving speed. You’ll get a grade (from A to F), data about how fast your website loads (in seconds), what total page size is and what’s the total number of requests. The recommendations will be ordered according to their importance and the degree to which each factor will affect website speed.
  • Google Developers PageSpeed Tools: as the name suggests, this is an official Google Developers website speed assessment tool. It’s free to use and it will also provide recommendations about the most important problems you’ll need to fix in order to speed up your website.
  • WebPageTest: you’ll get data about website speed and you’ll also see six different grades that relate to load time. These include first byte time, keep alive enabled, compress transfer, compress images, cache static content and effective use of CDN grades. The tool will also provide a content breakdown and some suggested changes. WebPageTest enables users to select a country that they want to run the test from.

Five Common Mistakes Slowing Down Your Website

Some common mistakes stand in the way of optimal page load time and performance. Issues ranging from not leveraging browser caching to the selection of a poor hosting service can make your website slower.

In order to decrease the load time, you’ll need to address the following common mistakes in the most efficient way:

  • Not leveraging browser caching: each time a page is viewed through a browser, a number of elements will have to be loaded. These include HTML, javascript, images and others. If browser caching isn’t leveraged, this process will take place each time. Browser caching enables some of the data to be “stored” on the visitor’s browser. Thus, the load speed of a larger website can be decreased significantly. Here’s a detailed guide about how to start leveraging browser caching in order to decrease the load time.
  • Image size issues: as already mentioned, the images will have to be loaded each time alongside other page elements. Too many images or excessively large pictures will make each page slower. Optimizing the image size can reduce the total page load size by nearly 80 percent! Some of the things you can do to address the problem include refraining from using TIFF images, resizing photos before uploading those, compressing the pictures and serve scaled images (like having thumbnail versions).
  • Too many resources loading at the same time: having javascript, HTML, CSS and images loading all at the same time can be detrimental. A smaller website that has fewer components isn’t going to be affected badly by this factor but if you have a more complex project, you may want to think about resource optimization. Combining multiple CSS or multiple javascript files will speed up your pages.
  • Wrong hosting service: which country is your website hosted in? Where is your audience located? Choosing a server that’s located in the wrong place will damage your performance and SEO efforts. Use one of the site speed testing tools to figure out how long it takes for your audience in a particular country to view the content. If your website’s performance is poor, you may want to consider the selection of another hosting option.
  • Failure to use the server’s cache and compress capabilities: have you customized your server characteristics to speed up the website? If you’ve kept the settings set to default, you’re missing on a good opportunity. Make sure that you’ve enabled the server’s gzip compression and caching options. Both of these can reduce the transfer time needed to display your site through a browser, thus improving the audience’s experience and helping you do better in terms of search engine positioning.

Speeding up your website doesn’t have to be excessively technical or difficult. Start by using one of the test tools mentioned in this article. You’ll get specific recommendations that you can either follow on your own or work with a professional to execute.

Martin is an SEO specialist with exceptional technical skills and ability to think outside the box.

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