We’ve all been there. You’re sitting at your computer trying to do work, scroll social media, or do some online shopping, and the website you need is freezing. You’re frustrated. It just. Won’t. Load.
The speed at which your business’ website loads is important. Not only will it save your customers from feeling annoyed, but it will also help your business to succeed.
Your website is often the first impression that someone will have of your business, so you need it to be good. A well-designed and fast-loading website is more likely to earn the trust and positive opinion of customers.
When your pages and all of their titles, images, text, and forms load quickly, your customers will find their desired information and have their browsing needs satisfied.
So what happens when website speeds don’t meet the mark? You get a lot of annoyed customers and lose sales.
Google has found that if a web page takes 1 to 5 seconds to load, the probability that a mobile user will leave the site (bounce) goes up 90%. And if the loading time is 1 to 10 seconds, that likelihood rises to 123%!
It’s no joke. Unbounce conducted several surveys to see how consumers react to slow loading speeds, and the results show that slow speeds will not only cause your bounce rate to soar, but it can also ruin your business’ reputation.
In one survey, it was found that “nearly 70% of consumers admit that page speed influences their likeliness to buy,” 36.8% of consumers are less willing to revisit slow websites, and 11.9% would tell a friend about their negative experience.
The average web page takes 10.3 seconds to load. How do we compare?
Locafy landing pages load in just 0.5 to 0.9 seconds!
So page speed matters, and there are a lot of factors that can affect it. We’re going to get a bit technical for a second, so hold tight and get in touch with us if you have any questions moving forward!
The first concept to understand is that websites and web pages have a specific capacity for the information they can hold. The average website only has about 150MB of available space. The average web page only has about 2 MB of available space. So all of the information that you want to put on your website needs to fit within this digital space.
When your website is too heavily loaded with files and information, computers and mobile devices have to work very hard to get through all the information in the first place. That means that loading speeds will suffer.
Here are some things that take up a lot of space on your websites and slow your loading times:
An uncompressed file is a piece of digital information that is unaltered from its original state. For example, when a singer records her voice digitally in a music studio, the recording that is created is an uncompressed file. Her voice has been translated into a string of 1s and 0s that a computer can read, and is saved as is. Changing the name of this file or moving it does not change the 1s and 0s that have been recorded.
There are different types of digital files that exist and to keep it simple, we’ll only talk generally about audio, image, and video files here. Uncompressed files of all types take up digital space on a website, so the more you have, the more you risk slowing down your loading times.
Luckily, there’s a relatively simple way of fixing this problem: compression. Digital compression is the act of removing unnecessary data from a file, or squishing the information within the file together so that the file takes up less space. For the average computer user, compression takes place at the downloading stage.
Imagine the audio file of a singer’s voice again. If she wants to put the recording on her website, the digital 1s and 0s of the file will take up a lot of space if left as is, uncompressed.
To fix this, the recording engineer will “download” the audio file into a compressed format, such as MP3, which removes some of the 1s and 0s that the computer deems less important. The result is a smaller audio file that is of slightly lower quality than the original, though the average music listener would not be able to tell the difference. The singer can put this file on her website, knowing that she is saving space for the other information that she wants to share.
If you are comfortable with file compression, you can take this a step further and create a compressed file library, one file that contains multiple others within it.
Before compressing your audio, video, or images files, check which file types are supported by the programs and web platforms that you want to use.
Once again, websites can only hold so much digital information, so it’s important to make sure that the images on your web pages are no larger than necessary.
Thankfully, you don’t need your images to have the best digital quality in order to look professional. They can be of small “size” and still get the job done, specifically because different sizes serve different purposes. Web browsers and digital platforms will only support certain image sizes, however, so it’s important to know which ones will work for you.
Images can be “sized” in many ways. First, let’s talk about image file format.
File formats refer to the way that the digital information of an image is stored, and there are two ways to categorize them. Raster formats (JPG/JPEG, GIF, PNG) rely on pixels to display images, while vector formats (PDF, EPS, SVG, CDR, AI) rely on a lot of math and a grid–point system to do the same.
Some of the above file formats are larger than others and can take up your website’s valuable digital real estate. So if you’re planning to use several images, it’s a great idea to choose smaller formats so that your loading times won’t be affected.
Next, let’s talk about dimensions, a concept that only affects raster images because it’s all about pixels, the tiny coloured boxes that make up your image.
An image’s dimensions, meaning its width and height measured in pixels, needs to be small enough to fit into the desired space on a web page. And this makes sense. A laptop or mobile phone screen has a limited amount of pixels it can use to show you images. If your image is too large, a website won’t have the digital space to store it.
Realistically, your images only need to be the maximum size that someone would ever see. Our Locafy experts say that a good size for a basic image is 600 pixels in width or smaller.
Adobe products, Canva , MS Paint, and other similar platforms allow you to easily change the dimensions and file formats of your images with a few simple clicks. And once you’ve changed your image to the desired size, it’s only a matter of downloading the image for use. Simple!
There are two types of long scrolling pages. Ones that have a lot of content on them, and therefore a lot of scrolling is needed to reach the end (like a long blog post), and ones that auto-refresh as you scroll in order to provide you with neverending content (like Facebook’s homepage).
No matter the type of scrolling page, or the content that it contains, slow loading times are a common nuisance. The pages contain so many images, advertisements, videos, text, and other content that simply take up too much space.
It’s possible to fix the loading time of long scrolling pages by making technical changes to the page, such as implementing a lazy loading strategy, but we know that the average business doesn’t have the time to learn how to do this.
That’s why we always recommend working with SEO experts who understand these technical aspects of search and have the tools to make the improvements you need. Locafy’s technology renders pages in such a way that long scrolling is never an issue. With us, you can make your pages as long as you want without ever affecting their performance.
Too many ads
Using a program such as Google Adsense to have third-party advertisements placed on your web pages can be a good way to make some extra money for your business, but it can also pose a problem.
Online advertisements are often the culprit when it comes to a web page’s slow loading time. “Over 40% of online advertisements are too large and slow down websites,” according to Ad Lightning and StatusCake.
While the advertising industry does have guidelines for how large an advertisement can be, many ads still surpass the size limit. Additionally, rich media, which make use of moving graphics, sounds, and video, take up more space than a simple text ad.
Your first option is simple: limit the number of advertisements you have on your web page. Not only will this help speed up your page, it also means that less content will be competing for your web visitor’s attention.
The second option is to do research into the many types of ads that exist and choose to run those that take up the least amount of space.
A website server consists of hardware and software that work together to connect to the internet, display web information, and exchange information with other devices. As the component that does the big job of actually connecting you to the internet, your server is extremely important in the proper functioning of your website, and any number of technical problems with it will slow down your pages.
The fixes to these issues aren’t necessarily difficult, but often take several technical steps that will eat up a lot of time if you’re not already familiar with them. If you’re determined to fix the issue yourself, you could follow a detailed guide such as this one for dealing with render-blocking resources, or this one about server performance.
If you don’t want to do the work yourself, get in touch with your SEO expert or technical support. An expert will be able to quickly make sure that your website gets back to top speed, in turn making sure that your customers can continue to find you online.
Our best advice is to partner with us to get the speeds you need!
Locafy has spent years perfecting our technology and widgets to ensure that our customers have the fastest and most reliable technical experience possible. Our clients can dress up their pages in any way they want without sacrificing their loading times.
We make sure that your well-sized images are scaled properly for mobile devices, and our servers are as high-tech as you can get. Long scrolling pages? Not a worry!
Connect with us today to learn just how much of a difference Locafy can make for your page speeds.
Page speed matters. Your online visitors are expecting to have a fast and seamless experience with every web page they visit, so you need to make sure that your website delivers. If it doesn’t, you risk having higher bounce rates, low customer satisfaction, and not ranking in search.
When your website starts to lag, we recommend getting in touch with your SEO expert right away, but if that’s not an option, take it step by step. Check that your website’s files, ads and photos are the right sizes, and that your server has no issues.
Website page speed can make or break your local business’ SEO. By taking the time to maintain your website speed, you can make sure your business can keep up and stay competitive.
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