The Importance of Website Loading Speed

The loading speed of a website is very important, but often over-looked.

Insivia, a B2B SaaS and tech website development firm out of Cleveland, Ohio recently shared on LinedIn that a 1 second delay in a website loading leads to a 7% lower conversion rate. In addition to this scary number, in a Google study, they found that 53% of mobile users abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to fully load.

While I am not an expert website developer myself, I have created 15-20 websites in the past, I work closely with my website design team, and I stay up-to-date on all the latest trends. Here are a few tips of things I have learned that will decrease your website loading time. 

1: Opt for a Dedicated Server:

Shared hosting can be slow due to traffic from other websites on the same server. A dedicated server for your website can significantly increase loading speed as the resources are not shared with other websites. This enables your site to handle more traffic and load faster, providing a better user experience. This is an inexpensive and highly effective solution, and it also improves website security.

There are few scenarios in which a business should not have their website on a dedicated server, being that the cost to do so is low. The exceptions to this would be for solo-prenuers or small businesses, that have low revenue (250k per year or lower), low website traffic (less than a few hundred visitors), and that conduct no, or very few, transactions directly through their website. For these businesses, a shared server should be sufficient. However, even then, I would encourage you to look into having a dedicated server.

2: Optimize Images:

High-resolution images can slow down your website drastically. Use compression tools to reduce the file size of your images without losing quality. Also, use the correct image format: JPEG for larger photos or illustrations and PNG for simple graphics.

Optimizing images, in all forms of digital media, is an increasing problem. The reality is, it just takes a little bit of extra time. Often web designers and marketers skip this step to save time and get a website or content up online quicker. However, this extra bit of time saving upfront produces an inferior product and only hurts the business in the long run. Take the bit of extra time to do things correct.

3: Enable Caching:

When visitors come to your site, the elements of your page are temporarily stored on their hard drive in a cache, or temporary storage. This means when they return to your site, it will load faster because it doesn’t need to reload the entire page. Enabling caching can significantly improve your webpage loading speed.

Browsers cache a lot of information (stylesheets, images, JavaScript files, and more) so that when a visitor comes back to your site, the browser doesn’t have to reload the entire page. Use a tool like YSlow to see if you already have an expiration date set for your cache. Then set your “expires” header for how long you want that information to be cached. In many cases, unless your site design changes frequently, a year is a suitable time period.

4: Avoid Unnecessary Images and Media:

Large, high-resolution images, while aesthetically pleasing, can significantly slow down page load times. Every image on your website increases the overall size of the page and the number of HTTP requests made when a user visits your site. This is particularly noticeable on mobile devices, which often have slower internet connections than desktops.

If an image isn’t necessary for your mobile site, consider removing it. If it is necessary, compress it and use proper formats such as JPEG 2000, JPEG XR, or WebP for images, and MP4 for video files.

Yes, visual design is important, and I do not want to minimize that. However, it’s essential to strike a balance between visual appeal and performance. Optimize your images by compressing them and using the right format, like JPEG for photographs or PNG for graphics with fewer colors. Use media files sparingly, and only when they add significant value to your user experience. A lean, well-optimized website is key to maintaining fast load speeds and keeping your visitors engaged.

5: Responsive Design:

Use a responsive mobile design that automatically adjusts to fit the screen size of the device being used. This eliminates the need for pinch-zooming and horizontal scrolling, and it can also reduce the amount of data that needs to be downloaded.

Google has adopted a mobile-first indexing approach, which means it predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking. So, a responsive design can significantly improve your SEO, leading to better visibility on search engine results.

Businesses need to be aware of their website loading speed and value a fast loading website without compromising other aspects of the website. Verify that your web team has your website on its own dedicated server. Check your website for unnecessary images. Ensure that the time is being taken to do the little things right so that your prospects have a solid website user experience and convert to customers.

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