Pretty much all of us must have heard the adage, “slow and steady wins the race,” but when it comes to your website, a slow loading speed may not only make you lose the race for recognition, it may cause you actual monetary loss as well.
Think about it.
While you may promptly believe that website speed is a factor that counts, you will be astonished at the extent of difference it actually makes. While Amazon reported that every 100ms delay costs it 1 % of its sales, other giants like Walmart, Shopzilla, Yahoo and Mozilla have reported huge improvements in their revenues by improving their page speed by just microseconds! According to a study conducted by Gomez.com, it was seen that visitors leave web pages in much higher numbers when websites take longer to load.
A study by Tagman blog shows that a mere 1 sec delay may cause losses up to 7 % in terms of visitors. Aberdeen Group’s study quotes “A 1-second delay in page load time equals 11% fewer page views, a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction, and 7% loss in conversions.” It’s not hard to guess some of the probable reasons.
The logic is simple here. The only reason why we may stick to sluggish websites is that we are used to encountering them. But, as the better websites get faster, we start expecting the same standards from all the websites that we visit. This has further been confirmed by measuring the behavior of millions of users. Also, you can’t always count on your users for having high-speed internet connections. Adding to this, the increasing number of mobile users (about 1 billion), which is a huge number to be ignored, expect their phones to load the web page as quickly as on their browser. So, ultimately it is the website owners who need to find a way to satisfy the users and maintain their business.
So, how is it that you can possibly increase your profits or rather reduce the damages of having a slow speed website. Well, there’s some good news for you, because the efforts are simple and most of them don’t actually burden your pocket. Here is the list of some of the most effective tricks:
Check your Website Hosting Service
The key aim here is to reduce the speed related problems from the web hosting service provider’s side. If the server takes an unusually long time to respond your front end requests, contact your server’s support and ask them to check the problem. Also, because of the increasing demand of cost effective website hosting service, service providers are compromising quality to increase profits by reducing costs. So, to get a high-speed, switch to a better website hosting service. It may cost you more but it is certainly worth the cost because of the increased user attention and profits.
There is no doubt that images constitute a very significant part of your web page. But as a thumb rule, they take longer to load than text. This increased loading time may result in a very unsatisfactory user experience. Consider selling products; if the product image takes a long time to load, the user may get frustrated and leave the website resulting in a loss. To avoid this, convert the image format to JPEG. It allows you to create smaller graphics that do not take up crucial loading time. For non-photographic images with less colors use PNG format, while making sure to avoid using BMPs. Reducing image size and compression can also be used to serve your interest with regards to decreasing crucial loading time.
Avoid Unnecessary HTTP requests
The different contents of your web page like text, image and multimedia, make separate HTTP requests to the server. In fact, for every file on your webpage, the browser makes a separate HTTP request. The server delivers these requests and when the browser has them all delivered, it displays the web page. This simply means that the speed of the website increases if the number of files on it is low, owing to the low loading time that this enables. The number of HTTP requests your browser makes can be checked in Google Chrome, for instance, through its Network Panel. Here, you can also see what file is taking a long time to load. To reduce the number of HTTP requests you can combine the CSS files so that they load by a single request.
Avoid empty HTTP Tags
Empty HTTP tags are essentially those code tags which are incomplete, or haven’t been closed, owing to which they do not code for anything specific on the webpage. Different browsers have different courses of action on encountering empty HTTP tags. While Firefox simply ignores it, other browsers like Chrome and Safari make a request to the webpage itself on encountering an empty HTTP tag. Due to the fact that you as a website designer don’t have control on what browser the user may use, it is best to avoid empty HTTP tags so that it enhances your webpage’s speed.
Minification of the code
Minification refers to the removal of unnecessary characters that are not essential for the code to execute. It is especially useful for scripts like Java, HTML and CSS, as it reduces the amount of code to be transferred over the web. You can minify the code by removing white characters, new line characters and other such characters which used just for enhancing the readability of your code.
Use CDN (Content Delivery Network)
CDN is a next level optimization technique as compared to the above points. While optimizing images and minifying the code is a self-containing fix, CDNs essentially belong to the category of paid third party services. They can be avoided if they do not serve your goals and budget. On the other hand, using one will certainly improve the website speed. CDN works by hosting your files over servers around the world. This reduces the load on any single server and enhances speed as the files are downloaded from the geographically closest server.
The need of the hour for all the website developers and marketers is to optimize and increase the speed of their website if they want a profitable business. Illustrating the importance of speed, Google in 2010 announced that website speed will have an impact on the ranking of the search results. This means that for your website to be noticed, it is very important that you promise your users an ultimate user experience satisfying their ‘Need for Speed’. So, are you game?