Here we look at what website speed means, how important it is for businesses (and why), plus how businesses can test their website speed and keep it up to scratch.
What Does ‘Website Speed’ Mean?
Why Is Website Speed Important For Businesses?
There have been numerous studies conducted that demonstrate the importance of website speed for businesses. For example, a study conducted by Google analysed the relationship between website speed and user behaviour. Google found that as page load time increases from 1 to 3 seconds, the probability of a user bouncing off the site increases by 32 per cent. Similarly, as the load time increases from 1 to 5 seconds, the probability of a user bouncing increases by a massive 90 per cent! In addition, slower website speeds also lead to lower user engagement and poorer conversion rates.
Another study by Akamai, a content delivery network and cloud service provider, found that a 100-millisecond delay in website load time can lead to a 7 per cent loss in conversions – that’s just a tenth of a second! This means that even small improvements in website speed can have a significant impact on a business’s bottom line.
Overall, these studies demonstrate the importance of website speed for businesses, as it directly affects user behaviour, engagement, and conversion rates.
How Can You Test Your Website Speed?
There are several tools and methods available to test website speed. Here are some examples:
Google PageSpeed Insights: This is a free tool by Google that analyses the performance of a web page on both desktop and mobile devices. It provides a detailed report on various aspects of page speed and also suggests ways to improve the page speed.
GTmetrix: This is another free tool that analyses the performance of a web page and provides a detailed report on various aspects of page speed, including page load time, page size, and the number of requests. It also suggests ways to improve the page speed.
Pingdom: This is a paid tool that allows you to test the page speed from different locations around the world. It provides a detailed report on various aspects of page speed, including load time, page size, and the number of requests. You can just use their free version too.
WebPageTest: This is a free tool that allows you to test the page speed from different locations around the world. It provides a detailed report on various aspects of page speed, including load time, page size, and the number of requests. It also provides a waterfall chart that shows how each element of the page contributes to the overall load time.
Lighthouse: This is a tool built into Google Chrome that provides a detailed report on various aspects of page speed, including performance, accessibility, and SEO. It also suggests ways to improve the page speed.
Overall, using these tools can help you identify areas where your website speed can be improved and provide suggestions to optimise it for better user experience and SEO.
Website Speed Changes
It’s worth noting, however that your website speed may be fast now, however, website speed changes over time due to factors like changes to the website, server, the user’s device and connections, browser updates, and third-party scripts and plugins.
Myths About Website Speed
There are also several myths surrounding website speed. Here are some common ones:
Myth 1: Website speed is only important for desktop users.
Reality: Website speed is important for both desktop and mobile users. With the ever-growing usage of mobile devices, mobile users have become a significant portion of website visitors, possibly the major consumer in many cases. Therefore, website speed is equally important for both desktop and mobile users.
Myth 2: A high Google PageSpeed Insights score means that your website is fast.
Reality: While a high Google PageSpeed Insights score is a good indicator of a well-optimized website, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your website is fast. It’s important to consider other factors such as load time, user experience, and conversion rates.
Myth 3: A faster website requires a more expensive hosting plan.
Reality: While hosting can affect website speed, it’s not always necessary to upgrade to a more expensive hosting plan. Optimising your website, such as compressing images, optimising code and reducing the number of requests can significantly improve website speed without the need for a more expensive hosting plan.
Myth 4: Website speed is only important for large websites.
Reality: Website speed is important for websites of all sizes. Even small websites can benefit from faster load times, as it can improve user experience and search engine rankings.
Myth 5: Website speed doesn’t affect SEO.
Reality: Website speed is a ranking factor for search engines like Google. A slow website can negatively affect search engine rankings and reduce visibility in search results. Therefore, website speed is an important aspect of SEO and should be prioritised.
Overall, it’s important to separate fact from fiction when it comes to website speed to ensure that you are optimising your website effectively.
Best Practice For Keeping Your Website Speed High
Here are some best practices for keeping your website speed fast:
– Optimise Images: Large images can slow down your website. It’s important to optimise your images by compressing them, resizing them, and choosing the right format (e.g., JPEG, PNG, SVG) to reduce file size without compromising quality.
– Minimise HTTP Requests: Each resource (image, script, stylesheet, etc.) on your website requires a separate HTTP request, which can slow down your website. You can minimise HTTP requests by combining and ‘minifying’ files, reducing the number of third-party scripts, and using CSS sprites.
– Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN): A CDN stores copies of your website’s files on servers located in different geographic locations, which can reduce the distance that data needs to travel and improve load times for users.
– Reduce Server Response Time: A slow server response time can negatively impact your website speed. You can reduce server response time by choosing a good hosting provider, minimising the use of plugins and third-party scripts, and optimizing your database.
– Implement Caching: Caching can improve website speed by storing frequently accessed data (e.g., images, stylesheets) in the user’s browser cache or on the server, reducing the need to fetch data from scratch each time.
– Minimise Redirects: Redirects can add extra time to the website load time. It’s important to minimise the use of redirects and to ensure that they are necessary.
– Optimise Above-the-Fold Content: Above-the-fold content (the content that appears on the screen before a user scrolls down) should be optimized for fast load times. This can include optimising images, using efficient code, and reducing the number of requests.
– Prioritise User Experience: A website that is easy to use and navigate can improve user experience and lead to higher engagement and conversions. This can also positively impact website speed, as users are less likely to leave a website that is easy to use.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
Website speed is a crucial factor for businesses to consider, as it can significantly impact user behaviour, engagement, and conversion rates. Studies show that even small improvements in website speed can result in a significant increase in conversions. It is essential to use tools and methods to test website speed, identify areas that need improvement, and optimise your website accordingly. It’s worth noting that website speed changes over time due to a range of factors, including changes to the website, server, user devices and connections, browser updates, and third-party scripts and plugins. In addition, businesses must separate fact from fiction when it comes to website speed to ensure that they optimise their websites effectively. Therefore, businesses should prioritise optimising their website speed to improve the user experience and ultimately drive more conversions. By following the best practices, such as optimising images, minimising HTTP requests, using a content delivery network, and leveraging browser caching, businesses can help keep their website speed high and provide an excellent user experience to their visitors.