Why Your Website’s Speed Matters And How To Improve It
Despite its huge impact on user experience and search engine rankings, web speed is often overlooked. Do you know how long a user will wait for a webpage to load before giving up and clicking the back button? On average, it takes 2 seconds, and if you’re showing them an ad, you probably have an even smaller margin to load your web page before the user gets bored.
How Do I Know How Long It Takes My Page To Load?
You can find the answer to this using an online tool. Pingdom is one such tool. By entering your web page URL into Pingdom’s speed tester and choosing to test it from a server in the UK, you can get a good impression of how long it would take a UK-based user to access your web page. If you are scoring under 2 seconds, then you’re within the average user’s attention span. If you have anything over 2 seconds, that’s a sign your website could use some improvement.
Why Does Website Speed Matter?
- Users’ attention spans are shorter than ever before. If you can’t show them the content they are looking for immediately – they’ll simply click away and look at something else instead.
- Google (and other search engines) place a huge amount of importance on website speed, particularly if the search is made on a mobile device. Businesses whose sites start to slow down can quickly find themselves dropping down the search rankings. Conversely, if you can improve your website speed you could see a significant SEO boost.
OK, How Can I Improve My Website’s Speed?
There are several reasons that a site might be slow. Even professional website design companies will sometimes build websites in a far less than optimal way. Before you start making any changes to your website, you should make sure to securely back it up first. This way, if any of the updates you’ve made break anything, you can easily restore your site to its previous state. Updraft is a WordPress plugin we recommend for backing up your site.
- Compress Images
Images are one of the main culprits for slowing down web pages. Uploading uncompressed images can make loading a page sluggish. Luckily, you don’t need to re-upload every image on your site. There are plugins which can compress your images for you after upload.
- Switch Web Host
Your web host is one of the largest contributors to your site’s speed. Not every web host is equal and switching to a different host can make a huge difference. Our partner company Carden IT Hosting offers ultra-fast hosting with specialist packages for Linux, Windows and WordPress hosting.
- Update Your CMS, Plugins and PHP Version
Making sure that all the elements of your website, including your CMS and your PHP version are up to date can have an impact on site speed and help keep your site secure.
- Deactivate Unused Plugins and Themes
Removing unused code and content from your site, like plugins, can help to improve your site speed. Audit your existing themes and plugins and remove any you are not using. This will improve your web page speed as there will be less data being loaded in the background of each page. Removing unused plugins also makes your website more secure and easier to manage. It might be more helpful to think of it in terms of removing elements which are slowing your site down.
Hopefully this has been a useful guide on why your website’s speed matters, what might be slowing it down, and how you can improve it. Of course, this only scratches the surface, so if you would like our professional web development experts to help improve your site’s design, speed or search engine optimisation, speak to our team today.