Speed Up your Website – It is Important
Importance of minimum website loading time
Website Loading Time or Page speed refers to the amount of time a page needs to be completely loaded on an average user’s screen. It depends on many different factors like the host, design, advertisements, widgets, heavy media, embedded items, etc. All of these factors can be optimized to make the loading faster.
The craze for a website in the present day: In the present day, the use of websites and search engines is extremely high. So much so, that has, in fact, turned into a craze. An average user uses websites to identify, recognize, understand and judge the products and the services provided by a particular website. This, in turn, has made the organisations invest capital into making the perfect website by adding all sorts of extra and often unnecessary elements to the websites. Though this craze to make the website does do the job of making the website flawless according to the required standards, it does so at the cost of the website loading time.
Impact of Website Speed on SEO
Page loading time is obviously an important part of any website’s user experience. It is a significant feature for the usability of a website, as well as the SEO. But many-a-times we let it go in order to put up better aesthetic designs, new and fancy functionality or to add more content to web pages.
How Slow Speed Repels Traffic?
Unfortunately, website visitors tend to care more about page loading speed rather than the content and the fancy elements added to the websites. Users want an unrestricted and lightning fast website experience, so they can smoothly receive the information they were searching for. Additionally, page loading time is considered to be an extremely important factor when it comes to search engine rankings. This is the chief reason that Google’s key search algorithm factors include the website loading speed as one.
A website with slower loading speed, discourages users to use that website and forces them to use another website instead. They have no patience for websites with poor load speeds or inadequate performance. Also, Google penalizes the website that is relatively too slow.
In an extensive survey done by Akamai, users expect a site to load within 2 seconds or less, and if it doesn’t get loaded within 3 seconds, users tend to abandon the site. The survey states that 74% of internet users expect a website to load in 2 seconds or less, and 40% of internet users will abandon a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. It is found 70% of internet visitors who think your website speed is too slow won’t return to your website again.
44% of the internet users pass on the information if they have had a poor experience using a website: this alarming statistic showcases websites run the risk of losing traffic not only from the current users with decreasing conversion rates but they stand to lose even future potential users from those customers who may have referred your website to others.
In terms of economic of this situation, a 1-second delay in page loading can lead to decrease in customer satisfaction by 16% and reduces conversions by 7%. This means that if an e-commerce site is making $100,000 a day, then they stand to lose $2.5 million in the sale due to a 1-second delay in page loading!
Mobile internet users expect website speeds to be a little slow as compared to when they use internet on their desktop or laptop. 73% of such users say that they have found a website via their mobile device that is too slow, while 51% of users say that they have found a website via their mobile device that crashes, freezes or errors. Also, most users think mobiles have slower load times than normal.
Major factors affecting the Website Speed
In today’s fast-paced world, websites can no longer be allowed to be slowed down by unoptimized images and files as the users expect web pages to load fast and won’t stick around if they don’t. So, to make sure that website page loading speed does not affect a website’s chances of success, explained below are some major factors that affect the website speed:
- HTTP Requests: HTTP or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Requests are calculated whenever a browser is commanded to fetch a file, page, or picture from a web server. About 80% of a web page’s load time is spent downloading different elements of the page via this request. Also, the web browser limits requests between 4-8 simultaneous connections per domain which means that loading 30+ assets at once is not possible. In other words, the more HTTP requests needed to be loaded, the longer the web page’s loading time is while the page goes and retrieves them all, decreasing the web page’s load speed.
- Content delivery networks: In a normal setting, majority of the users accessing websites will not be near its web server. Also, reducing the distance by spreading the website’s content across numerous geographically spread out servers isn’t feasible and is quite a bit costly and complicated to implement. This is where Content Delivery Networks or CDNS play its role. A collection of web servers dispersed across multiple locations to deliver content efficiently to the users is known as Content Delivery Networks.
They are used for static content or files that require to be touched once uploaded. These servers are selected considering the user’s measure of network proximity. Large companies lean towards owning their CDNs, while medium-sized businesses make use of CDN providers such as EdgeCast. Smaller companies often find CDN’s unnecessary and costly, so using employing websites such as CNDjs which have libraries of JS and CSS files and frameworks to help prevent hosting certain files on the servers while increasing their load time.
- Browser Caching: Browser caching permits resources on the websites to be downloaded to the hard drive once into a cache, or a temporary storing region. Those files are then stored locally on the structure, allowing subsequent page loads to increase in speed. Static assets have a cached time period of at least a week, whereas third-party objects such as widgets or ads last only about a day. CSS, JS, images and media files have termination period of one week, but ideally, one year, as any longer violates RFC guidelines.
- Compression of Images & Optimization of Files: Images usually take up 60% of the average bytes loaded on each page, around 1504KB. Comparing to other pages assets such as scripts, CSS, and video which take up 399KB, 45KB, and 294KB respectively, images take up more and larger amounts of HTTP requests sent. To overcome this problem, firstly, remove any images of assets not needed including libraries of lesser used icons, extra fonts, and images that maybe could be replaced with CSS like coloured backgrounds or gradients.
After clearing out those assets, check out the sizes of the images on the sites as often these are downloaded from stock photo sites and uploaded to the server and used without optimizing them for the web. Run all large through an optimization software like Compressor.io or Image Optimizer keeping them all below 150KB, 1920px in width with an average/medium/72dpi quality level. Any larger and the page and image loading time increases. Keep in mind that, SVG is appropriate for vector images with a high amount of detail in it, while, PNG should be used for images with a clear background behind and JPG is best for images where fine detail is less important.
The speed of website influences the search ranking and user engagement. Hence, you have to pay close attention to this and keep optimizing your website from time to time.