We’ve all been there before…browsing the internet on our laptops or flicking through our phones only to find that the link we’ve just clicked is taking an age to load. At best, this can cause annoyance to potential customers but did you know that it can also impact visibility? The loading speed of your website can influence its ranking in search engines and much more so it’s important to monitor both mobile and desktop page speeds.
Why does speed matter?
The page speeds of your website are critical. So much so that did you know 1 in 4 users would abandon a website that takes more than 4 seconds to load?
Furthermore, 46% of people admitted that they won’t return to a poor performing website.
Most businesses simply cannot afford to lose such a large proportion of potential customers. Nor can they risk the reduced visibility, soaring bounce rates and poor customer feedback that comes with slow page speeds.
Poor page speeds can impact your website in the following ways:
- SEO: slow page speeds can cause swathes of customers to leave and therefore send your bounce rate spiralling. It doesn’t stop there however, as slow speeds can also result in users viewing fewer pages and spending less time on the pages they do visit. You may also experience poor conversion rates if your website isn’t fast enough.
- Social Media: some social media platforms are taking matters into their own hands! It’s common knowledge that Facebook does everything in its power to keep users on the platform, so you won’t be surprised to hear they are using slow page speeds to their advantage. Facebook users who click on external links may be notified if the website is taking too long to load and prompted to return to the Facebook platform.
- Mobile: in the past, it may have been tempting to discount mobile page speeds but this is no longer possible. Although the Google algorithm is shrouded in mystery, one thing we know for sure is that page speed is a confirmed ranking factor. Furthermore, in 2018 they took it one step further by not only adding mobile page speeds to the algorithm, but through placing precedence on them above desktop speeds.
- Usability: last but not least is the affect that poor page speeds can have on usability. First impressions count and the opinion of your website visitors is likely to be less than favourable if they can’t load the site quickly. Don’t be surprised if these users leave your website to find similar products or services elsewhere.
Check Your Page Speed Score
Although it is possible to gauge an idea of how fast your website is just by loading it, there is a more accurate measure of page speed scores. We recommend testing your website speeds with the free Google Page Speed Insights tool. It will calculate a page speed score for both mobile and desktop, while using a traffic light system to give you an indication of how fast your website is. Give it a go online or alternatively, get in touch as we can provide this service as part of a free Website Audit.
Improving Page Speeds
If your website received a slow or average score, then you may be wondering what you can do next. Most improvements are quite technical and may be best implemented by a professional web developer. If you don’t have one in-house or your existing developer cannot assist, then please do get in touch as our development team may be able to help.
The following methods can be used to improve page speeds:
- Review your Hosting – the type and location of the server your website is hosted on can have an impact on page speeds. Sometimes simply changing hosting providers to one that uses better optimised servers can make all the difference. You can find out more about hosting and the services we provide here.
- Optimise your Images – although high resolution images look the part, they can have a significant impact on page speeds. We recommend resizing or compressing images to reduce their file size while still maintaining the image quality. If your website is built in WordPress, you may be able to find a plugin that will do the job.
- Consider an Upgrade – the age of your website may also influence page speeds. While a full upgrade is likely to generate faster page speeds, sometimes just bringing your content management system up to date with the latest version can help.
We’ve come a long way since the days of dial-up and, with the advent of new technologies such as 5G, users expect lighting fast loading speeds - so don’t disappoint! Make sure to monitor your page speeds regularly and be prepared to take action if the results are poor. Failure to do so could see increased bounce rates and reduced visibility for your website in search engines.