Need some help loading your site? You should! The right site loading tactics can make or break a website. Time is precious, SEO rankings are essential, and you have all the power to control your site in your hands. You just have to follow a few simple steps. Optimization is the key to creating a website that wins out every time. Here are some more details.
You probably know this, but in case you don't, I'll clue you in: Google has announced they will now factor in page speed when ranking your website. This makes perfect sense: how can you consider your page a “top ranking page” if visitors are eternally frustrated at the amount of time it takes to navigate from page to page on your website? How many of these users are so frustrated they leave before they get the information they came looking for in the first place?
Of course, Google said that whether or not you have a fast loading website, the figure doesn't hold heavy weight when determining your ranking. That doesn't mean you shouldn't worry about it. You certainly should.
Show Me The Money
A fast loading website leads to an upturn in revenue and conversions. For example, Mozilla was able to reduce the time its homepage loaded by two seconds, and saw 15.4% additional conversions.
Amazon analyzed their site, and found that even a seemingly insignificant reduction in speed (0.1 second slower) amounted to a 1% loss in revenue.
My Site Is Sluggish. What Now?
One thing you can do is switch to a fast website host. Sometimes, it has nothing to do with your site design at all. If that doesn't help, try one or more of the following:
- Put all of your CSS into an external file, and link to it in the <head> section of each page rather than loading it in the HTML. This leads to faster loading times as the external page is cached.
- Rely on CSS sprites when you are able, which takes all of the images in the background and lumps them into one image, reducing the HTTP requests.
- Assure your images are sized properly. If you use Photoshop, you can do this quickly by choosing “save for web” rather than “save.” This optimizes your image specifically for web use, reducing load time.
- Use Gzip, which will compress the page size when it is sent to the browser, which in turn decompresses it, displaying it for the user. The majority of sites who rely on Gzip see significant file size reduction of up to 70%.
- Use server side caching, where an HTML page is created for a URL. This means dynamic sites don't have to build the page every time that URL is requested.
- Cut down on 301 redirects. If you can avoid it, don't use them at all. If you do, don't stack 301s on top of each other. This redirect sends the browser to a new URL, requiring the browser to wait for the HTTP request to return.
There are plenty of additional steps you can take to assure your site runs optimally. Head over and take a peek at this infographic for more information.