Since 1994, website speed has been considered a key topic in web usability. Perhaps this can be traced back to people’s impulsive and emotional need for speed.
Since then, there have been notable changes including the introduction of interactive and immersive sites, the growing relevance of graphics, and the shift to mobile-friendly websites.
The Internet has also responded by widening broadband and providing a faster and more reliable service, especially for mobile devices.
However, it is unfortunate to note that many websites nowadays are still slow to load. One reason for this might be because web services have become more complex compared to before.
However, people’s expectations have also changed over time as far as loading time is concerned.
Right now, it is very common for visitors to leave a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Not only that, a whopping 50% of consumers now expect web pages to load fully in less than 2 seconds!
How Fast Should Your Website Be? The Truth in Numbers!
Here are a few interesting (and shocking!) statistics about website speed:
- 79% of dissatisfied shoppers are less likely to purchase from a slow site again
- 47% of consumers expect web pages to load in 2 seconds or less
- 40% of people abandon websites that take more than 3 seconds to load
- A one-second delay in the page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions
Why Speed Matters: The Enticing Benefits of a Fast Website
Regardless of the kind of business you’re considering, having a fast website should rank high in your list of priorities. But don’t take my word for it! Here are a few case studies that will highlight the correlation between user conversion and page speed. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Former Yahoo! CEO and Google VP Marissa Mayer shared an experiment they did on Google’s search results page. Their aim was to know the impact of displaying more results in Google searches (10 versus 30).
After they analyzed the data, they found out there are 25% fewer searches from users who found more search results. Upon further investigation, they discovered that the drop in searches occurred due to increased page load time.
From the experiment, they concluded that even a delay of a few milliseconds can lead to a dramatic reduction in page impressions.
The brilliant Greg Linden showcased the impact of site speed on revenue when he shared his work on the Big Data. Linden is the brains behind Amazon’s recommendation engine. In his report, Linden exhibited how a 100-millisecond delay can result in a 1% drop in revenue.
At first glance, a 1% drop can seem inconsequential. For it to make sense, let’s do some basic calculations. At one point, Amazon earned a total annual revenue of $74.5 billion. What this means is, a fraction of a second delay can translate to a whopping $745 million in lost revenue annually!
Many years ago, Shopzilla began a major website redesign that lasted for 2 long years. Back then, the site was getting between 20 to 29 million unique visitors per month.
Undoubtedly, they needed to optimize the performance of their website so it could handle the massive volume of traffic they were getting.
Phil Dixon, Shopzilla’s VP of Engineering reported a significant growth in some of their key metrics when they improved their website speed.
- Page views increased by 25%
- Conversion rate increased by 7 – 12%
Take Your Business to the Next Level: 5 Ways to Increase Your Website Speed
For many bloggers, a fast website can play a vital role in their success. Here’s what many people do not know: the same principle applies to your business site! If boosting website speed is a top priority, the following tips can help get your efforts off to a superb start:
- Opt for fast themes
While themes from ThemeForest are really easy to install, they won’t do your site speed any favors. ThemeForest themes are made using Visual Page Builders such as WPBakery Pro. While undeniably easy on the eyes, it is important to note that the scripts and code used in the website can slow your website down significantly.
As a general rule of thumb, go for themes that are coded to be lightweight and quick. If you prefer using Visual Builders, pick WordPress themes like Beaver Builder and Elementor.
It would also be a great idea to go for pure WordPress sites such as GeneratePress. WordPress sites that are devoid of builders will not only make your site load faster, they also give you access to easy-to-use themes.
- Optimize the images you use
This might not be common knowledge, but images that are not optimized can also have a massive impact on site speed. In a nutshell, image optimization involves the saving and delivering of images in the smallest possible file without affecting the overall quality.
For Mac users, there is a free program called ImageOptim that can help optimize compression parameters while removing junk metadata and insignificant color profiles, at the same time.
WordPress also has a free plugin called Smush. It is designed to remove hidden information that are present in the images. It also decreases the file size while maintaining the image quality.
- Keep your plugins to a minimum
Also, ensure your site operates at top speed by installing the following starter plugins:
- Contact Form 7
- Yoast SEO
- LightSpeed Cache
- Use Hypertext Pre-Processor (PHP) Ver 7.4
PHP is the brainchild of gifted Danish-Canadian programmer Rasmus Lerdorf. Simply put, PHP is a server-side scripting language that’s designed primarily for web development. It was first introduced in 1994 and the abbreviation originally stood for “Personal Home Page.”
Since its introduction, PHP has truly come a long way. Their most current update is packed with new and exciting features. Similar to previous releases, a tremendous amount of focus was given to both speed and performance.
Need proof of PHP’s massive popularity and clout? To date an impressive 78.9% of websites use PHP! Some of the sites that use PHP include Facebook, Pinterest, and Wikipedia.
- Examine your hosting package
Last but definitely not the least, look into your hosting package. I’ll let you in on a secret: it is possible for a site to load fast regardless of the host as long as they are running LiteSpeed and PHP Ver 7.4.
It is also worth knowing that when it comes to boosting page load time, your hosting package is one of the first areas you should look into. When required, don’t hesitate to upgrade your hosting package so you can further increase conversions, improve performance, and boost speed.
Over to You
Many studies have proven that a fast website can translate to better conversions and superb user experience. Try applying some of the techniques shared above and it would only be a matter of time until you are a step ahead of everyone else!
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- Top 5 Tips to Create a Fast Website for Your New Business - August 13, 2020