Why page loading speed should be a top website priority

Website Page Loading SpeedIn a recent blog where we depicted several reasons why potential customers may be put off from converting, we briefly discussed how page loading speed may be an important factor. Without really offering much of an explanation why, we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to expand and present the importance of page loading speed on every website.

With 47% of consumers expecting a webpage to load within the first 2 seconds, the margin for error is such a fine line as a further 2-second delay can see transaction abandonment reach the heights of 87%. In fact, the total cost of abandoned shopping carts for online retailers as been estimated at more than £12 Million per year!

Inside our Page Loading Speed guide, our Cheshire web development team will offer an insight on the most common problems and how you can look to measure and monitor the page loading speed going forward.

Why Is Page Loading Speed An Important Factor?

As you may already know, Google are obsessed with speed and following the introduction of Google AMP, this isn’t something they look they will be getting bored with in a hurry!

The first indication of search engine signals first appeared in 2010 when Google announced they were including page loading speed as a new signal in their search algorithms and had this to say about it… “Speeding up websites is important — not just to site owners, but to all Internet users. Faster sites create happy users and we've seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there. But faster sites don't just improve user experience; recent data shows that improving site speed also reduces operating costs”.

Potential Page Loading Speed Problems

Cheshire Web Agency Website Report ExampleMultiple Large Unoptimised Images

The most common suspect of page loading speed is usually caused by uploading new images onto your website. Although it may seem harmless, business owners will always want to showcase a new project with a gallery or perhaps add a slider containing images promoting a new seasonal product range right? Without checking, you are most likely uploading images at their highest dimensions which do maximise quality but take an age to download.

The Solutions

For those of you who consider yourselves as a novice Adobe Photoshop or Fireworks user, you will probably be aware of the ‘Save for Web’ feature which will help compress and reduce the size of your images. In most cases, clients will personally email images across so we always make sure our websites never contain any unnecessarily large images.

If your website is built on WordPress, there is another neat little trick that you can implement which takes all of 2 seconds… Install the plugin Jetpack and once you have verified the plugin with your personal WordPress account, you can simply tick a ‘Performance & Security’ box which help speed up images and photo’s.

Browser Caching

When visiting a website, the browser will send the files downloaded to display the website into a temporary storage location on your computer. Files that are cached usually consist of a document that include html files, CSS style sheets, javascript and any other type of multimedia content that make up your website. When you revisit the website, the browser will check to see if the files have previously been stored then update files that were not previously stored or have been updated. This method reduces bandwidth for both the user and server allowing the page to load faster.

The Solutions

For the more technical computer user, you can enable browser catching on both your browser and server by modifying the settings. Although there are WordPress plugins out there, WordPress clients of ours have a cool feature manually installed in the back-end of the website titled ‘Flush Cache’. With a simple click of a button, this will improve the loading time instantly.

Adobe Flash

Although visually stunning and great for creating vector graphics, animations and various games, Flash can seriously drain the loading speed for any website. In a mobile friendly age, less flash is most likely the best choice when it comes to implementing a website intended for being fit for purpose.

Poor Website Hosting

In some cases, while cheap website hosting may seem cost effective, it can also be the downfall of poor page loading speed, especially when shared. If your website receives a high volume of traffic, or you need to make some significant configuration changes, there is every chance that your website hosting may not be able to withstand what’s going on.

Google Analytics Website Speed MeasureHow to measure your website page loading speed?

Starting with the free version, Google Analytics will provide some insightful information about your website including the average overall load time of your website along with informing you which pages are specifically letting you down. To find this data, once in you have logged into Google Analytics, you can access the information in the ‘Behaviour Tab’ then choosing ‘Site Speed’.

This paid version is something many of our clients will already be well aware of this service which has benefitted their websites. This service is called WPG which is otherwise known as Website Performance Group.

Running sophisticated online measurement software, WPG provides detailed findings and recommended actions is consolidated into a report. From here, our Cheshire web-design team implement the requirements then report to clients on a monthly, quarterly, bi-annual and annual basis based on your support subscription package.

Cheshire Web Agency Website Report Tool

Example of a WPG Report.

Call to Action

If you would like a free WPG website measurement evolution report or if you are interested in purchasing a monthly, quarterly or annual WPG subscription package, why not get in touch with a member of our Cheshire web design team? Feel free to give our Knutsford office a call on 01565 653616 or drop us a quick email at [email protected]