It’s been said that content is king. If this is true, speed is queen. And you know what they say–happy wife, happy life.
People might come to your website for the content, but if they have to wait to see it, they’ll be gone before you can say, “Give us nine more seconds of rendering time, please.”
The average attention span is eight seconds.
Time–sweet, sweet time. It matters more than anything else when it comes to your website. For example, here’s what a seemingly insignificant 1-second delay in loading time delivers, according to the Aberdeen Group:
- 11 percent fewer page views
- a 16 percent decrease in customer satisfaction
- a 7 percent decrease in conversions
See? Time rules the Internet, and she is a fickle temptress who is willing to ruthlessly cut into your bottom line over something as meaningless as one single second.
So what’s an organization to do? Boost your site’s speed.
1. Limit HTTP requests
If you believe Yahoo, 80 percent of the time it takes for your web page to load is spent downloading images, stylesheets, scripts, Flash, and all of the different components, pieces, and parts of your page. Hence, the quickest and easiest way to improve your website speed is to keep it simple.
Cut back on the number of elements on your page. Replace images with CSS whenever you can. Combine stylesheets. Put your scripts at the bottom of the page. Added together, these relatively simple changes can result in a savings of seconds in loading time. Yes, seconds! And seconds matter because 40 percent of Internet users will leave a site if it takes more than three seconds to load, according to Akamai.
2. Put first things first
If you put the important information on your site at the top of the site–above the fold, if you will–then it will load first. Even if everything else on your page takes six, seven, or eight seconds to load, at least it will be below the fold and out of sight.
3. Compress them
If you’re building a large, high-quality webpage, you could be dealing with a site that is 100kb or more. That’s a lot of data–and a lot of data takes a lot of time to load. The best way to improve the website speed of extremely large pages is to compress them.
Compressing pages reduces the amount of bandwidth your pages require, which results in a reduction in the HTTP response. There are tools you can use to compress websites, including Gzip. These tools are easy to use, effective, and ultimately help you increase your website speed.
4. Cache it all in
Caching is a wonderful thing for both website developers and users. It makes everything so, so much easier on both parties–but only if you enable it.
Caching, when enabled, stores your website’s elements on the user’s hard drive or temporary storage. As a result, the next time the user visits your page, his or her browser can load the elements without sending another HTTP request. And you already know that most of the time your pages spend loading is due to HTTP requests. Enabling caching is easy to do, and it can make a big difference to return visitors.
5. Optimize your images
This one is very, very simple: Keep your images small.
Large, oversized images take longer to load. So all you have to do is crop images to the appropriate size for your page, reduce color depth to the absolute lowest possible level, and remove all of the image comments. Do these things and you’ll likely see your website speed increase.
If you’re looking for some help in assessing your website, take our Inbound Marketing Assessment. This quick survey is meant to identify the components of your marketing strategy that are performing, and could improve. It takes a deep dive into your website assessing the performance of key conversion factors, one of them being website speed. It’s a quick and easy survey, just click the button below to get started on your way to improving website performance.