In today’s world of high-speed internet and wireless on LTE networks, page speed plays an important role in user experience on sites of all nature. Page speed is the time in which it takes your site to fully display the contents of a specific web page. This is important as the longer your site takes to load, the higher the likelihood of users backing out of the page to move on to a different site. Studies have also shown that conversion rates are lower on sites that have longer than average page speed. As a result, it is important to understand what impacts your page speed as well as how it can be improved.
Here are some things to look out for.
Your web hosting service likely has an average page load speed or it caps speeds to preserve server space for other managed sites. Be mindful of the type of hosting that you sign up for, as different services offer different features that could ultimately impact your page speed. While certain services may advertise and offer the “fastest” page speeds, they may lack certain features that you will need later down the line, so be sure to find a good balance. At the end of the day you get what you pay for, so doing research on your potential hosting site is an important factor in improving page speed in the long run.
Understanding the number of visitors that your site will receive on a daily or even hourly basis is important, as it plays a large role in page speed. If too many people visit the site at once, your hosting service may not be able to handle the amount of traffic — and load times will be negatively impacted.
Visually driven websites with an abundant amount of imagery will tend to have lower speed rates, as a lot of downloading is required to load these pages. It is important to understand image formats and optimize your content around the different formats such as PNG and JPEG. A good way to minimize file size is to scale down your images to best fit the page. Unless you’re a photographer looking to show off every little detail in your photography, it isn’t always necessary to post the largest file size.
While ads may help drive revenue and allow your site to operate profitably, too many ads will ultimately drive down page speeds and negatively impact your website’s performance in the long run. It is important to be mindful of the number of ads placed on a single page as a result.
By garnering a better understanding of the factors of web page speeds and taking action to optimize your site towards faster speeds, you can expect to see improvements in average time spent on your site as well as conversion rates. Google has recently recognized that page speed plays a role in how your site is ranked through SEO as well. This is critical for websites that rely on organic traffic to bring in visitors.