Website loading speed is commonly overlooked, but it’s a significant factor in the user experience, the search engine rankings, and conversions.

It has become a basic expectation that people expect a website to load quickly, whether that be on mobile or desktop.

Search engines place so much importance on providing users with a great experience, so if your website is slow, your search engine rankings are going to be low.

Page loading speed is one of the more than 200 ranking factors that Google uses. With the number of mobile users eclipsing desktop users, Google has refined its index to a mobile-first index, making page loading speeds even more important.

Looking at the numbers we know that:

  • 85% of mobile internet users expect the same site to load as fast or faster on their desktops.
  • 75% of internet users will not revisit a site if it takes longer than 4 seconds to load, according to a study by Akamai.
  • 47% of website visitors expect a web page to load in lesser than 2 seconds.
  • 40% of visitors will move on to the next site after waiting for 3 seconds.
  • For e-commerce sites, a one second delay in page loading can impact revenue by 7%.

Checking your Website’s loading speed

There are some easy to use online tools which you can use to check your page load speed.

PageSpeed Insights is a tool provided by Google that not only gives you a page speed score but also lets you know where your website stands compared to other sites.

There are other tools available to test your website loading speeds, such as Pingdom, GTmetrix and Webpagetest.

Improving a slow loading website

If you have identified that your website is loading slowly, then there are 3 things you should focus on to improve the speed.

1. Optimise your images

The majority of your page downloads are probably images. Optimising the size of your images by using a smaller size and a compressed image format (.jpg) will significantly decrease your page load time.

2. Efficient Code

A website can use different types of code, such as HTML for structure, CSS for the visual look and feel, and JavaScript for the front-end interaction. Compress and optimize your code (remove unnecessary characters and spacing) to reduce file size. You might also consider using a caching solution in order to store the latest versions of your website locally so that they don’t have to be loaded from scratch each time. This will have a significant effect on reducing page load times.

3. Hosting and Content Delivery Network

Where (and which company you use) to host your website has a big impact on your page loading speed. If you’re on a shared server solution, the chances are that it will have a negative impact on your speed. If you have a high traffic website you really need to be on a dedicated server, but if that’s out of your budget, shop around for a good shared hosting service. Have a read of our blog post on hosting (LINK)

Another way to improve your page loading speed is to invest in a Content Delivery Network (CDN).

Basically, a CDN is a network of servers that delivers content. More specifically, it’s a bunch of servers geographically positioned between the origin server, and the user requesting it, all with the purpose of delivering the content faster by reducing latency.

In Summary

The speed at which your website loads is probably as important as the content and the design of your website. But yet it’s often overlooked, the tips provided above can help you achieve better search engine rankings and a better experience for visitors to your website.