Why a slow website could be killing your business
December 30, 2019
The old proverb that British people love to join a queue has never been more wrong than when we discuss the internet. Online, everyone wants instant access to media. This has been the case ever since we first accessed cat videos on YouTube in 2005 via dial-up internet. The 2000s were pioneering times for many but also quite painful when most people in the UK accessed the internet via 56k modem.
In late 2019 with 4G mobile internet, soon to be 5G and super-fast fibre broadband. You could be forgiven for thinking that website speed is no longer a concern for web design. However, research regularly shows otherwise.
A highly optimised website which loads quickly provides higher returns; studies such as a recent report by HubSpot show that speed plays a significant factor in the success of your website.
For every additional second your website takes to load you lose on average 11% of search engine traffic. You will also see a 7% reduction in web conversions. Google has also confirmed that website speed is a crucial ranking factor for search engine results. To put these numbers into perspective, if you have a website earning you £250,000 you could potentially add another £27,500 to your income by decreasing load time by a single second.
With such significant wins to be gained from building websites which not only look stunning but load quickly, I have noted below just some of the tasks which I follow when creating a professional website.
How to create a quick website
Considered design; when creating a website design I always think about how the visuals will look when seen on desktop, tablet and mobile browsers. I then plan out areas of each page which should load on first paint; this is the area of the page you see first. I then use techniques such as JS deferred loading and lazy images to fetch content when needed.
Some of these techniques may sound confusing and very technical at first, but when you are creating professional websites having a transparent process and the technological know-how ensures that you create sites which show substantial revenue.
Caching; WordPress or similar sites which use a database to store data should use some form of caching. This ensures that you can reduce the time needed to fetch content afresh on every page load. I have found great success when using LiteSpeed Cache. It usually takes time to critique and test for optimum speed as the configuration is dependent on server and plugin stack, but once set up; it’s possible to see significant advances.
If your website already uses static HTML pages, a non-database site, your website will already load as quick as those optimised sites discussed above.
To further enhance the speed of your website, we can also leverage browser caching by adding additional settings to the server .htaccess file.
Image optimisation: it is all too easy to upload lots of high-res photos to your website, especially if you use WordPress or similar to manage your own content. Images play an essential role as they help to communicate your brand. However, over-sized photos are the most common cause of a slow loading website. So before uploading a 10mb photo, set the correct image height, width and compress the file size by using tinypng.com or similar. You will notice notable wins without much additional work.
Professional web hosting; this will be fairly obvious, but if your website hosting company is providing a poor service in delivering your site, no matter how carefully you work to build a quick site you will be fighting a losing battle. This is why I only use quality, professional website hosting services.
Building a successful website requires planning, design, optimisation and delivery. With so many elements involved load performance should always take an essential role within the complete process. Contact me if you would like assistance in developing a website for your project which assures positive results.