Have you come across a new online store and want to check out its offer? You’ve entered the address and wait for the website to be loaded. You keep waiting and waiting, 10 more seconds and there is still nothing so you start getting a bit impatient. In the end, you leave the site irritated and disappointed because you hoped for some fruitful online shopping. Why hasn’t the website loaded fast enough?
Website loading time is one of the parameters which are often neglected while designing an online store or any other kind of online activity. Its importance can be often observed when the site is already implemented because this factor significantly affects the page’s operation and traffic acquisition. The situation when the website doesn’t open can actually happen to everyone, however, it’s the owner who loses the most as usually people will simply leave such a site and choose competition instead.
Therefore, if you run an online business, you need to remember about website loading time as it highly affects the number of visitors staying on your site. Consequently, it improves your conversion rate, which we’ve already discussed in one of our previous articles: How to increase sales? 12 reasons for the lack of conversion at your store.
Website loading time – how to measure it?
Do you wonder how to measure your website loading time? There are several tools that definitely make this task easier and usually also provide reasons for slow loading:
- PageSpeed Insights: this tool was created by Google. All you need to do is to enter the website address in the bar and the application will analyze everything for you. The comments in the report are very useful as they tell you what elements of the site need to be improved and what you should pay attention to. One of the major advantages of this tool is the possibility to analyze website loading time on both mobile and desktop devices.
- Test my site: this is another option from Google. This time, it’s dedicated especially for mobile devices. With its use, you can easily check how fast your website loads on smartphones. Moreover, it also compares your website’s speed with the competition in the industry. After entering your email address, it’s also possible to generate a report. The tool provides tips suggesting what can be changed in order to improve the loading of the site. It’ll also tell you what percentage of users leave your website because of its current loading speed.
- Web page test: it’s another free tool that allows you to check your website loading time depending on your location and browser type. Thanks to it, you’ll know the website speed in different places and you’ll be able to juxtapose this data.
- Lighthouse: another tool designed by Google. It offers a report analyzing the performance and quality of the website. Moreover, it gives you tips suggesting how to deal with the errors listed. The tool provides a lot of information and conducts website loading time tests.
- GTmetrix: this is a free tool that will analyze the performance of your site. Thanks to it, you’ll find out what’s your website loading time, how big is your site and images published there. You’ll get reliable recommendations and tips on how to improve the performance of your page, including its mobile version.
How to reduce your website loading time? 10 tips
- Compress your graphics: images that are too big and weigh too much have a negative impact on website loading time. They can slow down the operation of the site and consequently it won’t load fast enough. Consider converting your photos as this will reduce their size. Remember that one photo shouldn’t be bigger than 200KB.
- Reduce the number of redirects: 301 redirects are an essential SEO element when the site is moved to another URL address and you want to tell about it Google and users. However, you need to find a happy medium as too many redirects can also negatively affect your site loading time.
- Compress the data sent from the server to the user’s computer (Gzip): this is data compression which doesn’t cause any data loss but instead can have a positive impact on the website loading speed.
- Reduce plugins in CMS: WordPress, Presta or Joomla are CMSes (Content Management Systems) that require the installation of specific plugins. Unfortunately, too many of them can increase website loading time. Therefore, it’s worth organizing your plugins and getting rid of those that aren’t regularly used.
- Change the hosting: the server is very important for the website loading time. Quality doesn’t come cheap so in this case, it’s better to invest in order to improve your site loading speed.
- Static file cache: instead of a server that has to handle each file every time a browser accesses a site, a static file cache reduces caching of specific files (such as images) to a single web browser.
- Server cache: the cache generates the page once and saves it in the server memory. Thanks to this, the action (generation) doesn’t have to be repeated each time and the page is loaded much faster from the memory. There are dedicated plugins for WordPress (WP Super Cache and Litespeed Cache) which help with configuration and support server caching.
- WebP photos: this is a new image file format that ensures that your photos’ quality remains intact even though their size is reduced. It was created especially for online activities and it’s supposed to replace GIF and PNG formats. Applying it to your site will help you compress your images and improve your website loading time.
- HTTP2 protocol: this is a new version of the protocol that is worth applying to your site as it can improve its dynamics. Among its advantages we need to mention that it allows you to load the page with only one connection to the server. This and many other features have a positive impact on page loading time which is appreciated by Google robots.
Mobile site loading time
Today, most of us use smartphones to browse the net. It’s a convenient alternative for tablets and laptops. Mobile devices are very comfortable, mainly in public transport, while walking or when you’re away and don’t have access to any desktop devices. Therefore, it’s very important to ensure that your website loads fast enough on mobile devices as well. When it takes a lot of time to load the site, users get impatient, irritated and often decide to leave. Consequently, people who got so discouraged aren’t very likely to try to visit your site again in the future.
Using a smartphone should be as efficient as possible because in this case users generally need information right away. That’s why you have to make sure that your website loads fast enough on mobile devices and this will help you to improve your conversion rate and position of your site in the search results.
Website loading time vs. SEO
Website loading time is a factor affecting the whole SEO process of your site. Googlebots appreciate when they can quickly and easily check the content of a given website. It has a positive impact on SEO and organic search results.
Moreover, Google prefers websites that store less data in browsers. Thanks to that, the search engine robots rank such sites higher in the search results. Therefore, it’s worth spending some time to analyze your website loading time – it’s one of the key elements that affect conversion rate and the whole SEO process. Don’t forget about it because no one likes when the page doesn’t load fast enough.