Why Page Speed Matters
We are an impatient species. This is evident in just about everything we do– we’re accustomed to having things shortly after we decide we want them. We have information and socialization at our finger-tips, products are a quick two-day trip via an Amazon prime route (sometimes even same-day depending on the city), and our phones act as personal assistants that work 24/7. So what happens when we’re browsing the internet and a website doesn’t load as quickly as we expect? The short answer is we either get frustrated and it leaves a bad experience, or if its too slow, we navigate away from the site entirely in search of faster info. If you happen to be the owner of that slow site, that means that users of your site don’t come back, they don’t convert, and they have a negative connotation of your brand– all of which will severely impact your bottom line.
What Kind of Results you Need to Aim For
Now that we’ve established that we generally have the attention span of overly-caffeinated squirrels, you should want to know exactly how much time we will wait on average to have our content. Thanks to Google, which is more than likely your go-to search engine provider, they’ve provided the info! The general recommendation is that your site should load in, ideally, less than 3 seconds, for both desktop and mobile devices. For argument’s sake, we’re going to classify tablets as a mobile device today. Generally, desktop sites load faster than mobile devices, but with more and more people using their phones as their primary way to browse the internet, mobile speed is becoming increasingly more important as time goes on.
How Do I Know How Quickly My Website Loads?
There are a few resources but here are our favorites:
I’ve got my results, now what?
Once you’ve determined your page speed results, you should have a good idea if you need to do anything more. If your website needs some help, there will be two different categories of website owners: 1) the type that will DIY it or 2) the type that would prefer someone else handle it.
Common reasons for slow site speed
- Bad hosting. Not all web hosts are created equal. If you have slow servers and not enough resources for your site, your page speed performance will suffer.
- Extra big, improperly sized images. Big images take a long time to load. Not only should your images be sized down, they should be sized down according to which type of device your user is visiting your site with.
- Your website code. While a little more technical, this is an important one. There is a substansial amount of code behind just about any website. Too much code combined with a decent amount of innefficency leads to a slow website.
- Run your updates. With most CMS (content management systems), you will see regular pop-ups prompting you to make sure your site is up to date. Not running these will cause your site to slow down.