How a Slow Website is Detrimental to Conversions
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How a Slow Website is Detrimental to Conversions

24/10/2016

Does your website loading speed affect sales? The answer is yes, as this matter is closely related to users’ online behaviour. Luckily, you can improve this.

People don't like waiting for a site to load. If it takes too long, they move on to the next one. Thus, not only do they miss out on your offer, they also fail to share your content with friends, family and colleagues. You're simply letting customers slip away.

Test your site’s loading speed

A handy tool for this is Google's own Page Speed Online. This is available in Google Labs as a Chrome browser extension. Also, the Page Speed plugin for Firefox can accomplish this or the widely employed Google Analytics plugin. Run a check for your domain to see how it scores. Moreover, you will obtain info on the elements that are slow to load and need urgent improvement. The nature of these suggestions is usually highly technical, so only a web developer is qualified to make those fixes.

How can you decrease page load time?

Making your website load faster requires coding knowledge. Here are some helpful suggestions:

1. Using GZIP compression – The chosen web host should be able to use GZIP compression on its servers. Files can thus be 70% smaller, with no loss of quality.

2. Image optimisation – When you employ the “Save for web” option, your images are downsized conveniently. The feature is usually available in programs like Photoshop.

3. Stop relying on HTML – It's easy to create smaller graphics with HTML, but loading will still take just as much time. The browser simply loads the original image, only to resize it afterward.

4. Use cache plugins – This will cache each page's latest version to be displayed, so the browser will be spared from generating the page over and over again.

5. Avoid too many redirects – A 301 Redirect can change the website structure without any loss, but when you're using too many, it's extremely confusing to the browser, slowing it down.

6. Rely on a content delivery network – Amazon Cloudfront, for example, is a CDN that works based on the user's location. It will access faster servers located in the user's proximity that helping the site load quicker.

Load times matter to Google

Google has tasted the page load speed for sites appearing in top positions on search pages, as well as for those that are right behind them. The test showed that a difference as small as 0.5 of a second can make users prefer a website over another. However, this does not affect search result rankings, as Google has over 200 features to base its calculations on.

Load speed vs. SEO

Some obsess over SEO, while others over page load speed. It's important to keep all aspects in check. Load speed does matter – even more so when you want to have returning customers, as it is directly connected to their online behaviours. Optimise website speed and you will avoid compromising your conversion rate.

In many situations out there, websites take several seconds to fully load. Decrease these times and you will augment the trust factor, getting more customers to your business and encouraging them to share their experience with others.

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