Would you visit a website that takes forever to load? A slow website is such a turn-off in this fast-paced digital world. We have 4G services on our mobile and 100 Mbps speed for laptops.
So, why stick with a website that loads slowly. Do you know that a delay of two seconds can also affect the conversion rate of a site?
According to skilled.co and AI healthcare software company, mPulse Mobile:
- Pages that loaded in 2.4 seconds had a 1.9% conversion rate
- At 3.3 seconds, the conversion rate was 1.5%
- At 4.2 seconds, the conversion rate was less than 1%
- At 5.7+ seconds, the conversion rate was 0.6%
If the website loads slowly, it also affects the user engagement and traffic of your site.
It's time to speed up your website to sustain in the fierce competition of the digital world. Don't worry; there are many ways to optimize a site so that it loads faster.
But before that, let's discuss the importance of a site's speed.
Why Is It Important to Speed Up Your Website?
Website speed is the first impression that you'll make on the users visiting your site. Also, a slow website not only affects conversions but affect the overall Google ranking.
Website speed also plays a vital role in search engine optimization and domain authority. A slow website deters users, and they won't come to your site again.
Speed is also an important factor in Google's algorithm with search results. Optimizing a website for speed is the key to the success of your business.
The speed of your website matters because it was proved in a survey that more than 40% of people abandon the site if it doesn't load faster. Here's a table showing the effect of page load time on bounce rate by Pingdom.
About 50% of people expect a website to load in two seconds. The speed of your site, therefore, has a significant impact on your users.
Ways To Speed Up Your Website And Improve Conversion
#1. Use Limited Plugins
This is one of the crucial elements of WordPress website maintenance. Plugins surely enhance your site features, but too many plugins can create a problem with load time.
Plugins can cause added load that affects the performance of your site. Well, you cannot wholly avoid plugins on the site, but you can remove the ones that aren't needed.
Check for plugins that you don't use or plugins that take up your database space. Also, update plugins that are obsolete with new versions available.
Plugins cause problems in security functions too, and that affects your site's performance to an extent. So, review your site’s plugins if you want to increase its speed.
#2. Use Internet-friendly Images
Compressed images or internet-friendly images helps a website to load faster. If your site's image size is big or larger than your content, your site will load at a slow speed. So, use images that are compressed or images that you can crop.
Therefore, it is essential to optimize your site for images as having no images can also affect the site.
Change the resolution of images to make them more user-friendly but don't compromise on the quality part. Compress the images according to site data and storage.
Crop the image size to fit in so that it goes well with your content. Use online tools or Photoshop tool to compress your image size.
If you are a WordPress user, use WP Smushit to compress your images before you upload it to the website. This will help to reduce the image size while maintaining the quality of the image.
#3. Choose the Right Hosting Options
It's important to choose the right hosting plan to optimize your site’s speed. You can choose from the dedicated plan, VPS server plan, and shared hosting plan. With dedicated hosting, you have no shortage of space, but you need to work on the technical part.
VPS, on the other hand, gives you a shared server that you share with other sites, but you have your own dedicated resources. With Shared hosting, you share disk space, resources, and RAM with other hosted sites on the internet.
If your website speed is slow, shift to a VPS or a dedicated plan. This will help make it faster. The VPS and Dedicated server plans may be costly, but you'll definitely benefit from it.
#4. Optimize CSS files and JS
Optimize your site with minification and Gzipping. With minification, you can remove white space, semicolons and hex code length. Gzipping, on the other hand, finds all the links that are repetitive and replaces them with pointers.
A minifying plugin like WP Super Minify can help to combine all your Java and CSS files. Minifying the files can help increase the site’s speed. This is also a part of website optimization, and you should do this every six months.
#5. Reduce External Scripts
External scripts such as Facebook likes, fonts, commenting system, bootstraps, lead captures and pop up boxes make a new request every time a page loads. This affects your site’s speed. Thus, cut back on files and scripts that take too long to load.
#6. Reduce Website Add-ons
What really is a website add on? These are the things that you don't use on your site. These things may be responsible for slow loading time and a low conversion rate. Added codes that accumulate in your website and backups that are taken on server level are add-ons.
Even databases that have become huge with plugins that are not in use are add-ons for your website. It's important to clear these add-ons to increase the speed of your site. You can store media files externally and delete spam comments. Also, remove added backups and update your server regularly.
#7. Take Note of Page Caching
Page caching stores static data of the site that allows visitors to access the page quickly. Caching normally works for repeat visitors, but first-time visitors don't have the site cached. Enabling the function of caching can configure your site to the server level.
This will help to optimize your site and increase the speed and loading time. Use W3 Total Cache as a performance plugin for your site. If your site traffic is good, use WP Super Cache for page caching. Review your site for its performance before configuring page-caching function.
#8. Minimize the HTTP Request of the Site
An HTTP request is made for downloading elements like scripts, images, and stylesheets. Use a browser tool to see the requests made for HTTP by your site. You can use inspect option for this. In the network tab, you can see the name of all the files.
Check the time Column, as it'll show you the time taken by each file to get downloaded. You'll also see the option of requests made by the site at the bottom of the page.
You need to reduce the number of HTTP requests made to speed up your site. Also, check for files that are not important. You can simply remove those files. Minify and combine the files that are important from the list of files. This will help to reduce the size of files, and your website will load faster.
#9. Use a CDN Network for Your Site
The content delivery network (CDN) uses optimized servers and delivers web content based on location. CDN stores CSS files, PDF, images, and JS files. Use tools like Cloudflare and StackPath for running a CDN in your network.
Users visit your site from all over the world; you can keep a tab on the network using CDN. CDN requires a larger bandwidth and is not a feasible option for a new site. A CDN network will speed up your website and increase traffic.
Speeding up your website is not a requirement but a need today. Take stock of your site and delete unwanted plugins and things that you don't use. Remove all the scripts that are not required on the website.
Make use of A/B testing to increase the conversion rate by up to 40%. Small changes can also affect the speed of your site. User engagement and SEO play the basis of optimization; you need to focus on these two factors.
Great loading speed also gives your site good credibility and exposure. Have you checked your website for speed? No? Well, do it now to increase conversions!