Looking for optimizing your website conversions? Website performance and page load speed are critical factors in decreasing bounce rates and improving conversions. This blog is all about how to improve your page speed to boost your conversions.
Website optimization includes improving every aspect of the website to improve conversion rates. One critical element in website optimization is website speed optimization which means optimizing the page load time for your website. Page load time or Page speed is simply the time it takes to fully load the content on a specific page. Don’t confuse Page speed with site speed. Site speed is, in fact, the page speed for a sample of page views on a site. So, page speed or site speed- it’s all measure of how fast the pages load on your website. So how important is the page speed? What the hell if your pages take a few extra seconds to load! How can it impact your business? In this blog, we discuss the importance of page speed and what you can do to improve it. We give you some efficient tips on how to optimize your website speed to increase your conversions and thereby decrease bounce rates.
All of us do agree we live in a fast-paced world. With eCommerce retailers offering same-day delivery options and mobile apps available for booking cabs and reserving a table for dinner in popular restaurants, is eliminating the need to wait for many things in our life and the demand for instant results is seeping into multiple aspects of our lives. All these are just making us less patient. Yeah, we don’t like to wait for anything anymore. Patience is a good old quality which really needs some attention as most of us in this generation are losing our grip on it. Well, we are not going to work on improving your patience here, but something that gets affected by the impatience in people. That is the page load speed.
Think about the last time a web page did not load as soon as you clicked the link and had to wait for a few minutes. Did you not just close the tabs and move away? That’s what happens with every average web user today. Frustrated users often abandon the slow loading pages just because they do not want to wait. If you don’t have a fast website, mind it people will bounce faster. Below is the results of a study done by Google using deep neural networks with a large set of conversions and bounce data. It shows that as page load time goes from 1 second to 10 seconds, the probability of a visitor bouncing increase to 123%.
Here is an infographic from Kissmetrics, on how loading time affects your bottom line.
The data says, 47% of the customers expect a page to load in less than 2 seconds and 40% abandon the site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Coming to conversion rates, a 1-second delay in page load time can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. Well, al these simply imply every second a web page takes to load counts.
Not just your users, even Google loves fast loading pages. Yeah, did you know that the Google search ranking algorithm considers Page speed as an important factor to rank pages? Yeah, It is! In addition to this, slow page speed also means a decreased crawl rate. Thus a Googlebot can crawl only fewer pages using their allocated crawl budget, and this could negatively affect your indexation.
Thus, to build a conversion optimized and search engine optimized website, speed is a critical factor. But sadly speeding up your website is no easy task and it is often hard to even diagnose what is the cause for your website being slow. You may not be able to figure out is it the code or the images? There can be many reasons for your web page to become slow. Here are some of the common reasons for slow pages.
Reasons for slow page speed
- A server is slow to respond to the request.
- Large page size
- Requested resources embedded in page are large in size.
- Page contains server-side code that requires significant processing.
- Slow database.
- Page manipulates a lot of data before responding.
- Rendered page on the client contains a lot of code and runs slowly.
- A client is slow to resolve IP from the domain.
- The network between client and domain is slow or congested.
- More Analytics tags in the webpage
- Unoptimized images
- Pages contain Ad Code network
Tools to measure Page Speed
The first step to optimize your web page performance is to measure your page speed and know exactly where you stand. Luckily, there are many tools that allow you to measure your page speed. Given below is a list of the most popular tools that can be used.
- Google PageSpeed Insights: This tool from Google provides reports on the speed performance of your pages on both desktop and mobile devices. The tool gives you a PageSpeed score based on the performance and also provides suggestions on how to optimize the page speeds for a particular webpage.
- Pingdom: Pingdom is an online tool that allows you to monitor your website’s performance. The tool also provides alerts whenever your pages are down you can get to know the root cause for issues.
- Yslow: Yslow is a free browser add on that analyzes web page’s performance based on Yahoo’s rules for high-performance websites. It summarizes the page’s components and offers suggestions on improving the page’s performance as well.
- GTMetrix: GTMetrix is a free tool that analyzes your page’s speed performance. It gives you a detailed assessment of the performance of your webpage by providing PageSpeed and Yslow scores and recommendations. It also provides Page load details- time, size, number of requests, various analysis options, video, waterfall charts, and reports history.
- WebPageTest: WebPage tests are a tool that allows you to run a free website speed test from multiple locations around the world using real browsers and at real customer connection speeds. The tool even lets you perform advanced testing including multi-step transactions, video capture, content blocking, etc. It provides results with detailed information, charts, and suggestions for improving page performance.
How to optimize for page speed?
Here is a list of top 10 tips to improve your page speed.
- Compress Images: Everyone love beautiful webpages with rich and attractive images. No doubt images play an important role in attracting visitors and improving engagement. But, the sad part is images are usually large files that can potentially slow down a webpage. Compressing your images is the best solution for this. you can reduce image size without compromising its quality using tools like JPEGmini, Optimizilla, Kraken, etc.
You can use tools like PurgeCSS to remove unused CSS and shrinking compulsory CSS.
So how can you use a browser cache for your site? Well, luckily for CMS systems like WordPress, you have a lot of plugins like WP Super Cache, W3 Total cache, etc, available today that allow you to leverage browser caching. These plugins will cache the latest version of your pages and display it to your users so that the browser is not forced to reload the entire page every time.
- Use a Content Delivery Network: A Content Delivery Network (CDN) sometimes also referred to as Content distribution networks are networks of servers that are used to distribute the load of delivering content. Basically, it is several copies of your website across a number of locations letting the closest server provide data to local users, making loading speed faster. One popular CDN is Amazon CloudFront.
- Minify your HTML: The space that your HTML coding takes is an important factor in determining page speed. The process of minimizing this space by fixing your HTML code, removing unwanted code or data, shortening code wherever possible, etc, without affecting the page functionalities is called minification. There are plugins available for HTML minification like the HTML Minify.
- Implement Gzip Compression: This is an effective way to improve your page speed by reducing the size of files. GZip compression can minimize HTTP requests and files before sending them to the browser and reduce the server response time. At the user end, the user’s browser unzips the files and presents the page content to the user. GZip can be enabled on your pages by adding code or data compression utilities like gzip.
- Check your plugins: Plugins are a great way to optimize your website and there are tons of plugins available for cms platforms like WordPress which has many utilities and makes it quite easy to achieve many essential features easily for your websites. But the sad part, the more plugins are installed, the more resources are needed to run them making the website slower.
As time passes, the number of plugins goes on increasing and many times most of them would have become redundant. So always keep a check on all the plugins you have installed and delete the unnecessary ones. Running performance tests on your page to find out which plugins are slowing down your website and using better plugins instead of them can help improve your page speed. Always, try to avoid plugins that load a lot of scripts and styles or generate a lot of database queries.
- Implement AMP: With the increase in the number of users accessing web pages from Mobile devices, it has become important to optimize your web page performance for mobile devices as well. You can make sure your site loads quickly on mobile with Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). These pages serve as alternates to your regular website pages with stripped-down content with all the clunky features that don’t work well in mobiles removed, so the user only gets a more streamlined experience with the most important information available.
- Use database optimization in CMS: Database optimization is an effective way to increase the page speed and performance of your web pages. If you are using a content management system (CMS) with many plugins, the database size increases which slows down your website. Say the WordPress CMS stores all your comments, blog posts, and other information taking up a lot of data storage. Each CMS will have its own optimization measures and specific plugins available for the purpose. WP-Optimize is a popular plugin used for WordPress sites commonly.
- Choose better hosting providers: When it comes to hosting, basically there are three types of hosting available- Shared hosting(where you share CPU, disk space, and RAM with other sites), Virtual private servers (where you have your own part of the virtual server where your configurations don’t influence other clients) and dedicated servers (where you get your own physical server). Obviously, dedicated servers are the fastest and the most expensive.
Not many of us may be able to afford a dedicated private server, but there are options that will allow us to get faster servers by choosing better hosting providers. So do your research before you pick your hosting provider.
Measuring your website performance regularly and taking measures to ensure it loads without delays is very important to reduce your bounce rates. Slow web pages give your users a reason to exit your site prematurely. You might have to take different approaches to optimize your website performance based on your platform, content, etc. But I hope the tools and guidelines mentioned here can be a quick checklist in helping you with the entire process of website performance optimization for providing a better user experience to your visitors.