Losing customers and seeing a drop in conversions can be very devastating especially when you realize it's all due to your website taking too long to load all its content.
And in this modern age of mobile internet use, 'long' would be more than three seconds.
Previously, we discussed why sites needed to load quickly. Here, we will look into what causes pages to load slowly and what can be done to shave off a few precious seconds.
What Affects Loading Time
Here are several factors that could be the cause of pages loading very slowly.
This is the total size of all files on a single webpage. High-quality or large volumes of content will add to the time it takes for a page to load completely. So, while content is king, too much of it can sometimes be problematic.
Too Many Redirects
A redirect sends the user to another web address, either within the site or outside of it. While implemented for SEO, every time a user clicks on a redirect, a small delay is added to the time it takes to load your content. Thus having too many redirects can slow things down a lot.
Where your server is located does have an impact on loading speed, especially if your website and its content need to travel a long way to reach a user. For example, if a user is in Asia and they are trying to access your site in the USA, the site will load slowly on their end.
While websites won't have problems loading on modern and up-to-date web browsers, older browsers on older gadgets will have trouble loading content that is not coded for them. This will result in the site loading very slowly or not at all.
Unfortunately, not everyone will have a great internet connection, which will lead to websites loading very slowly (if at all) no matter how optimized your website is. While it is out of your hands, there are a few things you can do to mitigate this.
Reducing Website Loading Times
Here are a few things you can do to improve the loading times for your website.
A process of modifying the page's source code (such as CSS and HTML) by removing unneeded or excess characters to improve page loading speed. Minifying code or script files helps reduce the volume of information that is downloaded as the page loads on a user's device.
Content Delivery Network
Also known as a CDN, it is a collection of servers set up in various locations to help reduce the time it takes for site content and data to reach a user. The perfect answer to hosting location issues, and is also great for keeping your site online in the event of a network failure.
While adding links that lead to the content inside and outside of your website as part of SEO, do reduce the number of redirects you have on your pages. The fewer redirects your users need to go through means fewer delays in the loading of web pages.
Optimizing images on your website can drastically reduce the loading times of your pages. You can choose to resize the images (as smaller images mean smaller file sizes), have them cached on the user's browser, or use compression techniques to reduce file size but maintain quality.
Optimize Your Servers
One last thing you can do is look to your servers and check for anything that could be hampering server response times. To improve server performance, and thus provide better page loading times, look for anything that could cause delays or create memory problems.
Caching helps reduce page loading times by creating and saving copies of pages from your website onto the server. This way, when a visitor goes to your website again, a fresh page won't need to load. Instead, this static HTML version of your page can be shown to the visitor.
Taking steps to improve your page loading speed will definitely help maintain your conversion numbers and keep possible customers from clicking away when your site takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
All you need to do is check your content, your website, and even your server for anything that could be contributing to slowdowns. Fix them as you find them and keep everything optimized for better numbers and performance.