It only takes half a second to get close to millions of web pages in Google searches. This speed translates to how fast the user expects to get the information once they click on the result that they have chosen.
Websites that take forever to load kills businesses. Nobody wants to wait for slow web pages anymore, the quick response is to click on another page after just a few seconds of waiting. On the average, it takes around 10 seconds before a mobile user leaves a slow loading website to go to another site. Impatience has become a trait in this digital world because when you think about it 10 seconds is really not that long. This is why it is important to know how to optimize site speed.
It has been proven through research that optimizing your website speed is one of the most cost-effective ways of getting high ROI. Lightning fast pages increase visitor engagement, retention and conversion. According to a research made by the Aberdeen Group, even a 1-second delay in page loading has shown a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction. Page views also go down 11% and conversion rates by 7%, amazing how 1 second can affect these metrics nowadays.
Developing an optimized website entails hard work. Sticking to the basics when it comes to SEO will give you an advantage over your competition. Google algorithms incorporate thousands of signals to determine search rankings. Page speed is one of these ranking signals so we now focus on this.
Image optimization is one of the basic ways to improve site speed. A general rule of thumb when it comes to images is the larger the file the longer it will take to download. High quality and bulky images are the usual culprits in slowing websites down, which may lead your visitors to leave your website.
According to the HTTP Archive, images make up 66% of the total webpage weight on average, as of December 2017.
Use an image editing software to manage your image file sizes. You can further optimize images before uploading them by using compression and optimizing tools.
Make sure that your images fit in the space you reserve for them on your website both for mobile and desktop. Proper image sizing saves valuable byte space and makes sites faster. Take note of the fixed width and auto height instructions on your site.
Choosing the right format helps a lot and the best to use is JPGs when quality is a priority. If your images have icons, logos and illustrations using a PNG format is recommended. Use GIFs only for small and simple images while avoiding BMP and TIFF formats.
Compress your JPG files to 60 to 70% to retain quality. Try to keep images to a minimum per web page if you can.
Plugins are great, but having a lot on your website decreases performance and speed. Having too many plugins that are not needed should be avoided. You should remember that when it comes to plugins, less is more.
One of the best things you can do to improve your site speed is to choose the right hosting option. New business owners tend to scrimp on hosting services and may even choose a free service. This is a service that you should need to invest in. You can start with shared hosting if your website does not have so much traffic yet. You should upgrade at once to a dedicated hosting service if traffic picks up. Dedicated hosting is the most cost-effective hosting solution for maintaining your high-performance website. Work with your budget so that you can avail of this service from the start.