Your website has many plates to spin at the same time.
First, the visuals must be attractive enough to grab visitors and keep them engaged. Your layout must be clear and well-structured enough to navigate with ease. Your content must be well-written, easy to scan, and appropriate for your target demographic.
However, one area you might not give enough consideration is speed.
According to computer scientists, a website which is more than 250 milliseconds slower than its direct competitors will receive fewer visits. While this might sound absurd, it is testament to the convenience consumers crave today.
The longer a page takes to load (by the second), the less time a user is likely to invest into it. A page that takes 10 seconds to load, for example, is around 40 percent more likely to be abandoned than one which loads immediately.
The internet gives consumers an incredible range of choice, and the power is in their hands: if a website cannot deliver the quality of service they look for, there are others that will.
Makes Images Smaller … Or Lose Them Altogether
One factor that determines how quickly your pages load? Images. Big, big images.
Visual content is a major part of building engaging websites (with images processed 60,000 times quicker than text by the brain), but getting the dimensions right is key. To start with, keep images between 500 and 800 pixels in width, with 72 dpi.
If a particular page features several large images, this will cause slow-down. Reduce their size, or replace them with thumbnails that lead the bigger versions to open in another window (generating thumbnails is fairly easy, and there is a variety of tools designed for this).
Revise Your Animation Software In A Flash
Flash can be problematic, as anyone who has been pestered to update it again and again will attest. Animation using Flash is often time-consuming enough to slow pages down considerably.
However, you can avoid this by trying Adobe Wallaby.
This tool will translate the majority of Flash elements into a HTML5 format, embedding it into any page’s standard code. With this free tool, you can avoid slow load times and, as a result, frustrated users.
Make The Most Of Caching
As users visit a new website for the first time, their browser has to request scripts, text, pictures, and more from the domain’s server. All of this is then stored in said browser’s cache, to make repeat visits quicker due to only the unique elements being downloaded (logos, for example, will remain the same, so this can be pulled from the cache in next to no time).
Today, browsers make caching easier than ever. Local Storage, for example, keeps data in the browser itself rather than the site’s server database. Also, Application Cache allows for web apps able to run offline, which helps the site run faster, as the browser itself can load resources instead of making users wait for the server.
Try PageSpeed Insights For Expert Tips
Google’s own Webmaster Tools offers plenty of quality resources, and one of the most helpful is PageSpeed Insights.
PageSpeed Insights analyzes a website in both mobile and desktop formats.
Scale Back Your Java Scripts And Plug-Ins
As well as pictures and text, websites have much more to tackle, using plug-ins and Java scripts. For example, social-media buttons for sharing content, forms, page tabs, and other elements are present on most websites.
Having so much activity can cause your site to slow, particularly as browsers load pages from the top down. This means if there is a slower Java script towards the start of a page, this has a knock-on effect for the rest, causing stalling all the way down.
Plug-ins tied to other sites are an obvious speed-killer, especially if the external site features its own performance issues. To speed your site up, consider removing plug-ins and Java scrips you don’t necessarily need, or spread them across more pages where possible.
Nett Solutions is an Orange County SEO agency dedicated to revolutionizing your online performance, creating a better UX for your customers. We can offer expert advice on speeding your website up, so feel free to get in touch.
Image via Wikipedia: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/72/Speed_limit_80_sign.svg/2000px-Speed_limit_80_sign.svg.png