Site speed is an often overlooked, yet crucial component of conversion. A study by Akamai found that shoppers who leave before completing their purchase are three times more likely to cite slow load time as the reason for abandonment. This is largely due to how our brains process information: studies show that when things happen faster, they seem more pleasurable and less taxing on our cognitive capacity. Google also recently confirmed this in a blog on website optimization with the following tips:
- Use server push rather than sending multiple small requests from client browsers; 3) Make sure your web pages aren’t too wide so users don’t have to scroll horizontally;
- Configure the viewport to allow pages to render quickly; and
- Reduce or eliminate redirects.
All of these tips have a common theme: ensure that your web page loads fast so users don’t leave because they got impatient waiting for things to load. Unfortunately, a site’s speed is often neglected, as it does not receive the same attention as other conversion factors such as usability and aesthetics.
Analyze your site speed to find out how fast it loads currently
Figuring out where your site stands is the first step to improving it. A great tool for this is GTmetrix, which will analyze your site’s speed and give you a score between 0-100 based on how well it scores against industry standards. You can then use this information to pinpoint problem areas. For example, if you’re using a content delivery network (CDN), you might want to improve page speed but not server response time.
Make sure that both your HTML and CSS are minified so they load quickly without unnecessary data or formatting. Also, enable browser caching so that images and all other static content are available to users even if they don’t refresh the page. Another way of speeding up your site is by reducing HTTP requests for above-the-fold content. Check your web page speed with tools like Pingdom or Google PageSpeed Insights to find out how many HTTP requests you need before the page is considered loaded. GTmetrix also has a great tool for this .
Use server push rather than sending multiple small requests from client browsers
This allows the web server to send resources to the browser before they are requested by an HTML file, instead of needing smaller requests which must be responded to before all content can load.
Make sure your web pages aren’t too wide so users don’t have to scroll horizontally
Don’t force the user to scroll sideways when viewing your site. People are increasingly impatient and will leave if they need to wait for content to load, even if what is loaded is engaging. Make sure that you optimize your site for a fast load time, so the user only has to wait for content rather than having to scroll horizontally.
Configure the viewport to allow pages to render quickly
Enable client-side rendering and scaling on mobile devices by configuring your viewport. This will help speed up page display times as browsers can begin rendering immediately rather than waiting for server response.
Reduce or eliminate redirects
Redirects slow down your site because they require additional HTTP requests to find the final resource (which is what you would have originally requested). Beyond this, redirects can be disorienting for users as they return to your original page after following the link only to find that they have moved somewhere else instead.
Reduce the size of images and other media content on your site
Don’t make users wait for a lot of unnecessary content to load, whether it be video or large image files. Optimizing images can be done by finding an appropriate resolution and file format, as well as applying proper compression and setting the correct encoding.
By following these 7 tips, you can significantly improve your site speed and conversion rates. Improving the customer experience through a faster website will lead to more conversions and increased revenue for your business. If you’re not sure where to start or how to implement any of our suggestions, we want to help! Partner with us so that we can work together on an SEO plan that boosts traffic while improving your bottom line by using neuroscience in digital marketing strategies such as content creation and keyword research. What one tip from this list have you implemented?