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Introduction To Website Speed Optimization
Have you ever been on a website that took ages to load? And by ages, I mean 5 seconds or more. (In the real-world, however, 5 seconds isn’t so bad. In fact, 5 seconds is fast).
How long does it take you to get from your house to your office? Or how long does it take you to brush your teeth? I’m absolutely, positively sure you don’t get either activity done in 5 seconds!
So, why does it matter if a website takes 5 or more seconds to load? Why do we ‘hate’ sites like these? (Admit it, you dislike waiting and staring at your computer or mobile phone screen as a web page loads ever so slowly!).
The Internet and Instant Gratification
The answer lies in our desire for instant gratification. We’re living in a fast-paced world, and we want things to happen when we want them to happen! Of course, in many situations, instant gratification is impossible no matter how hard you will it to become possible.
In the online world, however, we’re all spoiled for choices. We’ve got blazing-fast Internet connections at home, at work, and even while on the go.
When we type something on Google (or whatever your favorite search engine may be), we want answers right away. We expect information to magically appear right in front of us with just a single swipe or a single mouse click.
When we click on a link, and it takes more than a few seconds to load, we hit the back button so hard our fingers literally throb with pain. We go back to Google and click on another link until we find a website that loads instantly.
What A Slow Website Means For Your Business
If you own a slow website, then you’re losing tons of high-quality traffic which translates directly to lost leads, lost sales, and lost revenue for your business.
By high-quality traffic, I’m referring to the fact that these are people who purposely typed something into Google looking for information that’s
directly related to your service. That’s why Google offered up your site – it thinks your content is relevant to what the user is searching for.
If people leave before your site even loads, then you really can’t blame them now, can you? After all, you’re not the only website on the Internet. You’ve got tons of competition. Why should they bother waiting for you if they’ve got better and faster websites to check out?
Instead of your site getting all that traffic, it’s your competitors benefiting hugely from your slow website! They’re the ones getting all that free traffic. They’re the ones getting people to sign up to their mailing lists. They’re the ones people are buying stuff from and booking appointments on. NOT YOU.
If your website weren’t slow in the first place, then people wouldn’t have clicked on that back button to go check out your competitors. They would have remained on your website. They would have read your awesome, valuable content. They would have signed up to YOUR mailing list. They would have bought YOUR product and YOUR services.
So, what can you do then?
Well, at this point, giving up shouldn’t be an option especially if your site’s already ranking on Google. You’ve also spent a considerable amount of time creating and setting up your website, making sure it looks good, writing good content you know people and search engines will love.
You’ve invested time, money and energy into your web property. You can’t quit when you can tweak your website to make it run as fast as it possibly can!
What you’ve got to do now is work on optimizing your website’s speed by making it run as fast and as efficiently as possible. You’ve come this far so tweaking your site to make it run faster is a must.
The Benefits Of Having A Fast-Loading Website
If you haven’t already guessed, there are a ton of benefits associated with having a speedy website. As we’ve demonstrated in our earlier examples, these benefits are very real and tangible, not imaginary.
Here are some of the top benefits:
1. You retain your website visitors
A fast loading website will help you retain your website fasters. They won’t feel compelled to hit the back button on their browsers to go check out your competitors. Instead, they’ll stay on your site and read what you have to offer.
But here’s the thing – if you truly want your visitors to stay and keep on coming back for more – then you need to have outstanding content on your site. It doesn’t matter how fast your website is if your content is just copied and pasted from somewhere, or worse, spun and computer-generated content!
(While Google is cracking down on sites like these you’d still come across ‘garbage’ sites every once in a while.)
The important thing to take note is that you’ve got to think about your site visitors. Why are they on your site? If you give them what they want, then they’ll be happy visitors. However, if you give them content that don’t give any value, then your fast-loading website isn’t going to do you any good at all.
2. Better conversion rates
All webmasters ideally want to have a hundred percent conversion rates for their websites. But this hardly happens in real life. Depending on the industry and the offer, many online businesses are happy with a 10% (or thereabouts) conversion rate. In many cases, that’s even considered an above average number.
When you have a speedy website, people tend to stay on your site and check out your services and your products. If your site is well-designed and you follow the best practices for maximizing conversions, then chances are you’ll have good conversion rates, too.
However, if you don’t follow the best strategies and techniques for improving conversion rates, then your speedy website is not going to help improve your bottom line at all. So, make sure you read up on what’s working in your industry so you can put your fast-loading site to good use!
3. Positive user experience
Your new website visitors are going to judge your brand or business by how fast your website loads. If you’ve got a slow site, you’re literally losing the opportunity to gain their trust. Your website will come off as unprofessional, something that’s unworthy of their time, so they’ll leave until they find a website that will value their precious time.
Fast websites, on the other hand, have much higher chances of getting their audience’s trust. When pages load quickly, it tells the user that your brand values their time and that you’re going to make it worth their while to spend a little more time on your site.
If you’ve also got great content on your site, then that adds to the positive user experience, too. People will be more willing to sign up to your mailing list, they’ll be happy to purchase your products or your services, and they won’t hesitate to recommend your website to their friends on social media!
This, in turn, leads to even more visitors to your site which further increases the likelihood your website could go ‘viral’ and get you plenty of new visitors in the process!
4. Better rankings on Google and other search engines
Search engines work hard to provide the best experience possible to their users. This is is why they have algorithms and metrics to rank websites for various keywords. There are billions of websites on the Internet, and they
have to figure out a way to make sure the top spots go to the best websites.
No one knows precisely what all the ranking factors are (it will be so easy to cheat the system if everyone knows what the ranking factors are), but website/page speed is one of them. The faster a web page loads, the higher the chances that it’s going to rank high on Google and other search engines.
What this means is that if you’ve got a fast-loading and high-quality website which offers valuable content to users, then search engines are going to love you. They’re going to reward you with high rankings on their search pages.
This is why optimizing your site for SEO (search engine optimization) is so important. If you succeed, then you’ll get highly-targeted, free traffic for as long as your site is on top of search pages!