Since every marketing campaign revolves around a website, this would be a great place to add some speed. Why? Bottom line: Time is money.
When you boil it down, websites are where the sales happen. And what’s the first rule? Make it easy. Most times, that means faster transactions, whether we’re talking about money or knowledge.
Giving your prospects and customers a faster website to experience will go a long way toward checking that box.
Today, user experience can be measured in commitment (i.e., engagement) and dollars. Pages that load in less than two seconds have a bounce rate of 9%, while pages that come with a five-second wait have a 38% bounce rate. Let’s put it another way: An e-commerce site that makes $100,000 a day could suffer a loss of $2.5 million a year—for a one-second page delay.
Growing Need for Website Speed
Internet speeds in our homes and on our mobile devices have been steadily increasing for a few decades now. What started out as a dial-up connection has been replaced by cable modems, fiber optic lines and high-speed mobile technology like LTE and now 5G. Waiting for content to load used to be an accepted and expected part of the web browsing experience but as our access speeds have improved, wait times are now often perceived as a technological failing.
To that point, Google analyzed 900,000 mobile ad landing pages in 126 countries. The short story? Most mobile sites are slow, dragged down by too many overwhelming elements.
For 70% of the reviewed web pages, it took nearly seven seconds for the content on the first screen and more than 10 seconds on the second screen and beyond to load the visual content. As part of analysis, Google used a computer system that it modeled on the human brain and nervous system along with a large set bounce rate and conversion data. The network, which had a 90% prediction accuracy, found that as page load times go from one second to seven seconds, the probability of bouncing increases 113%. And as the number of page elements increased from 400 to 6,000, the chance of conversion dropped 95.6%.
Google’s research also found that 70% of pages were more than 1MB, 36% were more than 2MB and 12% were more than 4MB. Keep in mind, using a 3G connection, it takes seven seconds to load 1.49MB.
The report used several benchmarks to reach its findings. For example, the number of individual pieces of content needed to display the entire page was one factor. The best practice was fewer than 50. The second benchmark accessed the total size of a web page, measured in bytes. Less than 500KB was found to be optimal. The third factor looked at how quickly pages loaded the content. Best practice? Less than three seconds. The fourth and final factor looked at how fast and responsive a web server is in specific categories (i.e., industries). Less than 1.3 seconds was optimal.
Most Important Website Optimization Improvement: Use Better Servers
When it comes to ensuring that your website loads quickly and reliably, the most foundational piece of the puzzle is your hosting infrastructure.
If your website isn’t hosted on a powerful server with a high-speed connection, then your page load times will suffer regardless of how well your website and content is optimized.
Every website is unique, and as such the hosting requirements for each website can vary quite a bit. Does your website have a complex database? Will you be streaming high-quality video files? Do you expect a high volume of users? These are among the myriad of questions you should discuss with your hosting provider to determine the correct level of service needed to keep your site running smoothly.
Most Overlooked Website Optimization Improvement: Resize Your Images
The proliferation of content management systems—such as WordPress—has put the power of managing and updating websites into the hands of everyday internet users. This has been useful in helping companies and individuals publish content without the constant help of a web developer, but it can also have unintended consequences on the performance of your website. This is particularly true when it comes to adding media files like images or videos to your website.
Let’s use WordPress as an example. When creating a new page or a new blog post using WordPress, the author is given the option to upload media files from their computer to insert into their content. Often, these files are full-resolution images taken straight from a digital camera or stock imagery website—they have not been resized or compressed in any way. As a result, these websites are often loading and displaying media files that are exponentially larger and more resource intensive than they need to be.
A solution to this problem is to either resize and compress your images to an appropriate size before adding them to your page or to ensure that WordPress is properly configured so that it resizes the files for you upon upload.
Building a memorable experience requires delivering on the brand promise through every touchpoint—as well as every personal interaction. A well-branded website, which is the center of every organization’s universe, maintains a consistent presence that will resonate throughout the development of all additional marketing communications.
Quickest Website Optimization Improvement: Use Page Caching Plugins
One of the most resource intensive actions that occurs when loading a website is the reading and writing of databases. When a website that uses a database—which is now the vast majority of websites—experiences high traffic, it causes strain on the database server, making a site become unresponsive or sluggish. A quick way to improve the speed and responsiveness of your website in these situations is to utilize page caching plugins. A page caching plugin will temporarily store the content of a page that would normally come from a database in a static file. When subsequent requests for that page are made, the plugin will serve the static file instead of re-querying the database.
Faster Websites, Better User Experience
At CMA we take a number of steps to ensure that our clients’ websites always load fast during web development:
- We host our websites on powerful, reliable servers with ultra, high-speed connections. We have both a physical data center and numerous cloud-based solutions. This enables us to offer the right level of hosting for websites of any size.
- We take pride in developing websites in a way that is lightweight. We write streamlined code, avoid computationally expensive frameworks, and test our work thoroughly to avoid bottlenecks or sluggish load times.
- We educate our clients on best practices for keeping their sites fast.
No matter your objective, you will need to deliver an experience that exceeds your customer’s expectations. From a website development perspective, a faster website with quicker page loads will go a long way toward increasing your conversations.
Ready to make your website convert more prospects? Contact us today.