Your website is meant to grab your visitor’s attention and keep them on your site. You want them to navigate the pages and ultimately connect with you deeper, buy your products or, book your services. But in order to do that, they have to stay on your site instead of clicking away. It’s important to ensure that you are doing the right things to keep them on your site longer.
The speed of your website is vitally important, as there is a direct correlation between the loading time of your website and bounce rate (the number of people that leave your site prematurely).
To better explain this term ‘bounce rate’ picture a busy high street, where there are loads of people walking around, looking for a solution. They’ll wander around a few different stores, and as the store owner, what you really want is that person to spend a reasonable amount of time in your store as this will greatly increase the probability they’ll spend money, and the more time they spend, normally, the higher the order value. This is why big brands invest so much in visual merchandising.
Picture a frustrated store owner that has plenty of customers walking in, but as soon as they walk through the front door, they turn around and leave. This means that whilst they have high traffic, they have very low engagement and therefore people simply don’t buy anything. This is what is meant by the term high bounce rate.
When it comes to a website, it’s even easier to leave, as it’s simply a click of the mouse! There’s no effort required – you didn’t park the car and walk down the street, and there’s no emotional commitment – in the sense that you don’t see the shopkeeper’s heartbreaking as you turn straight back.
In an increasingly impatient world, particularly online, where people are bombarded with content choices and overwhelmed with options, ensuring the optimum load speed of your website is one of the most important aspects of website design.
See, you can have the most engaging marketing campaign such as when IT firm, Netstar did a Planet Earth Parody but unless your site loads at lightning speed you’re simply not going to have people stick around to engage with it.
Similarly, you can have the most beautiful website in aesthetic design terms, but if it doesn’t load quickly enough, nobody is going to wait around to see it. This is where understanding the difference between a web designer and web developer comes in; as the web designer will make it look good whilst the web developer will make it run fast, behind the scenes.
Let’s now take a look at three DIY things you can do to improve the load speed of your website.
Load speed can be contingent on your hosting provider.
Hosting is something you seriously want to consider before committing to a provider; comparing the reviews of each hosting service before committing to one, particularly with regard to downtime (you want this to be extremely low) and download speed (the higher the better) if the best bet. If you have a high volume of traffic to your site you might want to consider upgrading from the standard ‘shared hosting’ to private hosting.
2. DEACTIVATE AND DELETE UNUSED PLUGINS
There are many plugins on offer that can provide all sorts of advanced functionality to your site, but sometimes, websites are incredibly sluggish to load due to being clogged up with far too many plugins. There’s an element of a ‘child in a candy shop’ when it comes to selecting plugins, in that some business owners and even web designers feel the more the better… but this can seriously impede load speed.
The first place to look is the reviews for the plugin itself, and then if your site is slow to load try using a page speed test with the trial and error method of deactivating each of your plugins to see how they affect the load time of your site. Additionally, if you are not actually using a plugin, then delete it, rather than keeping it on your website installation.
3. OPTIMIZE IMAGES
There are two core aspects to focus on when it comes to how images impact upon the load time of your site; size and format. Many website owners use massive images and then scale them down using CSS.
The best option is to resize your images before you upload them to your site – using an image editor such as Photoshop. Something to consider, however, is that if your image is being viewed on a retina device, then you might want to upload an image scaled at 200% of what you wish it to appear on a web browser – in order to ensure the image is displayed crisply on retina screens.
In terms of the format of your images, JPEG and PNG are the best options. JPEG is the most popular, because some older browsers don’t support JPEG. Try to avoid using GIFs, BMPs or TIFFs.
This post was done in collaboration and may contain affiliate links.