Have a think back to the last time you visited a website and the page took more than just a second or two to load. It can be a frustrating experience especially if you’re in a hurry. Website speed is an important factor in the user experience, especially when visiting a site for the first time.
- Bounce, and bounce rates
- The impact of slow website speed
- What are the main causes of slow load times?
- How to test your website’s performance
- What can be done to resolve slow load times?
Bounce, and Bounce Rates
A webpage that is slow to load has a higher bounce rate than a page that is faster to load. What is bounce rate? When a user navigates to a webpage and then leaves the site right away, this is called a bounce. When you look at a sample of users, the percentage of bounces is referred to as your bounce rate.
A high bounce rate means that users are not engaging with your site or its content. Google then thinks your site isn’t relevant to those users, which means your ranking drops for the related search terms.
So as a rule, bounces, and high bounce rates are bad.
The impact of slow website speed
2017 Google research showed that bounce rates increase 90% when mobile page load time goes from 1 to 5 seconds. That is a massive drop in users to your site and potential conversion.
That is why Google is on a mission to make the web faster. They are now offering tools to web developers to test their sites and see how they stack up. Google’s PageSpeed Tools help identify the reasons why a website may not be performing as well as it could. This information can then be used by developers and webmasters to optimise websites.
What are the main causes of slow load times?
- Images or files that are too large
- The use of Flash content
- Excessive HTTP requests
- Not making use of caching techniques
- Messy code
- Not using gZip compression
- Slow hosting services
How to test your website’s performance
Here are some tools that you or your developer can use to test your website’s performance, and to get advice on how to resolve any issues:
Google’s Pagespeed Tools
Pingdom offers a range of page optimisation insights as well as website uptime monitoring
WebPagetest offers the ability to choose servers from locations all over the world to test from
What can be done to resolve slow load times?
- Engage your developer to check that none of the issues above are present
- Don’t have too many large images or files on your page
- Optimise files and images before you add them to your website
- Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Using something called a Content Delivery Network (CDN) on your website helps with the loading of larger files. A CDN is basically a network of geographically placed servers used to hold your content and deliver it to the user’s device when they try to open your page. Doing this helps reduce the load on your server and deliver a faster a smoother user experience.
There are plenty of CDN providers out there, but you will need your webmaster or developer to implement the service for you. Have a chat with them about what can be done.
Looking for more tips on how to build a great website? Check out our advice here: What Is ‘Too Artsy’ When It Comes To Websites?