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We all know how frustrating it can be waiting for a website to load. In this fast-paced world, we want everything yesterday. What you might not know is, website speed can affect your SEO, the user experience, and most importantly, your business’s bottom line.


SEO-wise, search engines review page speed as part of the algorithm that decides who appears in what position on the search results page. That means a slow site will hamper your rankings, where a speedy site will enhance them.

On the user side, sluggish websites can have an even greater detrimental impact. Nearly half of all users will leave a site that fails to load within 3 seconds, and more will abandon a transaction if it’s taking too long. Studies have shown that a 2-second delay in a transaction being processed dramatically increases a user’s anxiety about completing the purchase and, as a result, abandonment rates increase from an average of 65-70% to 87%.


That extra 20% or so can have a dramatic impact on your business’s profits. It means 1 in 5 people who would have gone on to complete a purchase, now won’t do so. In real terms, for an eCommerce site making $25,000 worth of sales per day, that is a loss of over $1.8MM in revenue per year, just because your website is slower.


So How Do You Know How Fast Your Website Is?

The first step in speed and load time optimization is to assess the current performance of your website. There are a number of free programs online that can help you do this, and many will go a step further and give you specific recommendations as to what to optimize first.

Google’s Page Speed Insights


These two tools will give your website a score and detail the issues you should prioritize to improve that score. The next step is implementation!


Making Your Website Super Speedy!

Some of the most common recommendations tie in with a number of the SEO best practices that we recommend to our clients. These include avoiding large blocks of CSS or JavaScript in your website code and optimizing your images.

Extraneous code, such as style information or JavaScript functionality, should be moved to external files. CSS should be placed in its own file whenever possible, instead of being coded directly within the webpage. This is relevant to both inline CSS (used to style a particular element) and CSS code establishing classes and IDs for consistent styling.


JavaScript can also be parsed into separate files, allowing you to have the same function on multiple pages of your site, without the need for bulky, duplicative code on every page. Chat with your programmer about the best way to do this.


Using larger images on your website can also have a huge impact to speed scores. Avoid uploading very large image files to the backend and then showing it at a much smaller width on the site – this doesn’t make the file smaller or reduce load times. For this reason, we recommend reducing the image file prior to uploading it, and compressing the image further to take up the least amount of memory, without sacrificing the resolution.

There are free online tools to compress images prior to upload. A few of these include Smush It and PunyPNG.

There will be plenty of other recommendations particular to a specific site, but these are some of the most common that we see.

Finally, don’t forget to check your mobile site, if that is separate. Mobile users expect the same performance on their smartphones as they do for desktop devices, and with mobile search growing at a rapid rate, this could be an area for opportunity if you get it right, to leapfrog your competition.


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