Does the speed of a website really matter? Yes, it does! It is even more important if you make money from your website.
When you work in e-commerce, you want people to spend as much time as possible on your site. The more time a user spends on your site, the more chances you have to make a sale during that visit.
Slow websites can cause you to lose a lot of customers. In fact, this study found that for every second your website takes to load, you lose about 10% of possible customers.
It also works the other way around.
If you make your website faster, sales are likely to go up.
I recently found this interesting article that makes some good points:
When AutoAnything.com made their website faster, they were able to boost sales by 12-13%.
When Mobify made their website faster, they were able to bring in $530,000 more each year.
A case study found that websites that load in 5 seconds earn up to twice as much as websites that load in 19 seconds.
Most website traffic comes from two sources:
The first is traffic you pay for. This is the traffic you get from advertising. It will cost you.
Organic traffic is the other type. This free traffic comes from search engines and sharing on social media. Search traffic is when people use a search engine to look for something related to your website, and your site comes up in the results.
Search engines will also punish your website if it takes too long to load. This just means that fewer people are likely to find your website through a search engine if it is slow.
Lastly, a faster website has another benefit: it needs less resources. Websites that are easy to use and don’t take up much space use less resources to host and to view. By making your website use less resources, you are again making it available to a wider audience.
By making your website run faster, not only will you save money, but so will your users.
Effective Techniques To Improve Website Speed
There are some general ideas that can be used as guidelines to speed up websites:
Cut down on the amount of data that users have to download. From a user’s browser’s point of view, everything on your site is data. This information will need to be sent to the browser.
Use storing. Caching means saving data locally so that you don’t have to do expensive tasks like fetching data.
Optimize Image Usage
Try to use as few images as possible. Every picture on your website is a useful thing. This resource will have to be asked for by your browser. The more requests a browser makes, the more resources your site is thought to use.
Also, you should try to make the image as small as you can. Use compressed formats like JPEG that are made to work well on the Internet.
Level of difficulty: Not hard
CSS is what makes your website look good and adds styles to it. CSS is also a resource, just like images, but the problem is that CSS is a blocking resource.
Your page won’t show up in the browser until all of the styles have been loaded. In general, to speed up a website, you need to do the following things with your CSS:
Don’t use CSS that is embedded. It makes the page bigger.
- Use a CSS file from the outside. Caching in the browser helps external CSS files.
- Try to combine several CSS files into one so that the browser doesn’t have to make as many requests.
- Don’t use @import or fonts. They will also lead to requests from browsers.
- Your external CSS files should be shrunk.
- Level of difficulty: moderate
- To make use of browser caching, put code in files outside of the browser.
- Try to use libraries from CDNs that are well-known. Most of the time, these CDNs are the best at distributing these assets.
- Use defer or async loading if the resource is in the head of the page.
Level of difficulty: moderate
Content Distribution Networks can be used.
Content distribution networks, or CDNs, are a way to find where resources are and store copies of them. They are good for two things.
First, they make a copy of your website that doesn’t change and store it in their cache.
Two, they send the information to users through the server that is in the best place. This not only gives the user faster speeds, but it also takes some of the traffic off of your own servers.
The good news is that there are now a lot of options that are easy to use, like e.g. Akamai and CloudFlare.
Level of difficulty: moderate
The new rule for the HTML protocol is HTML/2.
HTML/2 is supported by all modern browsers, but you will have to do some work on your server to support it. All of the major CDNs support HTML/2, which is good. This means that if your website gets resources from CDNs, the browser already uses HTML/2 to get these resources. This is another reason why CDNs should be used.
Level of difficulty: Easy to hard (in case of upgrading your server)
There are some great tools out there that can look at your website and tell you what you can do to make it better.
Notable mentions are:
- HTTP Archive
It’s hard to run a business online. You are always competing with other businesses for customers. It’s very important that you put some money into making your website load faster. It can do nothing but help your business.
If your head is spinning, don’t worry. It’s easy to hire a seasoned web developer to help you with the technical details to make your site super fast.