Page-loading speed has a significant impact on the visibility of a website. Slow page loading can hurt user experience, increase bounce rates, decrease conversion rates, and ultimately lower search engine rankings.
Fast page-loading speeds can encourage visitors to stay on a webpage for longer. However, it is often overlooked by website owners.
This article will explain how page loading speed affects the visibility of a website and provide proven tips on improving performance. Hang on.
So, what is Page-loading Speed?
Page-loading speed is an essential aspect of website performance and user experience. It measures how quickly webpages can load (on desktops, tablets & mobile phones) when requested by visitors.
Core web vitals, which include Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), are metrics that measure page-loading speed and help website owners understand how their website is performing.
LCP measures how long a page’s largest image or text block (main content) takes to load. FID measures how quickly users can interact with a page after it starts loading by recording how long it takes from when a user first clicks on something until it responds.
CLS measures how many (unexpected) movements/shifts occur while a page is loading and helps determine if your layout is stable enough.
Website owners should use these factors as they provide insight into the performance of the page-loading speed, allowing them to identify areas where improvements may be necessary.
The improvements can range from reducing large images or videos on the site to implementing lazy-load techniques for content below the fold.
Taking advantage of these techniques can help improve customer satisfaction, reduce bounce rates, and increase conversions.
Why Speed Matters & Why You Should Care?
Speed matters to any website because it directly affects the user experience. Speed determines whether or not someone will stay on the website or close out of it immediately.
A slow-loading page can cost a potential business customer, meaning fewer sales.
Do you need more convincing?
Look at the following data: Amazon has estimated that it could lose $1.6-billion-worth sales every year due to a page slowdown of just one second.
Just do some napkin math of what could be the loss if Amazon’s webpages experience a four or five-second delay every time a potential customer logs in. Gross! Isn’t it?
Also, slower-loading pages mean lower rankings in search engine results and less traffic overall.
With websites becoming increasingly competitive (approximately 175 websites are being created every minute!), having faster page-loading speed helps increase visibility in the digital space by providing users with smooth navigation.
See how this website loads quickly and clears all core web vitals tests.
Not only does this help convert visitors into customers and increase organic traffic due to higher search engine rankings, this means more leads, more returning customers, and ultimately more revenue for your business.
Impact of Slow Pages
The impact of slow pages is two-fold. First, they create a poor user experience for existing users by making it harder for them to navigate between content quickly.
Second, they will shoo away potential customers from your website altogether.
“Search engines prioritize sites that load quicker in their search results; this means you could be losing out on valuable traffic and potential business opportunities,” says Cristian Ward, CEO of San Diego SEO Inc.
Page Speed 101
Speed optimization begins with understanding its basics of it. The process includes
- Understanding image compression,
- Leveraging browser caching,
- Minifying HTML and CSS files,
- Using CDN (Content Delivery Network),
- Enabling Accelerated Mobile Pages (an HTML framework for optimized for easy mobile web browsing)
- Reducing redirects and more.
You can use online redirect checkers to check for redirects.
Each step is necessary to ensure better performance on desktop and mobile devices.
The Negative Effects
- User Experience (UX) — A slow-loading website can severely impact UX. It can increase page abandonment, resulting in lost sales or customers being driven away from the site.
- Decrease in Conversions — Slow-loading websites lead to frustration among users, as they expect pages to be delivered quickly and efficiently. By causing visitors to leave the page, such websites decrease the chances of conversions.
- Abandoned carts — For e-commerce sites, lag can contribute to increased abandoned shopping carts and decreased customer returns.
- Increase in Bounce rate — Slow-loading websites can significantly reduce engagement as people become increasingly impatient with waiting for content to appear. Sites with long loading times are likely to see an increase in bounce rate, resulting in fewer conversions and an overall decline in user engagement.
Measuring Page Loading Speed
Measuring a page’s loading speed is vital in optimizing website performance and ensuring visitors have the best possible experience. It can be accomplished by using various tools, both free and paid.
The first step is to determine which tools are the best for you.
If you are measuring the loading speed of a single page, then a simple online test such as Google Pagespeed Insights (free!) can provide detailed information about how your page performs. The information usually includes First Contentful Paint (FCP), CLS, and LCP.
A more comprehensive solution, such as Pingdom Full Page Test, may be necessary if you measure multiple pages.
Six Tips to Increase Page-Loading Speed
- Use CDN
CDNs are networks of servers worldwide that static cache content such as images, videos, and stylesheets and deliver these elements quickly and efficiently to users. Using a CDN can reduce latency and increase the speed of delivery of web pages.
For example, if someone in France tries to access a web page hosted in New York City, it will take longer than someone accessing the same web page from Washington due to geographical distance.
With a CDN, this delay is reduced significantly since data is sent from an edge server near the user’s location (Paris, for example) instead of from the origin server, which may be far away.
- Switch to a Performance-focused Hosting
Shared hosting plans are popular due to their low cost and simplicity. Still, they compromise on performance as resources like bandwidth, CPU power, and storage space are shared with other websites on the same server.
Performance-focused hosting often offers more resources than traditional shared hosting plans, including dedicated servers and cloud services with enhanced security measures.
Websites hosted on these special services are optimized for faster loading speeds and improved uptime compared to other types of web hosting.
Usually, performance-focused hosts allow users to scale their bandwidth according to the level of traffic they’re receiving. As a result, websites hosted on these services can handle more visitors without reducing page load times.
Besides, some performance-focused hosts provide optimization tools such as caching plugins and content delivery networks (CDNs) that help speed up page-loading time even further.
- Compress Images
One way to optimize images for page load speed is to compress them.
Compressing an image reduces its file size without compromising its quality too much, allowing it to load quicker on the web page. A few compression methods include using software like Adobe Photoshop or online tools.
Also, reducing an image’s dimensions will help shrink its file size. The optimal format for images depends on their use — JPEG works best for photographs, and PNG is better suited for screenshots and other graphics with flat colors and limited gradients.
- Enable Browser Caching
Browser caching helps the browser remember certain aspects of a website and quickly reload them when the user visits again.
The technique can improve page speed, reduce server load times, and improve user experience. It is especially beneficial for users who return to a website frequently, allowing them to access pages much faster.
To enable browser caching, one must modify .htaccess (a hidden hypertext file) by adding directives that tell browsers how long they should cache each resource on the webpage.
- Minify Resources
By minifying all applicable files on your web pages (including external files such as libraries), you’ll be able to significantly increase page-loading speed without compromising quality.
- Disable Unwanted Plugins
Plugins are pieces of software code that can enhance a website’s functionality. They are great tools but can also be your virtual energy vampires.
To ensure your site loads quickly, it’s essential to disable any plugins that you don’t need or use regularly; because not all plugins are created equal. Some plugins are resource hogs, while others (such as WP Rocket) can make your site faster to load.
Disabling resource-hungry plugins will not only help with page load speed but may also help increase security on your website. Substandard plugins can often contain vulnerabilities that hackers may exploit to gain access to a system or its data.
Removing these potential attack vectors makes it harder for malicious actors to breach your site’s security.
It’s important to note that not all plugins should be disabled; some may be essential for your website’s functionality or provide critical security updates. Before disabling any plugin, ensure it is not required by your website or any third-party applications you are using.