Website Speed: Why It Matters and How to Improve Yours

As a small business owner, you’re always looking to optimize your profit. A major way to do that is by optimizing your products and services to keep customers happy – happy customers mean repeat business, and they mean referrals. Making customers happy these days may very well start with your website.
Simply put: website speed can make or break a conversion. Customers these days want immediate gratification, and many would rather back out of your website and go to a competitor if your page load time is too slow. And the statistics back this up.

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Website Speed Statistics

The statistics surrounding slow website speed paint a scary picture. Let’s take a look:
• As page load time goes from 1 to 5 seconds, the probability a user will bounce increases by 90%.
• 74% of mobile users in the US would abandon a website if it didn’t load within 5 seconds.
• A 1-second delay can decrease customer satisfaction by 16%, and lower the conversion rate by 7%.

Sources: Think with Google, LoadStorm

Google Will Penalize Slow Sites

Google likes speed just like your prospective customers. Google’s algorithms will place fast-loading sites higher in the search results, as long as they are relevant. What this means is that if your website and your main competitor’s websites have similar content and similar navigation, as well as SEO optimization, your competitor’s site will still come up higher in the search results if their site loads quickly, while yours is slow as a sloth.

Google Website Speed Test

To make things easier for business owners and webmasters, Google’s Page Speed Insights features a website speed test you can use to check out how your website is doing. Be sure to run it on both your desktop and mobile phone to see the difference. Pretty much every website is going to have some issues that Google points out. It’s our job to fix those issues and get your website running fast and smoothly.

How to Increase Your Website Speed

Unless you’re a web developer, it’s a good idea to leave most of this to your SEO company. Tinkering under the hood when you’re not an expert can do more harm than good. With that warning, let’s get into how to increase your website speed.

• Compress Images
Large images on your website can slow down page load time by quite a bit. If your website has a large Gallery of finished projects or a large number of products for sale, it’s especially important to optimize images for speed. WordPress has a plug-in that can do this for you.

• Reduce and Minify Your Code
By reducing CSS and JavaScript at the top of the website and deferring it to the footer, you decrease the page load time for the user. The top of the page loads quickly while the bottom of the page that they can’t see yet loads. You can also use a plugin to minify your code.

• Allow Caching
Allow web page caching. Your website tells the user’s device to hold onto, or cache, your website for future use. Allowing caching will speed up website load speed for repeat visitors.

• Delete Unused Plugins
If you have a WordPress website, you may be constantly installing new plugins to take advantage of cool new features. But this can slow your website down, especially if you’ve had it a while. Go in and delete plugins you no longer use or need.

• Check Your Hosting Provider
In addition to streamlining your website to reduce clutter and optimize everything, you should check to make sure your hosting provider isn’t holding you back. It’s OK to make the switch from your existing hosting provider if you do your homework and find one that can save you vital seconds.

As you can see, seconds matter. Shaving a second or 2 off of your page load time can mean increased site visits and increased conversions. And of course, increased conversions mean increased business and increased profits.

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Your website speed is one of many components that affect how high you place in the search results when someone is looking for the goods or services you provide. To see how search engine optimization can help your business, schedule a FREE SEO analysis. Just call 410-420-9390 or use our contact form.
Over the years, we’ve helped hundreds of Maryland small business owners get the most out of their websites. We primarily work with businesses in Harford County, Baltimore County, and Cecil County.