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Loading… Why speed is crucial to site success

  • 8th August 20168/08/16
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We live in a world where almost everything is accessible online and on demand, whenever we want it. Whether you’re buying a new bike, booking a flight, ordering takeaway or searching for a new shirt, information is readily available at our fingertips.

As the online community continues to evolve, people have less time and even less patience for waiting (long gone are the days of making a cup of tea whilst the modem screeched in the background). Nobody likes waiting in queues and the same can be said for slow websites.

Figures show nearly half of web users expect a website to load in 2 seconds or less, before leaving it altogether.

Here’s why speed is crucial to site success…

User experience

When you visit your local store or go shopping on the high street, the last thing you want is slow till service and the same can be said when browsing online.

Whether your business sells products or provides a service, everything boils down to the customer’s experience. Happy customers bring repeat trade and positive feedback.

So if your website is taking too long to load, or the check-out page crashes and empties the basket, this isn’t contributing to a positive user experience.

Your website should be loading in less than two seconds if you want a customer to return and give a positive recommendation to their friends.

There are several online tests you can run by simply searching for ‘page speed tests’ or by using Google’s own review tool (called PageSpeed Insights):

https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

Site ranking

Wanting to rank better in Google? A slow site can hinder your search engine ranking. Research shows site speed is one of factors used by Google’s algorithm to rank pages.

The rational Google use is that it wants visitors to have the very best search results for the key phrase they’ve put in. Bearing in mind that people want a site to load so quickly giving them a slow loading site isn’t living up to what they’re trying to achieve, so if you’re slow, expect to rank low.

Steps you should take

If you run a small business, your website needs to be performing on all levels to compete against the big boys.

Here are some steps you can take to improve site speed:

• Reduce image sizes; these should be resized to 72dpi for your website and in jpeg format, graphics should be in a png. format.

• Make images the right size for the screen. If it’s only appearing as a small image on screen but you’ve uploaded a monster, there’s going to be a lot of compression needed to get it down to that size.

• Have a sitemap and link to it so Google knows where to go when it arrives

• Use Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) to monitor your site’s performance and identify issues, which could be slowing down your site.

• Speak to your website developer about your current hosting and if there are any quicker alternatives.

For more information on how we can help your search engine performance please give us a call on 01566 232323 or email hello@mihidigital.co.uk

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