Why website loading speed matters
Do you want to get as many visitors to your website as possible and have them stay there for a while? Then you need to make your site as fast as possible. Loading speed is one of the factors that affect how a site ranks in search results. In addition, the slow loading of the website is the main reason why visitors who have already reached the website will leave again quickly. And what if a slow or even broken website damages your business?
In addition, users are increasingly accessing the web from mobile devices, where slow loading is even more noticeable (and annoying) than on desktop.
Studies show that:
– 47% of users expect the page to load in 2 seconds
– 40% of users leave after 3 seconds of loading
– 46% of online users decide whether to return to the site based on its speed
– an optimised site should load within 3 seconds
How fast is your website?
Step 1 is figuring out whether you really have a problem with website loading speed. You’ll be able to assess that by using any of the following tools:
If you get a result of 3-second loading speed or more, we recommend you take a good look at why that is the case. There are many factors that can affect website speed. Here are the most common ones.
Major website slowers
Excessive website size
The larger the page, the longer it takes to load. The ideal page size is up to 3MB. Page size is affected by the number of images, videos, fonts, styles, and other graphic elements. If you have more than one image on the web, focus on compressing them. This can be facilitated by a wide range of plugins, such as Smush for WordPress.
Proper caching can effectively speed up the web. Caching is, simply put, the storage of information in specialised repositories, from where it is possible to work with them quickly, and therefore it does not have to be retrieved from remote servers.
One of the options is making use of a CDN. CDN is a network for faster content delivery. It helps speed up websites by storing static content (images, videos, HTML code,…) in key locations, reducing the distance between a visitor to your site and the server running the site. In addition, CDN storage works on the basis of fast SSD disks, thanks to which they not only provide a closer distribution of content to your users but also help in the speed of loading this content.
Too many HTTP requests
The solution is to switch to HTTP/2. Unlike older versions of HTTP, which communicated in text form, HTTP/2 is binary and allows many more requests to be transmitted over a single connection. When switching to HTTP/2, there is an acceleration in the order of 100ms to 1 second.
We recommend that you ask your hosting provider if they support HTTP/2 and if your site also runs on HTTP/2.
Outdated application versions
Outdated versions of applications can slow down and even jeopardise your site. A large number of websites are programmed in PHP. However, there are big differences between the older version of the language (PHP 5) and the new version of PHP 7. The performance difference can be up to 50% and some functions in the newer version of PHP 7 are many times faster.
It is also very important to update the content management system and its plugins. An out-of-date content management system means a high-security risk.
Inappropriate hosting location
The more remote the server on which the site runs is, the more connections must be established and the more complex the overhead and the number of queries. For remote hostings, the communication speed can be in the order of tens of 100ms. So choose hosting that is close to the site visitors or use CDN, which we mention in one of the previous points.
Lack of readiness for traffic spikes
You’ve launched a campaign, a special promotion, or are running an ad on TV. A wave of visitors from various marketing channels is heading to your website. You’ve optimised everything for the most conversions and look forward to great results.
But have you thought about whether your site can handle it? Traffic spikes are great for your business as long as the hosting works as it should.
The fact that the website does not withstand high traffic is often caused by neglect of hosting preparations. Most often, the performance of hosting is underestimated and during peak hours it cannot handle multiple requests to view the website. Make sure your hosting provider is ready for peak hours. They should have a performance reserve and sufficient line capacity.
In addition to hosting, you also need to look directly at the application (your e-shop, catalog, website) and optimise the database. Make sure that the application does not make unnecessarily many queries to the database and that it does not happen to store content that does not belong in the database.
Summing things up
Website and e-shop operators often focus primarily on creating and caring for site content and optimising the marketing funnel. However, their work can be ruined by hosting that is not optimised for speed, reliability, and security.
Although the cost of hosting is not one of the main items in the business, it is hosting that can ruin all the effort and plans. Therefore, it is necessary to host your website or e-shop with a quality provider who can advise and has tools for the smooth running of your business.