People live increasingly busy lives, which means that they don’t have the time or desire to sit still waiting for a web page to load. Just like slow service in a restaurant will result in fewer customers, slow page load times on your home improvement website can result in customer frustration, lowered lead conversion, and even low search result rankings.
Why Website Speed Matters for Your Home Remodeling Website
Page speed is how long it takes for a website to load on a user’s browser. Most people expect almost instantaneous page loads, especially as these websites tend to feel more responsive and polished.
How Does Site Speed Affect Conversions?
If you’ve spent a lot of time getting people to visit your web page, the last thing you want is for them to leave in disgust. One of the largest factors in bounce rate – or the rate at which people close the site without accomplishing their goal – is page loading speed.
A study by SolarWinds in 2018 confirmed this unofficial benchmark, showing that 53% of users would bounce if websites took longer than seven seconds to load. Nothing affects a user experience more than having to wait a long time to visit the web pages they want to see.
According to Google, websites should aim to keep page speeds below two seconds. Speed is important to Google, so load times over two seconds get penalized in the Google search engine algorithm. If you’re trying to optimize your website for SEO purposes, site speed is an important ranking factor to keep in mind.
This direct link between site performance and conversion rates should be enough to realize that speed is vital and that every second counts. There’s a lot of breathing room between the benchmark of two seconds and seven seconds, but overall, fast-loading websites tend to do better and attract more users. They also present a professional business appearance, which helps with brand reputation and customer trust.
Factors that Influence Page Load Time
Even if you’ve spent time designing the fastest page, you’re still subject to parameters outside of your control. The user may be on a slow network, have a poor ISP, or be using 3G on their mobile device. Large amounts of traffic can also slow down page load time and reduce website speed.
While you can’t directly control ISP and network speeds, you can keep these in mind when designing the webpage.
Hosting Location and Provider
Information may travel fast, but it still takes time to get from one location to the other. If you have a hosting provider with a server across the continent, you’ll experience higher latency than with one in your backyard.
Luckily, advances in technology have increased the average speed in the US so that domestic location doesn’t matter as much as it used to. You may notice a small difference in latency between East and West coast locations, but these differences are often negligible. However, if you have a website in Canada, you should consider having a hosting solution in the same area for the best user experience.
Also, make sure that you’re getting full speed from your web host. Cheaper packages often offer space on a shared service, which means that you’re subject to the amount of traffic that other sites get, as well as your own. If you’re sure you’ve optimized your site’s performance and are still getting poor load speeds, consider spending a bit more on your host.
Website size has a dramatic impact on website speed. Size refers to large, data-hungry components like videos, high-definition images, and a poorly optimized back-end. While your website may look great when you load it on your desktop, it may take much longer to load on mobile devices.
When it comes to website design, it’s tempting to go full out on pretty images and novel graphics. However, every one of these elements can add weight to your site, making your pages take too long to load. You need to ensure that your total page weight doesn’t result in a slow website that frustrates more than it entertains.
How to Improve Website Speed
Improve Server Response Time
Server response time consists of:
- The amount of traffic to your website
- Server software and performance
- Web provider solution
- The resource use of your site
Ideally, you want a response time of under 200 ms. If you can’t get that, analyze potential bottlenecks, like inadequate host capacity, too many concurrent users, lack of adequate memory, and slow database queries.
Use a CDN
Running a website can be especially challenging since you need to account for users in various locations accessing your site. If you want to provide every user with the same experience and page speed, you’ll need to have multiple servers for multiple websites or use a CDN.
A CDN, or content distribution network, distributes server load between various locations. Your site information gets stored on multiple servers, meaning that your load speed remains the same no matter where the user is.
You may have an amazing response time, but the end-user experience is one of a slow website if you have too many redirects. For instance, if you have a mobile redirect set up, your user may have to go through three load cycles before getting to their desired endpoint.
Optimize Your Code
Optimizing your code should be a best practice in any business. Optimized websites will load faster regardless of browser, devices, or network speed. They will also use fewer resources and less data, saving you a lot of money if your webpage is incredibly popular.
One way to optimize code is to use Gzip to compress your larger files. You can also remove comments, unnecessary characters, and formatting and ensure that it’s as streamlined as possible. The fewer resources used, the faster the site speed.
While it may seem easy to measure load time, some nuances can influence the ranking of your website. Consider the full user experience, including how pages load, wait time, and differences between mobile and desktop.
These can affect SEO rankings and conversions, so it’s a good idea to keep track of them. Google Analytics offers a great breakdown of your website’s metrics for free.
Optimizing your website is critical in ensuring your website converts potential leads quickly. Need help with a website audit? Our team has extensive experience building websites for local service businesses and can help you determine how to create a stellar experience that drives more sales for your business.