Improving site speed is something everyone can do reasonably quickly.
The examples I have used here are for WordPress, however, there are widely available solutions for the most popular content management systems.
No two sites are the same, however, in general, you can expect to lose as much as 10% of your site conversions with every second it takes your page to load.
Keep customers waiting much more than 4-5 seconds for your site to load, and you have probably blown it.
In our experience conversion rates often drop off a cliff after 4 seconds of waiting for a site to clunk through a loading process.
Luckily there are quick and easy ways to resolve most of the typical speed issues faced by most sites.
These quick fixes will improve load times, improve the user experience and generally increase your sales conversion rate.
If you are a blogger then site speed improvements will help you to increase your engagement and affiliate revenue.
1) Implement Lossy Compression
Big images slow down your sites loading speed, reduce the file size where possible.
If you use WordPress, then there are lots of Lossy Image Compressor plugins that will reduce the file size without degrading the images.
We use Short Pixel, re-Smush it is also a pretty good plugin for image compression.
Re-Smush also supports a wide variety of e-commerce and content management systems.
Re-Smush is free but in our tests, Short Pixel delivered the best results.
Although Short Pixel is paid the price is negligible, you can image optimise a whole image-heavy site with 10K images for $10.00
2) Minify Your CSS
Use a CSS minify plugin that strips the excess and unnecessary CSS code from your pages without impacting the design.
We use a service called Criticalcss as well, just to add the extra speed boost.
It also only $2 a month. So if you are selling in volume it generally pays for itself within the first few hours after it is switched on.
3) Implement G-Zip
Reduce file sizing with Gzipping to reduce your HTTP response time.
Gzip reduces the size of the HTTP response and helps to reduce response time.
It’s an easy way to reduce page weight.
4) Implement Lazy Loading
Lazy loading will load your images in your visitor’s browser as they scroll down the page. This reduces the initial loading speed and improves the user experience.
5) Use Google Tag Manager
Google tag manager is a great way to use your data intelligently and also set yourself up for success.
Use it to prioritise what tracking codes fire and when, which can impact load time and improve user experience. Create an account here.
6) Use a Serious Hosting Provider
The processing and memory power you dedicate to your website hosting will need to increase in line with the increase in website visitors.
Lots of companies try to scale only to find out they were losing half of their paid traffic to a shitty WebHost.
We recommend A2 Hosting for small business clients using WordPress or another CMS, and something like Amazon or Google Hosting for companies that are quickly scaling their transaction rate.
Make sure the host switches on Keep Alive, this will help you to reduce latency. If your host does know what Keep-Alive is, then we suggest you change host.
If you are a pure e-commerce play online, we would recommend that you use Shopify. Shopify looks after all of the hosting and scaling environment for you and comes with some pre-conversion rate optimised templates all done for you.
7) Fix Broken Internal & External Links
Make sure you fix all of your broken links up – redirects. Shoddy connections reduce the user experience.
Broken image links can seriously drag your site speed down.
If you are on WordPress, a simple link broken checker will help you identify and remove these.
8) Use Caching
If you are using WordPress install a caching plugin – there are plenty of solutions around.
9) Use A CDN
A Content Distribution Network (CDN) distributes content over multiple geographic servers and helps speed up the end-user experience. We use CloudFare as its the standard available on most hosting providers, MAX CDN is also pretty good.
10) Use Site Speed Analysis Tools
You can, of course, delve much more significantly into your site speed and improving it and become as scientific as you wish.
Tools such as https://gtmetrix.com/pro can help immensely in getting a hit list together to improve your site performance.
Google Page speed insights will also give you a good overview of the actions you can take to speed up your site.
As you scale operations, tools such as DataDog can help take your performance to another level.
Don’t Obsess About Speed * but do
If you are a small business as long as you use your common sense then there is no need to obsess about site speed.
A monthly report as part of your usual key performance indicators is enough.
As long as your page is loading its session (even if not in full if you are using lazy load) in reasonable time on a reasonably slow internet connection then you should be good to go.
If however your website’s first visit takes more than 3-5 seconds for a user to load your landing page then expect to say goodbye to a lot of your quality traffic due to page bounces.