Covid-19 has left us stuck inside and the majority of us working from home. We’re all really getting our money’s worth out of our Netflix subscriptions at the moment, but how irritating is it when you’re half way through a truly thrilling crime doco and it starts buffering? We’ve all wasted far too much time waiting for a video to load, we’ll eventually give up. It’s the same idea with loading times for websites. If it doesn’t load quick enough you’ll close the page frustratingly.
During this time is the perfect opportunity to audit your own website’s speed and performance and we’ve summarised some key starting points to get you going! *the crowd cheers…*
But first.. why do site load times matter so much?
Firstly, have you considered how important website speed is?
According to Google, 90% of users leave a website if it takes longer than 5 seconds to load. This means a slow site can be the difference between potentially losing that lead, no booking, no purchase, no engagement! A lost customer.
What is my website’s speed?
There are several tools you can use to tell you your page speed performance scores and speeds, but more importantly they often tell you what you’re doing wrong and what needs fixing! We use GTMetrix.com to check website speed and performance of our sites. Another great one is Page Speed Insights by Google. This is a great tool as it provides an overview of your site loading time with a detailed guide on how to improve it.
Tools like these often return a fairly substantial list of quite technical things to improve on your site.
Here is a summary of some more simple things to keep an eye on for your own website to get you started…
Firstly, your choice of web host provider is paramount to the loading speed of your site. Smaller sites tend to go for cheaper web hosting options meaning they share servers with other external sites; there’s nothing wrong with this but it can impact your overall speed if one of those sites receive a lot of traffic. If you yourself have a large database it can affect your website speed so hosting your site on a private server might be a better option for you. The team at the Hideout can advise on the best hosting options for you.
How large is your content?
If you’re uploading anything to your website, whether that’s visual content like images, photos, infographics or downloadable documents, it’s important to make sure these files are the correct, optimised size.
Good practice for your website’s content is compressing and reducing the size of the images files you upload. There are many tools out there that do this – a particular fave of ours is TinyPNG.
Doing this doesn’t necessarily have to reduce the quality of the images but your page load speed will thank you! Again, things like videos or audio files are often large size formats so it’s not a good idea to upload straight onto your site. Embed them on to your page once they’ve been uploaded somewhere else (youtube/soundcloud)
CMS & Plugins
Updating to the latest version of the CMS prevents your site from slowing down. It’s also a recommended security practice because it protects your site from vulnerabilities. If you’re adding poorly coded plugins this will definitely have a negative impact on your page speed. We advise against this. If you’re looking at integrating a particular functionality to your site, let us know! We will be able to advise you, we only recommend and install plugins that are actively being maintained, supported and can be relied upon. Otherwise we build the functionality ourselves.
Remember making minor tweaks to your website to improve the performance of your site is overall going to better the experience for your visitors. It will also help your ranking of Search Engines which will bring in more visitors to your page. Improving your page speed will therefore benefit you in the short and long run so get started today!
Additionally, whilst these are all simple tasks you can do yourself to improve your site’s performance there are also many other more technical things we can do behind the scenes that will vastly improve your page speed.
Need some help?
We can help make a difference to your page speed optimisation so get in touch with us and we’ll talk you through some options,