This week we continue our web design 101 series on the key issues within web development and website performance looking at the growing importance of website speed. It’s well known that site visitors are impatient and will browse elsewhere if your web page does not load quickly. This usability issue is generally accepted and proven.
Google as we also know is taking speed into account in its organic search results http://www.searchenginejournal.com/seo-101-important-site-speed-2014/111924/ . There is growing evidence that speed can also impact your paid google advertising http://searchengineland.com/site-speed-ppc-performance-cant-ignore-slow-site-anymore-213029 (can affect your quality scores, ad rank and ad costs).
By looking at speed Google is simply looking to improve the user’s experience. Having a speedy website design therefore has a direct impact on how your website will perform online. What do you need to do if you think there is an issue with speed on your website?
Well first you need to test your website speed. A great free tool is http://www.webpagetest.org/ (can also use http://gtmetrix.com/). With Web Page Test tool just type in your URL, target country and browser and hit start test. If you are getting Red Traffic Lights top right you have may have a problem. Below are results for www.google.ie. Contact your web design agency to address these issues.
There can be many reasons for slow website speeds. The key reasons in our experience tend to centre around
- Images not optimised for web design use
- Code not optimised for web development use – redundant code , badly coded
- Web Hosting solution not suitable for site content , traffic volume or usage patterns
Inspiration frequently take on the task of fixing these speed issues for our clients — optimising and reloading images, cleaning up the website code. Re hosting we often recommend implementing a CDN – Content Delivery Network. These guys offer a great solution https://www.maxcdn.com. Here is good post of why you should consider using a CDN http://gtmetrix.com/why-use-a-cdn.html . Effectively the content from your website can be downloaded much faster as it not all hosted on a single server. Files are distributed and downloaded across a number of servers simultaneously. Again it’s very affordable and the return can be significant in terms of more visitors and website leads.
For other clients with heavy daily traffic and a lot of ‘bandwidth’ usage a dedicated VPN hosting may be required. Talk to Inspiration about the options here. It’s more expensive but the payback can make it viable significant particular for eCommerce website shops.
The other thing to look at with your web design company is whether your website was designed and built specifically for you ‘bespoke website design ‘ or was it a purchased template off a site like http://themeforest.net/ or http://www.templatemonster.com/ . We often find that although these purchased themes can look good they often don’t perform well on speed testing as the code is too heavy due to having multiple “many redundant” page types.
How fast should your website be? Well no hard and fast rule. If the site visitor perceives the website to be loaded even though all the pages / files are not in fact yet viewable then that can be sufficient. For small websites with only brochure content think split secs for ‘first byte time’ and a few seconds for full load time. There is a lot of research around the area.
It is also important to regularly review your webmaster tools account with Google. This will often flag or highlight if speed is an issue with your particular website design. Please contact Inspiration Marketing if you feel slow load times are holding back the performance of your website – 01 230 3184 or email email@example.com.