Slow websites are bad news

Website speed is not only one of the most important factors in engaging with your visitors ie if it’s slow they will move on, if it’s quick they are more likely to move in, but it is also a contributory factor in your search engine ranking, and should therefore be something your web developers treat very seriously. In fact, 47% of users expect your webpage to load in two seconds or less. 

Why do the search engines take website speed into account? Well it’s because they are purely focussed on user experience, so just the same as when you find a slow website you move on, the search engines are only too aware that the majority of internet users will do the same. Slow loading sites are penalised because they do not give value to the visitor.

So how do you know if your website is fast or slow compared to your competitors? By following the link to webpagetest.org you are able to get an independent comparison from an independent server, therefore taking cache and other factors out of the equation.

If you find that your site is running slow this could be down to many contributory factors, there are some things that you or your web developent team should be mindful of:

  1. Use efficient coding, particularly where CSS and any Javascript is concerned.
  2. Position your CSS at the top and your Javascript at the end of the document.
  3. Try not to use URL redirects unless necessary for other SEO reasons.
  4. Try and keep scripts and images on separate domains.
  5. Ensure all images are compressed to minimise size.
  6. Compress all of your scripts to improve efficiency.
  7. Use a cache control.
  8. Keep pages sensible in length and don’t overload with images.

Studies have shown that faster sites will retain visitors for longer. Google have advised that they take loading speeds into account when indexing websites. Statistics also show that faster ecommerce sites generate more revenue.

In a nut-shell faster sites are better for the user, the owner and the search engines so ensure yours does you justice.

Ascensor are a Web design and SEO Leeds based Agency with offices in London.

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