Is Your Website Page Speed Frustrating Visitors?
Page Speed has come up so much this last 6 months here at the agency, I decided to finally do a post about website page speed. It isn’t just desktop page speed we are considering these days but the even more sensitive mobile pages and their speed. We all know now that mobile search traffic surpassed desktop search traffic last year. That was a big wake-up for SEO and design agencies to change their focus to mobile website performance and ranking.
We have lots of clients that range all over the business spectrum from local shops to global e-commerce websites. What we have found over the last year as we have moved many of them to the fastest platforms we can find is that they do better in both SEO and in most cases (dare I say it) visitor conversions when page speed is at 90/100 or better. The reality is no one likes a slow site and that is even truer when we are browsing images or shopping.
Getting an image heavy site that is loaded with rich media to load quickly on a phone is Timbuktu so a visitor does get frustrated and bounce can be tricky business.
I bet this lady is ordering off Amazon.com
I know that all sounds extreme to those of you surfing on Google fiber right now but if you are an online seller you have to shoot for performance that is going to take into account your customers locations and their services. That is nice for, “lowest common denominator.” Although things have come a long way, many visitors are still surfing on very slow or shared bandwidth and they bounce on slow sites faster than a scalded rabbit.
How To Fix Slow Loading Sites
I am not going to unleash all our secrets here but let’s focus on WordPress. This is the most prolific DIY and professional design platform so it makes sense that most of are struggles reside in this arena. There are many factors that affect speed on WordPress. Some are complex coding issues while others a basic media management issues. This is not a complete list but it is where most of your problems lie.
- Get your site on a solid host and good hosting plan. You get what you pay for here so don’t be cheep.
- Don’t go for the most super-duper featured themes… they are typically bloated and will get you into a never-ending battle.
- Get real about the 55 plugins you think you can’t live without. Most of that crap isn’t even used by visitors. Remember they want to click and load pages — basic web functions make mobile visitors happy. Rule of thumb — keep this under a dozen well-supported plugins.
- Keep the plugins and WP updated — again use supported products.
- Check into a CDN like CloudFlare or another one. It sucks to pay for this but if you have a lot of media you really can’t avoid it.
- Optimize your images…there are plugins for this as well and fixing this can be a major boost in load times.
- Setup Lazy load on images and page elements so they are only loaded when called up on screen.
- Yes there is more you can do.
All this looks like a lot of work and frankly, some of it can be. Recent customer data and SEO results show it is worth the effort on every site you run. The other option is to look into getting some professional help (hint hint).
I will say this — for local businesses like a Medical office, Law Firm, Plumber or even e-commerce sites we simply don’t use WordPress because the cost to maintain and make it run at top speed simply isn’t worth it and we don’t like calls on Sundays. I am sure there are those out there that will say I have just spoken the words of the devil. The reality is WordPress is first and foremost a blogging or CMS platform everything else it has been made to do has come at a compromise. So if you want 99.9999% uptime, super fast speeds, low cost of ongoing maintenance, intuitive backend editing, and other livable features look elsewhere. The other reality is there is enough work in creating content, managing stores, running a business etc.. that fighting with a website is a time suck that most of our clients don’t want and don’t want to pay for. In the end both website owners and visitors want the same thing – simple fast results with little effort.
This is a local business site that relies on being super fast on mobile — we took this site from a 65 to a screaming 99/100!
If you want mobile page speeds that score in the 95 range on Google’s Page Speed Tool then you might want to call us or another professional. Numbers like what you see above are tough to achieve and often times not possible on some platforms with some content.
The last thing to leave you with is this awesome infographic from Kissmetrics on the impact of Page speed on E-commerce. You don’t want to ignore these numbers if you are serious about converting site visitors.