High performance from your website is critical. There are currently 3.5 billion Google searches per day, and this medium has fast become the go-to solution for potential customers when in need of a local service or product. With this in mind, it is important that your potential customers get the best possible experience when visiting your website and Google rewards those sites which promote a positive user experience.
Two members of the Vinters team recently attended BrightonSEO to see if there was more we could be doing to improve visibility online. We would come away with a lot more to think about than anticipated, especially when it came to website performance and what impact it can have on a business.
Site Loading Speed
Site loading speed is hugely important in your users experience on your website. As such search engines such as Google factoring this into their ranking algorithms so improving your site speed can also improve your rankings. Rachel Costello from DeepCrawl gave a fantastic talk where we learnt some fundamentals when it comes to site speed, and the results show that we could all be doing better.
How Can a Slow Website Affect Your Business?
User expectations are high when browsing online, which is why optimal performance is important for businesses of any kind. When a user is experiencing slow loading speeds, it is likely that they will just leave the site and move on which invariably leads to a high bounce rate and loss of potential custom.
Most of us will have had a poor experience on a website in waiting a long time for pages to load, and a lot of the time we blame our own connection. It is quite possible that the website itself is causing the issues and it is our responsibility as website admins to improve that part of the experience.
According to Think with Google, a 1-second delay in mobile loading times can affect mobile conversions by up to 20%, and people who have a negative experience on mobile are 62% less likely to make a future purchase from the same site.
There are a multitude of reasons as to what could be slowing your website down which is why it is good practice to regularly test your site using a website audit tool such as GTMetrix, which creates a full report on your site’s performance. Other useful websites for this are Google PageSpeed Insights, WebPageTest and DeepCrawl.
HTTP/1 vs HTTP/2
HTTP/1 has served the web for more than 15 years, but is now starting to show its age. In 2015 HTTP/2 was released with the main goal to improve page-loading speeds through compression of request headers, binary protocol, HTTP/2 server push, request multiplexing over a single TCP connection, request pipelining and HOL (Head-of-line) blocking.
The most advanced feature of HTTP/2 is sending multiple requests for data over a single TCP connection. This allows you to download web files asynchronously from one server.
Why is Good Web Hosting Important?
With website performance being so important, it is not advisable to skimp on reputable web hosting. Issues may include website speed, less website downtime, better security, frequent backups and good technical support.
For larger companies with complex websites, dedicated web hosting is recommended to give you the flexibility and complete control over the setup of the server. It can also be faster and more secure, however this is not always a viable option for those companies on smaller budgets.
Key Things That Can Help Optimise Your Website
- Optimising images by using next-gen formats such as WebP which provide better compression than a PNG or JPEG
- Appropriately sized images
- Adaptive image sizes
- Lazy Load
- Only load what you need
- Utilise Google Analytics and see how your users are behaving on your site, this will give you an idea of where your site may need improvement.
After visiting BrightonSEO, we ran some tests on our own website and using the tips above, we have already reduced the loading speed of some of our web pages by almost 5 seconds.
Vinters has over 15 years of experience providing a variety of hosting solutions designed around helping your website to perform better. Whether it be a thousand monthly visits or a few million we’ve built solutions to cater, consistently reducing page load times and delivering better end user experiences.
By Jordan Bradley-Stopps on May 15th, 2019