- Single Images instead of Sprites: Rather than saving each image in a sequence (like a set of icons) to a different file, you should be combining them all into a CSS Sprite, which merely repositions the viewable portion of the image.
- Lack of Compression: Try using GZIP, which enables the passing of compressed files between browsers and servers. Then test it to make sure it’s working.
- Lack of Caching: Instead of pulling up files from the server every time, the browser can store information for later use. Just make sure to define the duration of the cache, which can be done in several different ways, so that you’re always able to replace stored information as needed.
The Importance of Site Speed in Web Designwritten by Rob Toledo
Web design is a balancing act in every way; when you add something on one side of the equation, you have to make sure you’re not losing something other the other side. In the quest to add more content, unique functionality, and better design to our websites, sometimes we sacrifice a speedy loading time. But studies have consistently found that this is a big mistake.
According to a national survey, 32% of consumers “will start abandoning slow sites between 1 and 5 seconds [of loading time].”
Site Speed Affects More Than Bounce Rates
According to this infographic, if an ecommerce site is making $100,000 a day, this miniscule pause would cause it to lose $2.5 million per year in potential revenue. A delay of just one second in page loading time could cost you a 7% drop in conversions, but that’s only one aspect of the reaction that you’ll get. That same one-second delay also prompts a 16% drop in customer satisfaction; slow-loading pages contribute to the perception that your company and products aren’t top-of-the-line.
The Common Culprits
Just a few changes can make a huge difference in your loading time. The most routine tweaks are listed below, but there are many other tricks you can try.
Use Google Analytics
Not only does site speed affect your visitors’ perceptions, it also affects your status with Google. It’s a part of their ranking algorithm, which makes sense as it’s such a big part of user experience. Google Analytics allows you to track site speed and compare changes with alterations in your business metrics. It offers PageSpeed Insights, which allows you to analyze a web page, giving you a score and suggestions for improvement tailored to both desktop and mobile devices.
Of course, that’s just one of the many functionalities that Google Analytics offers; if you’re not confident in your understanding of how this powerful tool works, you can brush up with this handy guide for small businesses.
Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network)
CDN providers will help you streamline your efforts by distributing your content via a network of geographically dispersed servers. Different servers are selected to deliver content to users based on the efficiency of their placement. If your site as a whole isn’t in need of a comprehensive overhaul, you can also select portions of your content for speed optimization (such as large documents or HD videos).
It’s easy to quickly test the speed of your site alongside a competitor’s to see how you’re doing. If you’re unsatisfied with the results, you might want to go with a service that provides simple acceleration without any of the hassle of minute tweaking that comes with using Google Analytics.
As you can see, there are many levels of involvement to choose from in improving site speed; if you have the time and resources, you can overhaul your site piece by piece, or you can simply leave it to a service. But either way, it’s definitely a crucial component to your site’s structure, and something that has far-reaching repercussions for your users, your rankings, and your success.