Marketing

Is Your Website Too Slow for 2019

February 15, 2019 by Andrew Woods

As technology has progressed forward it has continually found a way to get smaller, faster, and weave itself deeper into all aspects of our daily lives. Just think about it. 60 years ago computers would take up an entire room and didn’t have much power at all. In 2019 most of us walk around with a supercomputer that fits in our pockets.

Being able to access information anywhere at any time is incredible, but it has also changed our expectations for how quickly we should be able to access information. To no surprise, most people don’t want to wait for a website to load. If it takes too long they go right back to Google to search for a better experience.

If your business relies heavily on its website, there is a good chance it is too slow for 2019. Read more below to find out why.

Google Page Speed and Mobile Search Rankings

It’s not hard to understand why website visitors would want a website to load fast. We’ve all been there ourselves. A slow website is extremely frustrating. But, if for some reason that is not enough to get you to speed up your website, maybe Google’s algorithm updates will.

Back in March of 2018, Google rolled our mobile-first indexing, meaning they would be relying on the mobile versions of websites for indexing and ranking factors. Previously, Google had relied on the desktop versions of websites.

Then, in July of 2018, Google began rolling out a speed update for mobile search rankings. So, what exactly does this mean?

Despite any qualms you may have with Google, they’ve continually focused on providing users with an optimal user experience, both in their search experience and on the websites we visit daily. Over the past couple of years mobile traffic has dramatically increased, hence the mobile-first ranking update in March. It wasn’t too much of a surprise then that Google rolled out an additional update in July related to mobile page speed. It all ties back to an optimal user experience.

Based on the updates they made in 2018, it seems fairly clear that Google will continue to make page speed a priority moving forward, and we highly recommend you do the same.

How fast is fast enough?

3 seconds or less.

In general, a good rule of thumb in 2019 is three seconds or less. Many would argue 2 seconds should really be your benchmark.

Why?

The numbers speak for themselves. They are directly from Google.

Mobile Page Speed and Bounce Rate

For those that are unfamiliar, bounce rate measures how often someone visits your website and only visits 1 page. Google views this negatively, because, in most cases, this indicates people are not finding what the are looking for on your website.

Why is this connected to website speed? Well, if your website won’t load, people aren’t going to find anything at all.

Looking for more stats that highlight the need for speed? Check out these facts from a recent Unbounce article.

  • 46% of people say that waiting for pages to load is what they dislike most about browsing the web
  • on average, it takes 15.3 seconds to load a mobile landing page
  • sites that load in 5 seconds, compared to those that load in 19, see 70% longer average sessions
  • a 100-millisecond delay in load time can cause conversion rates to drop by 7%
  • 73% of mobile users have encountered websites that take too long to load
  • 79% of web shoppers who have trouble with the web site performance say they won’t return to the site to buy again
  • Pages that load within 2 seconds have an average bounce rate of 9%, while pages that take 5 seconds to load have a bounce rate of 38%

What to do about it?

Well, now that your petrified about how much your website speed is affecting your bottom line, you’re probably wondering what you can do about it?


1. Help Your Website Lose Some Weight

Whether you’ve had your website custom built by a web developer or are managing it yourself, odds are your website has a lot of excess code and data that is slowing it down. Addressing the following items can give your website a boost.

a) Reducing your image size

If your uploading full-resolution images that are going to be displayed in a 300×300 pixel square, you’re adding a lot of unnecessary weight to your website. Make sure your image files are as close to the size they will be displayed to help reduce their load time.

b) Remove any unnecessary plugins

If you’re managing your own website, plugins can be a great tool to complete tasks that otherwise might require some advanced coding. Unfortunately, many people have a habit of using too many plugins. Each plugin you use will make use of javascript and CSS files that will increase the size of your website and slow it down. Take a few minutes to review your plugins and make sure to delete any unnecessary ones.

c) Minify your JavaScript and CSS

If your website has a bunch of custom javascript and CSS, you can “minify” it using a tool like this. Believe it or not, each space in a line of code uses up data. Minify-ing code removes the spaces, making your custom code more lightweight and your website faster.


2) Get Better Hosting

Hosting is extremely affordable these days, but like with most things, you get what you pay for. In most cases, more affordable hosting options use less efficient servers, which means your website will also load a little less efficiently.

If your website is built on WordPress, we highly recommend using WP Engine. WP Engine uses servers that are optimized for WordPress websites, which can help your website load smoothly and efficiently.


3) Get an Audit

GT Metrix is a great tool that can help you understand all of the factors affecting your website speed. A heads up, you might need a web developer to comprehend the report.

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