Why is website speed important
A beginner's guide to optimizing website speed
Optimizing website performance, the focus on technologically superior website design, is the most important factor in the success of modern online businesses. After all, unremarkable website performance kills the bottom line of business when the torture of waiting for slow web pages to load frustrates visitors and they search for alternatives- Impatience is a digital virtue!
And sells speed!
We've created the following six chapters of in-depth tips for optimizing speed, to show you the importance of having a fast-loading, fun website! Numerous research papers and benchmarks show that optimizing the speed of your websites is one of the cheapest and highest ROI investments.
In the guide below, we'll try to explain the technical details while giving you easy-to-understand instructions that you can implement right away! We hope you find it useful and maybe worth sharing! 😄
Lightning-fast page load speeds increase visitor retention, retention, and revenue. Immediate feedback on websites results in higher conversion rates, and every 1 second delay in page views reduces customer satisfaction by 16 percent, page views by 11 percent, and conversion rates by 7 percent, according to a recent study by the Aberdeen Group .
Highlighting the most important aspects of website speed optimization:
Chapter 1: An Introduction to Optimizing Website Speed
What is website speed exactly?
The term page speed essentially refers to the length of time web pages or media content is downloaded from website hosting servers and displayed on the requesting web browser. Page load time is the time between clicking the link and displaying all of the content from the webpage of the requesting browser.
Page load time
There are three key aspects that are required to understand page speed in the context of user experience and website performance:
- The time it takes to deliver the requested material, along with accompanying HTML content, to the browser.
- Browser response to page load requests.
- The end-user view of how the requested web page is displayed in the browser - this is the ultimate empirical measure of the page load speed.
The website performance subsequently affects search engine rankingsdeveloped using proprietary and undisclosed algorithms. Key factors such as page speed, user experience, website responsiveness and a whole host of other performance metrics are included.
The absolutely critical principle in maximizing website performance is optimizing page speed from the ground up. Performance optimization plugins, server-side scripts, and final tweaks have minimal - but noticeable - effects on page speed and load times. Still, web developers and online business owners tend to overlook page load times in their website development and design strategies.
Slowly? How slow
Everything slower than the blink of an eye - 400 milliseconds. Engineers at Google have found that the barely noticeable page load time of 0.4 seconds is long enough to encourage users to search less.
Technology has come a long way in improving the Internet experience. The crowded cyberworld of the 1990s has often been referred to as the World Wide Wait, but innovations in communication and networking technologies have revolutionized the way digital information is transmitted over the Internet. The next generation of online businesses have all the resources they need to deliver content instantly. In order to use and supplement these resources, however, companies need speed-optimized websites that deliver the best user experience.
Microsoft speed specialist and computer scientist Harry Shum believes that 0.25 second difference in page load time - faster or slower - is the magic number that dictates competitive advantage for online businesses.
Und what if they don't?
1 in 4 visitors would leave a website if it took longer than 4 seconds to load. 46 percent of users do not visit poorly performing websites. Website owners only have 5 seconds to take in visitors before they decide to leave. 74 percent of the users who access the mobile website would leave it if it took longer than 5 seconds to load. Every second of delay in page load time could result in annual losses of $ 1.6 billion for online retailers the size of Amazon.
47 percent of e-commerce customers expect less than two seconds of loading time before considering leaving - 40 percent of users would leave the website in the third second of waiting before a performance analytics tool records their presence on the website. The average maximum load time for conversions is just 2 seconds - faster than millions of websites out there.
Und what happens when they get faster?
When Mozilla increased page speed by 2.2 seconds, Firefox downloads increased by 15.4 percent, or 10 million per year! Walmart saw a 2 percent increase in conversion rates for every 1 second improvement in page load times. The numbers don't lie!
Acceptable website performance - neuroscience and rhythm
100 milliseconds. This is how long the occipital lobe stores visual information in our brain as sensory memories.
Google researchers suggest that page load times of less than 100 milliseconds give visitors the illusion of an instant response from the website as the visual sensory storage processor in our brain works in bursts of 100 milliseconds. The memory memory clears itself after 0.1 seconds as the photoreceptor cells in the eyes transmit more information to the occipital lobe.
Acceptable website performance
A load time of 1 second is enough to maintain a seamless flow of thoughts - users feel empowered to control their web browsing activities and mental stress is not exacerbated if the website does not respond as desired.
With a 10 second delay, the visitor's attention is barely maintained. The feeling of impatience, frustration, and abandonment is usually strong enough to prevent visitors from revisiting such slow websites.
The Pragmatic Psychological Riddle
However, leaving a website due to slow page speed is not always the fastest way to get the information you want on the web. The average user would spend a few extra minutes browsing responsive but irrelevant websites instead of waiting a few seconds for sluggishly relevant websites to respond.
And with so many resources on the web, users will eventually find the information they need on one website or another. But the potential losers are online businesses that are unable to reach their online customers fast enough, despite providing the exact information and services that are sought.
Oddly enough, visitors prefer to spend too much time looking for information than just waiting a few seconds for the correct website to load. The experience is similar to the Houston Airport incident a few years ago which resulted in a clever solution.
Playing with human psychology
Passengers at the airport had to walk 1 minute to baggage claim and wait 7 minutes to receive their bags. The customer relations center was eventually inundated with complaints about the slow service.
So the airport managers came up with a nifty solution to "solve" the problem. They placed the arrival gates far away and directed the luggage to the outermost carousel.
Passengers at the airport now had to 6 minutes walk to the baggage claim and received their bags there after 2 minutes. The result? No complaints. Absolutely no passenger was left unsatisfied - except with tired legs.
Similarly, elevators are fitted with mirrors so that passengers are concerned with styling themselves rather than thinking about the time they spend traveling. This passenger behavior corresponds to that of website visitors in Cyberworld. And the same general principle applies to online businesses: it is the objective length of wait that defines the experience of waiting.
Now online businesses can play with human psychology like Houston Airport Managers and speed up development, but with virtually no specific formula to make website response times bearable for every single visitor out there. Or they actually can reduce the objective waiting timeby delivering the requested content to their online visitors with a responsive website - whatever is possible when the website offers instant response and high quality and seamless user experience.
Focusing on the latter practice, this guide will help you maximize the potential of your online business by optimizing website performance, thereby improving customer satisfaction, retention, and loyalty.
Core components of the guide include:
Chapter 2: Website Performance Affects Business Success
Performance affects sales
Website performance is user experience - the power of page speed, translated into an attractive online shopping experience, inspires sales figures and possibly determines online business success. Industry leader Google began incorporating page speed into its proprietary search algorithms after seeing the compelling effects of website performance errors on sales. The search engine giant once experienced a 20 percent drop in data traffic, which resulted from a half-second delay in page loading times.
While Google was quick to resolve the problem that barely paralyzed its market share, online businesses don't always do so in order to establish their presence in the highly competitive online marketplace.
Q: How does website performance affect sales for an average online business?
A: Dramatic, that's the only answer!
The Forrester consultancy recently examined the level of online shopping expectations among consumers and assessed how underperforming websites hurt bottom line, while high-level website performance quickly drives sales.
The study shows that 88 percent of Internet users choose online retailers that offer a powerful, easy-to-use website experience, and almost 50 percent leave websites that do not load within 3 seconds.
These measures therefore have an impact on sales. 79 percent of dissatisfied customers will not visit underperforming websites again - unless you are Google or Amazon. 46 percent of dissatisfied customers have a lasting negative impression and 44 percent share their shopping experience with the rest of the world. The implications go well beyond the cyber world, as 87 percent of customers shop in both online and brick-and-mortar retail stores.
Leaving slow websites
While service and product quality have the greatest impact on business revenue, the conversion of website visitors into shopping customers in the cyber world largely depends on developing a positive customer impression. And this is where the performance parameters of the e-commerce website such as ultra-fast page speed and fast check-out processes come into play, which ultimately gives the customer a positive psychological impression that promotes sales and customer loyalty.
Performance affects the conversion
As the most important and most powerful Internet metric for online businesses, the cover rates are holistically dependent on the website's KPIs in order to create competitive advantages for online trading platforms.
In the cyber world, traditional marketing campaigns alone don't increase conversion rates without improving the website user experience - that includes page speed and website responsiveness.
Obama's fundraiser during the 2011 presidential election raised an additional $ 34 million when the Obama for America website reduced page load time from 5 seconds to 2 seconds - that's a 14 percent increase in donation conversion with just 3 seconds of website performance improvement!
Fast loading times are synonymous with better conversions
Getting potential customers to the doorstep of brick-and-mortar retail often requires a well-planned marketing and advertising campaign. And once customers enter the store, they usually don't leave without a purchase.
It takes much less effort to lead online customers to an online shop - Internet users don't mind with a few clicks of the mouse to open the websites they have never visited before. Search engine optimization and social media advertising are often the trick.
It is also useful for visitors to leave the site if the information they need is not available within a few seconds - for unimpressed visitors that means little more than a few absurd clicks!
User experience in terms of website performance and responsiveness thus becomes the ultimate factor influencing the conversion rate in online marketplaces. E-commerce is primarily about customer satisfaction and efficiently reaching potential customers with the right information, products and services at the right time.
It's not possible without page speeds, which are faster than users giving up visits due to website performance issues. Didn't you realize that your website's performance affects your conversion rate? Tools like the Google Test My Site tool can be helpful in answering this question (see example below).
Conversion speed calculator
Performance influences user loyalty
User attitudes statistics feed the cauldron of website analysis in developing the best strategies to optimize online sales. Online businesses established in competitive cyberspace understand the importance of website performance and the tools that analyze and predict the next best actions that correlate page speed and revenue.
Improved user retention information with responsive and fast loading websites is often viewed as a proxy for online business success. User loyalty depends to a large extent on human restrictions on storage in short-term memory for a few seconds and human efforts to feel in control of the machine under all circumstances.
For underperforming websites, where underperforming is cited as a relative term, load times are beyond human limitations, while failure to respond to user queries gives the false impression of ignorance or inability to deliver the desired answer efficiently and accurately.
On the other hand, powerful websites - note that powerful are also a relative term - influence three parameters that determine user loyalty: user feelings, the mental status of the user and user interactions. These three aspects create an emotional, cognitive, and behavioral connection between human visitors (can't say much about bots!) And the website.
With this connection, online businesses can leverage user interactions like attention, motivation, and trust in converting visitors into customers, repeat customers, and even brand ambassadors who generate leads on social media and outside of the internet world.
Performance affects operating costs and revenue
While investing in optimizing website performance leads to an increase in CapEx and reduces page load times by a few seconds, the return on investment is inevitably seen in the form of increasing revenues and decreasing operating costs and hardware investments.
E-commerce giant Shopzilla cut its operating budget by 50 percent by cutting page load times from 7 seconds to 2 seconds. Performance improvements through a website design overhaul enabled the company to use the same hardware resources to efficiently process the same number of website user requests. The improved responsiveness of the website also increased sales by 12 percentas the retail business enabled growing web traffic without making additional investments in the consistent expansion of hardware resources.
Improvements to the website KPI also lead to a better AdWords quality score and thus to a lower cost per click (CPC). Online businesses with a high Quality Score and high page speed are able to use advertising efficiently and effectively to maximize reach and attract customers without incurring additional business expenses.
Slowing down, on the other hand, minimizes resource usage. Bing conducted an independent study of its website's performance, which had an impact on sales, and found a 2-second delay looking for a 4.3 percent drop in sales per user.
And customer behavior doesn't change drastically when the delays are removed. When Google experienced a 0.4 second delay in submitting search results, it still performed 0.21 percent fewer searches even though the website was performing optimally.
Additional efforts to improve website performance can temporarily expand CapEx, but the tradeoff is ultimately justified as the additional investment translates into higher profits, higher revenues and minimal operating costs.
Performance affects usability
Websites with the steepest learning curve achieve the highest customer engagement. Internet users consider the time it takes to use alternative websites to be a significant cost of conversion that they use as a mechanism for online services offered through high performing websites.
The elements of the relationship between website usability and customer loyalty are closely linked to the website's KPIs, including page speed, load time and the website's responsiveness to user inquiries. A hypothetical model for optimizing website speed takes these elements into account, with features such as page trust, interactivity and information relevance as part of the user-friendliness of the website by end users.
Similarly, web crawlers and search engines measure website performance in terms of page speed, navigability, usability, responsiveness, and reachability for the global audience as a subset of search engine optimization that affects search rankings.
Ease of use features
End users expect the following properties that affect the user-friendliness of websites:
- Easy to use, navigate and understand.
- Direct delivery of relevant information and controls that are sought.
- Accessible across all device form factors, machines, operating systems, browsers, and geographic locations.
- Delivering legitimate, credible, and high quality information, products, and services with minimal clicks and browser requests.
Fulfilling these intentions is critical to maximizing the Website performance, user friendliness and customer loyalty, these are all the overlapping elements of the single system that acts as the conduit for online business success.
Chapter 3: Speed Optimized Mobile Website Overshoots Desktop
Mobile is the future of everything connected. Adoption is skyrocketing as the rush for mobile devices encompasses all of humanity - 2.32 billion smartphone subscriptions, roughly thirty percent of the world's population in 2017. And the booming tide of stimulating effects is still barely disrupting online businesses Area of mobile internet marketing.
Success in the cyberworld depends on the ability to take a mobile-first approach to reaching the skyrocketing population of mobile subscribers. And for organizations that are committed to effectively reaching the mobile population, the unimaginable prices are popping up just around the corner.
Mobile vs desktop
Desktop internet marketing on the other hand is last decade. Google used the terms "Post PC Era," "free fall of PC sales," and the "death of desktop machines," and what comes back is a host of journalistic fodder that portrays a bleak future for organizations that are still around just linger around the desktop internet user.
For such latecomers in the industry, it is not too late to opt for a mobile-first strategy now. However, this approach does not always pay off for future-oriented online companies if they do not optimize their reach for a mobile user base.
This is less of a wrong direction when it comes to going mobile than missing out on some key steps and not filling the void in order to reach mobile customers efficiently and effectively. These gaps focus on the lack of responsive and powerful mobile websites.
Mobile vs Desktop - Why Does It Matter?
Because everyone else is doing it to start with. The competition for the mobile sector is intense and in 2014 it was described by the Yahoo CEO as a "turning point" for the Internet. And she was right! Stone Temple pulled some stats from Similar Web in 2017 and it's not surprising to us, but mobile accounted for more than 50% of the traffic based on 77 billion website visits.
Total number of visits on desktop computers and mobile devices (Source: Stone Temple)
Here are a few additional statistics:
- 87% of US citizens own mobile devices.
- 45% of them have smartphones.
- 90% of them go online via mobile phone.
- These mobile users surf an average of 1.4 hours a day on the Internet.
- 74% would cancel mobile websites that don't load within 5 seconds.
The entire focus should be on treating the two entities - mobile and desktop - separately, at least in terms of website design. Without this strategy, the user experience with mobile access to desktop versions of websites is usually impaired in terms of loading times, user-friendliness and functionality. Compromising these core aspects of mobile websites can force online businesses to deal with the obvious negative effects, including:
- Low mobile sales:Mobile internet shoppers have shorter attention spans and less patience than desktop internet users.
- Loss of competition: According to a survey of more than a thousand US smartphone users, almost 75 percent of respondents said they would revisit mobile e-commerce websites that offer a high-quality mobile user experience.
- Loss of market value: Poorly designed mobile websites that simply shrink the HTML version of the full desktop website version so visitors can zoom in while navigating mobile websites will result in fewer future contact with the company.
These consequences negate the following main goals of reaching customers over the mobile internet:
- Expansion of the customer base.
- New advertising options.
- Offer high quality services efficiently to user comfort.
- And most affected, the inevitability of the productive, comprehensive mobile web for business development.
Desktop and mobile differ in technology resources, form factor and user interface - all aspects that determine the implementation of website performance optimization. Without optimizing the mobile websites separately to get the best possible performance for mobile websites, the KPIs of multiple websites will deteriorate and negatively impact the mobile user experience.
And since mobile technologies give users the opportunity to surf the Internet, stand, run or even lie comfortably on the couch, the hunger to keep control of the website operation drives user expectations above conventional ones Standards that can only be used in the desktop area. The ability to deliver mobile website content within this short attention span of around 2 seconds makes all the difference in gaining customer loyalty and long-term business relationships with mobile internet users.
High-performance mobile website and the competitive space of high conversions
Given the high traffic on the internet with mobile devices for e-commerce purchases, high-performing e-commerce websites are an obvious priority for e-commerce organizations. A preliminary study shows ecommerce businesses could miss out on millions of mobile shoppers. The potential total sales per cell phone buyer averages around 80 percent of desktop users who shop online.
The conversion rate among small ecommerce businesses operating on underperforming mobile websites is typically 0.6 percent compared to the 1.6 percent conversion rate among desktop ecommerce providers in the same segment Size.
Tablet users, on the other hand, spend 20 percent more than desktop users. By attracting this audience, online businesses entering the mobile internet marketing segment can expect high revenues that could one day replace the desktop audience - although that day seems a bit too far ahead at the moment.
Website revenue streams
Nevertheless, the demand for mobile users will continue to grow exponentially. Search engine optimization of mobile websites is now a separate trade - and so is mobile website speed optimization which is justified from these:
- High page speed
- Low page load times
- Efficient delivery of media-rich content
- Download speed
- Optimal page format
- Easy navigation and user friendliness on the website
- And a fully functional website that requires minimal user input when performing an otherwise complex task of using mobile internet.
By addressing these issues, microsites in the mobile Internet space can compete with their larger counterparts with up to 1.2 percent conversion rates (that's twice as much as desktop site conversion rates!) And well over 80 percent of sales can be achieved via conversion with the desktop versions of their websites.
Whoever is fastest to the finish line is the highest on the podium
It is therefore somewhat surprising that Fortune 100 companies consume an average of 5 seconds of page load time on their mobile website - two seconds faster than the average acceptable standards (maximum 7 seconds).
Average page load times
However, for ecommerce merchants, 5 seconds of page load time is enough to bring visitors to a faster alternative. And in retail stores, some websites load as fast as Google - load times of just 1 second!
Strikingly fast, maybe a bit of a Google-esque focus on page speed and website responsiveness. But that's the average page load time of 16 of the top 100 multichannel retailers who reap the rewards for an insanely fast mobile website and billions of dollars in sales from mobile customers.
Google describes a number of changes (here and here) in the design of mobile websites to render web pages on mobile screens in 1 second - even if you're not a Fortune 100 company or a top 100 ecommerce retailer!
For those Uber geeks who take mobile web development into their own hands, the nonprofit World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has a handful of best practices (here and here). It's a long read that demonstrates how important and intense mobile website optimization is!
And for business owners who use web developers to design highly sensitive and speed-optimized mobile websites, the improvements should be sought in the following three parts of the mobile website anatomy:
- Fluid grids
- Flexible images
- Media inquiries
And put a design focus on the following mobile website elements:
- Picture gallery
- Product description
- Further information
Customers value fast-reacting websites and extremely low page load times. Mobile technology and the innovation that comes with increasing reliance on smartphones and tablets are showing no signs of slowing down. Top online retailers understand the importance of getting website content efficiently from web servers to the tiny surface of mobile screens. With well-thought-out websites specifically designed for mobile platforms, customers can make quick and informed purchasing decisions that ultimately generate never-ending sales for online businesses.
60 percent of consumers only use mobile devices to make quick purchase decisions. Mobile devices and desktop computers or laptops are seen as an equal source of media information - 42 percent of Internet users prefer mobile devices versus 43 percent PC / laptop - but mobile access to the Internet promotes mobile Internet and business opportunities.
And if you want to continue to overlook the power of mobile websites, reconsider the opportunities and success that could otherwise be achieved with a dedicated, speed-optimized mobile website.
Chapter 4: Common Business Mistakes That Kill Website Performance
Online marketplaces - like battlefields of the ancient Greeks - are highly competitive, high-risk platforms where only the hardest-working survive. And as with all high-risk fights, human factors (decision-making mistakes, mistakes and ignorance) contribute significantly to the outcome of online business competitions.
However, online businesses and webmasters who are responsible for maintaining high performing and fully optimized websites often overlook important web design elements that reduce page load times. And the consequences are usually just as dangerous as the Trojan horse, which, despite the size and domination of the Trojan Army, invades fortified defenses and takes full control of the city of Troy.
The competition for online business success is just as intense, if just a little less violent. The battle for customer attention boils down to delivering the desired content most efficiently and precisely, regardless of company size and previous successes. And just like human error and ignorance that dictate the outcome of the Trojan War, common mistakes that kill website performance tend to determine the outcome of the online business competition - the fastest to the finish line wins the race!
The fastest website load time wins
The aptly named gap of death, the interval between the expected page load time of less than 2 seconds and the average page load time of 5 seconds, is expanding or contracting due to surprisingly neglected website optimization tactics and business decisions. Contrary to popular belief, speed optimization is ideally implemented at all stages of website development, rather than after building the entire website, which is only the case when website owners realize the need to push for website performance optimization.
Final tweaks and speed optimization add-ons implemented after websites were developed, however, improve page speed and reduce loading time to at least reach the gap of death. But even within this performance zone, the conversion rates drop by 7 percent for every second of delay after the expected loading time of 2 seconds.
On the flip side, website owners who embrace speed optimization tactics can aim for higher website performance by also avoiding the following deadly mistakes:
Mediocre web hosting service
The mistake of choosing a mediocre web hosting service can be forever. With more than 1.3 billion websites online in 2017, the web hosting space is both crowded and fragmented. The global availability of a multitude of hosting options is pushing businesses and hobbyists to establish their presence in the cyber world. The demand for cost effective web hosting services is growing exponentially, and hosting providers are more than willing to compromise the quality of service by accumulating market share with low cost layers.
Mediocre web hosts selling cost-effective services continue to maximize profitability by hosting thousands of websites on single instances of bloated Apache stacks. Unoptimized servers running thousands of public websites on a single server stack are particularly detrimental to ecommerce websites characterized by uncontrollable spikes in web traffic, multimedia content, and large website files.
Web hosting and development companies that have a common answer to speed optimization believe that "everyone has broadband these days," which translates directly into financial losses and damaged branding for online businesses. Great website performance is critical to the success of ecommerce businesses since websites that take more than 3 seconds to load instantly lose 40 percent of traffic. 79 percent of dissatisfied visitors almost never return to slow ecommerce sites!
Web hosting services
Perhaps then, investing the time and money in pursuing the highest quality web hosting services is crucial to get high performing websites that generate huge revenue by grabbing the attention of visitors efficiently and accurately.
Gene bandwidth thieves show the way
Website speed optimization is an ongoing and evolving process and goes well beyond subscribing to the best web hosting services in the world. Some business decisions aimed at maximizing revenue by changing website design and features negatively impact website performance by stealing scalable segments from the bandwidth allocated to each individual visitor.
Too many widgets or plugins
Website owners and developers alike always enjoy additional features and functions. Widgets and plugins enable convenient changes to existing websites and a slight burden on website performance. Even with the smallest widgets like the Google+ button box, the load on the website in terms of page loading time can in some cases increase by up to 2 seconds.
The Facebook-like box is another common slowdown as it has been known to simply add over 40 HTTP requests (see below). On a customer site, we noticed that the page weight was increased by 700 KB, which is not a good thing!
Facebook widget requests
It's important to keep add-ons to an absolute minimum in order to maintain optimal website performance - even plug-ins installed on the same website core compete for the fastest response to browser requests and reduce bandwidth.
Sometimes the quality and functionality of the installed plug-ins is far more important than the number of installed plug-ins. Plugins that query large streams of data to perform complex operations should do so outside of the server and not in website hosting environments like WordPress.
Too many ads and external services
As tempting as it may seem, selling too much property to third-party vendors will drastically reduce website performance. Too many ads or slow loading ads result in bounce rates and affect online marketability. The financial losses that come with high bounce rates outweigh the monetary benefits that come from serving huge websites to advertisers.
Pingdom external services
External services usually pose two problems. One is caused by the sheer volume, the other has to do with waiting for them to load.
- If you have a lot of external services, you have to load all of them and wait for information from them every time you load. The more calls you have, the more you wait, the higher the load on your own server and the higher the chance that you will encounter the second problem.
- In some cases, the page will wait for the data to be transferred between your website and the external service. If the service is called in the header and a service interruption occurs, the page will simply not load.
According to a research study, the cost of generating revenue from banner advertising is almost 33 percent of the additional latency. Intrusive pop-up ads make it even more difficult for visitors to abandon websites at even higher rates.
Affiliate code, even the few extra lines of script, take up valuable space in the hosting environment and require additional processing cycles in serving the content to end users.
Nonetheless, online advertising is the main source of income for many online businesses (think Google and Facebook!), And an optimal website advertising model goes a long way towards increasing website revenue and minimizing the cost of latency and page load delays.
Bloated design theme and incompatible multimedia
Alluring website design theme and multimedia content are the linchpins for online traffic. That is, if the content reaches the eyes of impatient visitors quickly enough. High-quality images and videos (large pixels, large file size) take longer to download to the requesting browser, while low-quality, lightweight graphics hardly attract the attention of users despite lower loading times.
However, graphics-intensive content is not always a key factor in conversions and sales. This is especially true for ecommerce websites that need to have quick-loading product images and videos that describe the value of products, not necessarily their visual beauty.
Compatibility issues also affect the multimedia and application performance of certain browsers and geographic locations. Take Google Chrome and Shockwave Flash as an example. The two rarely play well together. Government restrictions can also prevent certain multimedia content from reaching local visitors.
Websites with non-functional multimedia content require excessive client-server communication cycles to reach requesting browsers, which ultimately degrades the website's performance. However, it is up to website owners to ensure optimized service capability for all browser platforms, device form factors, and geographic locations, as government policies and browser compatibility change over time, and in most cases unpredictably can.
Fast loading and fully functional multimedia content is necessary for e-commerce merchants to keep visitors to the website. Every second of delay in page load time results in frustrated visitors leaving slow websites, consuming 7 percent fewer conversion rates, 11 percent fewer pageviews, and 16 percent lower customer satisfaction.
And a little more of that code - registration forms and analysis
Registration forms and analysis code add just a few lines to the website's core files. However, when too many individual lines of code take up space on the website back end, web content assets and plugins with lengthy code compete for tiny areas of memory in short processing cycles. As a result, the popular physics phenomenon of non-linearity occurs, and each component performs unpredictably and usually consumes more processing cycles than expected.
From the end-user perspective, excessive service is often unnecessary or, at most, viewed as secondary to the actual content of the website. Many websites host more than 80 assets (images, plugins, add-ons and other multimedia content), and all of the content is not necessarily transmitted to the requesting browser according to the user settings. Additional investments in the development of media-rich websites ultimately fail if the information actually requested to reach the end users is maintained through irrelevant registration forms, analysis codes and other content that adds unnecessary weight to the website.
Mobile errors and misdirected redirects
Global smartphone subscriptions are expected to exceed the EUR 2.7 billion mark by 2019, when 83 percent of Internet users will access the Internet via mobile devices. 30 percent of ecommerce website traffic in 2016 came from the mobile space, and that number is growing exponentially with the skyrocketing smartphone user base.
The competition to grab the attention of mobile users is even more intense as the mobile websites load slowly and visitors' patience decreases. 60 percent of mobile users expect mobile websites to load within 3 seconds. And on average, 3 in 4 people will leave a mobile website if it takes longer than 5 seconds to load, while the average cell phone takes longer to load, 6-10 seconds.
Excessive delays in mobile page load time are most common when websites are not specifically optimized and designed to deliver high performance on a mobile device interface. Even with dedicated, smartphone-optimized pages, mobile users are not always redirected to the intended mobile versions of desktop websites requested by mobile browsers.
Redirects are instructions that users looking for a website URL send to another URL that (supposedly) contains the exact information the user requested. Redirects are most effective for mobile users looking for desktop versions of web pages that need to map well to equivalent mobile versions for the best mobile website experience.
As a result, users cannot switch between unwanted website files until they find the right one. This causes unnecessary delays in loading the information that is actually being sought by the end users.
This is akin to finding an empty parking lot in a large, crowded parking lot and reaching the seemingly empty space only to find that it is occupied by a small vehicle that was not visible from a distance. The process will continue until an empty space is finally reached - that is, when the driver continues to search for the empty space and is not frustrated enough to leave the parking lot completely.
Website owners are ultimately responsible for losing competitive advantage in the mobile space if mobile web traffic is simply redirected to irrelevant desktop website version instead of providing a speed-optimized mobile solution for mobile visitors.
Websites that are not speed-optimized for mobile devices suffer from frequent problems that affect the mobile user experience. Problems such as incorrect redirects, unplayable videos, bloated images and graphics, irrelevant cross-references, and unnecessary assets delivered to mobile visitors affect website performance and ultimately increase bounce rates.
Only 10 percent of the latency is defined by the HTML response to browser requests, and the remaining 90 percent of the delay is caused by rendering pages, parsing HTML, running code scripts, and retrieving embedded assets. Overhauling website performance with optimization tools and script optimizations can jerk off large chunks of page load times, but may not be as effective as developing a speed-optimized website from scratch. And the latter is more of a marketing strategy, business decision, and low awareness of avoiding the most common mistakes that could ruin online businesses by affecting website performance.
Chapter 5: Testing Website Speed - Identify Performance Bottlenecks!
Web traffic and search engine ranking is primarily a vanity metric for website performance. As important as they are, they are no more indicative of online business success than sales figures and conversion rates. In relative terms, e-commerce websites with (almost) zero percent bounce rate, 15 percent conversion rates, and 10,000 unique website visitors from low search engine rankings perform far better than high-ranking websites that have 100,000 unique visits with just 0.01 percent conversion -Enjoy rate.
The debate about optimizing conversion rate can continue for encyclopedic lengths, and implementing best practices on Frankenstein websites can require a lot of investment with patient execution efforts over months before a significant improvement in conversion rate is achieved.
And there is more to convince impatient citizens of the cyber world to buy products and services online rather than implementing passive business strategies to improve marketability. Online businesses focused on improving website performance experience instant results in the form of higher conversion rates and sky rocketing sales.
Page speed, in particular, fills the void by improving marketability by improving the user experience on the website to keep and keep impatient online customers happy. A recent research report published by O'Reilly concluded that the website end-user experience can be improved by reducing page load times to significantly increase sales and conversion rates. The stagging statistics are as follows:
- + 3% conversion per second with page load time improvement of 15 seconds to 7 seconds.
- + 2% conversion per second with page load time improvement of 7 seconds to 5 seconds.
- + 1% conversion per second with page load time improvement of 4 seconds to 2 seconds.
These statistics only describe how page speed affects business success in competitive cyberspace. Complicated, it seems, chopping down large chunks of page load time from slow loading websites is a relatively low hanging fruit IF speed optimization tactics are implemented in the right direction - this is a huge IF when performance bottlenecks are unknown, too complex, or simply too big and diverse for you Identify are.
The pursuit of a speed-optimized website begins with identifying critical front-end problems that are most evident in standard website performance testing processes. Google's Head Performance Engineer Steve Souders advises: “80-90% of the end-user response time is used for the front-end. Start there “.
Before beginning your search for page speed stumbling blocks, understanding the behavior of the most influential website speed metrics will help pinpoint website performance gaps.
Initial page speed
Loading tons of memory blocking website content within milliseconds of initiating browser requests is not possible without a thorough overhaul and speed optimization of slow websites. In many cases, visitors are only looking for the primary information in the form of content or product information presented by web pages. Add lots of complementary graphics and website features and page rendering times will get out of hand.
Initial page speed
If the initial page speed is kept high, visitors will stay even if all the website content including the bulky graphics has to be rendered forever. The monitoring of the high initial page speed by tracking parameters such as time to first byte (TTFB) or the execution of ping requests from website servers precisely describe the initial page load times and page speed statistics. If these take too long, work on the back end in the form of server and website core optimization has to be done.
Full page load time
Monitoring the time it takes to render all page content on requesting browsers is an integral element of testing the end-user website experience. This information supports strategic IT decisions in deploying and optimizing the hardware infrastructure to maximize website performance.
By regularly monitoring this performance counter, website owners can see how the website is performing in terms of size and content types. With this information, webmasters can store static content in different locations such as B. Caching Content Delivery Network (CDN) while maintaining dedicated back-end servers for efficient delivery of dynamically loaded content.
One of the benefits of running an online business is its ever-increasing global market reach. However, this range is not always equally efficient and, as a result, effective due to the factors that limit client-server communication around the world. Government regulations, bandwidth and technology restrictions prevent optimal website performance around the world, so website speed and availability tests should be conducted in different locations to determine global website performance results that affect global business reach.
Geographic website performance
Website performance varies with fluctuations in web traffic.Hosting servers that handle normal load at peak performance may lose page speed under excessive loads. Conducting stress tests, ramp tests, stress tests, and other performance tests on websites creates an accurate picture of how much web traffic the website can handle before it loses its performance or deteriorates altogether. Compare the results with actual website usage patterns to see if the website needs hardware upgrades to handle the peak load as efficiently as possible.
Web server CPU usage
Shared hosting providers running thousands of websites on single Apache servers fail to deliver high performance even when the website is well-designed with a clean and speed-optimized code. Performance issues intensify during peak load times when insufficient server compute power fails to process website download requests efficiently. Monitoring server CPU load enables hosting companies and IT staff running locally hosted websites to keep a check on back-end hardware capabilities in handling unpredictable web traffic deluge.
Assignment of the website database
Database performance is critical for websites that manage dynamic content from back-end databases. A mechanism should be in place to detect inaccuracies in data transmission and to draw attention to them. By monitoring the free space on servers that host websites locally, you can avoid errors and data loss that could lead to broken links and potentially affect website performance.
How to test
Website owners can use a number of free and world-class website performance testing services to analyze websites and generate bespoke solutions to fill the deepest performance gaps that affect page speed.
Website speed test
Page speed testing tools provided by search engine giants Google and Yahoo, website monitoring specialists Pingdom and GTMetrix provide valuable insight into website performance indicators for free, and programmatically generate scores and suggestions to educate non-geeky website owners. Check out these detailed guides to get you started.
How these tools work
The tools generate performance scores based on a set or rules developed in relation to website performance and user priorities. Principles include resource caching, client-server round-trip times, data download and upload size, and a variety of rules that affect the end-user website experience.
Suggestions are generated in anticipation of page speed improvements that should occur through the implementation of appropriate performance tuning rules. For example, if a large image file is delivered uncompressed, the monitoring tools recommend implementing various measures to compress the bulky file. Such problems otherwise go unnoticed due to human error or simple ignorance, none of which can really and completely be eliminated. At the same time, the page speed monitoring tools would at least give website owners the ability to identify the issues and take appropriate action to remove hidden performance bottlenecks on the website.
The following test was performed using the free Pingdom website speed test tool. Visit Pingdom and take the test by choosing different geographic locations depending on the options available and comparing the final results. Enter your website and click the Try Now button.
You'll then get a summary of your website, including a performance rating, total load time, total page size, and the number of queries you have on your website.
The Performance Insight section of the Pingdom Speed Test Tool is very helpful. These are all based on the Google PageSpeed Insight rules. In general, as you improve these on your website you should see a decrease in your overall load times.
Pingdom Performance Insights
The tool lists all downloaded files in a waterfall chart form and sorts them by loading order, loading time, size, type or url.
Pingdom waterfall requests
Analyze the performance of each file download by evaluating the results using the key chart provided in the tool:
The tool helps identify the next best actions for optimizing website speed. In the sample test shown above, the website being tested needs to fix some bugs for requests that are not found. However, it is important to understand that optimizing these website design elements is an ongoing and evolving process that starts from the base of the website development and is implemented on all new pages as the website scales.
If you need more help troubleshooting your website's performance in Pingdom, check out our Dive Into the Tool section.
Which tool to choose
Different tools - Google’s Page Speed Insights, Pingdom and GTMetrix - identify different problems, test different performance parameters and indicators in different ways, from different browsers and geographical locations. Performance ratings and test results are therefore inevitably different, and no single tool identifies every single performance bottleneck in website design. However, it is recommended that you stick with one tool while you make improvements to better monitor your progress.
However, testing multiple tools, analyzing various website design elements, and comparing multiple test results provides online business owners with reasonable insight into developing speed optimization strategies for their websites.
Chapter 6: How Can I Improve Website Speed?
Developing a great website takes a lot of work. Leading online companies leverage industry-proven experience, supernatural web development skills, and a grueling web hosting service to create websites with world-class performance metrics and user experience. But for those missing that starting point in their quest for speed-optimized websites, a minimalist approach to performing simple DIY page speed optimization tactics is (almost) good enough for patching slow websites.
Knowing how to invest in the right website speed optimization solutions, website management, and possibly downright programming tricks is essential to get maximum website performance. Strategic business decisions based on this knowledge directly contribute to improving website performance, which in turn leads to better online sales, leads, conversions and ultimately business success.
Website speed optimization
Optimization is the key word for success in the cyber world. Like the real physical world of planets, stars and galaxies, cyberspace is itself in flux - a state of continuous change and evolution. In fact, change is the only consistent process in the real and cyber world. Survival in these spaces depends on how well the residents can adapt to different resources and environmental conditions.
The same goes for website owners competing for online business success due to different market trends, changing behavior of Internet visitors, advances in cyber technology at breakneck pace under Moors Law and varying website performance standards from search engine giants.
DIY speed optimization
Online business owners and webmasters adapt their websites to get the best results, under the constant impression of change, through improvisation and to optimize key elements of website design that increase or decrease page speed.
As a general rule of thumb, larger files take longer to download than smaller files. Web page load time, also known as page load time, also depends on the total size of the content resources downloaded from hosting servers into the requesting browser. Bulky, high-quality images are the biggest contributors to the size of the webpage, degrade page speed, and stimulate visitors who wait eagerly for the webpage to load.
According to HTTP Archive, as of December 2017, images make up an average of 66% of the total weight of a website. The following image optimization best practices go a long way in reducing the negative impact of images on website speed:
- Format selection: Use JPGs when quality is a high priority and image modifications are not required before uploading. JPGs can only be processed and modified to a limited extent before the image quality deteriorates significantly. Use for images with symbols, logos, illustrations, signs and text, use the PNG format. Use GIFs only for small or simple images and avoid BMPs or TIFFs.
- Proper sizing: Save valuable bytes of the image payload and adjust the dimensions (width) of your website template. Use the browser's resizing capabilities to make images responsive by setting fixed-width and auto-height instructions.
- compression: Image compression should be a good compromise between image size and quality. For JPGs, a compression of 60-70 percent is a good balance. For retina screens, increase the image size (JPG) by 150 to 200 percent, compress it by 30 to 40 percent and reduce it again according to the required dimensions.
- Less pictures: Keep the number of images to an absolute minimum.
Use image optimization plugins like Imagify, ShortPixel Image Optimizer, Optimus WordPress Image Optimizer, WP Smush, TinyPNG, EWWW Image Optimizer Cloud. It's even better if you go with those who compress and optimize images externally, which will reduce the load on your own website.
For more tips, check out our detailed image optimization plan.
Optimize CSS code and delivery
However, modern websites encoded in CSS load content from hosting servers more efficiently and accurately to browsers. So optimization isn't just about minimizing file size. The following best practices ensure a speed-optimized CSS transfer:
Optimized CSS transfer
- Abbreviations: Reduce the size of your code by using fewer declarations and operators. Fewer lines of code mean fewer processing cycles and efficient transmission of website files to requesting browsers.
- Browser-specific CSS hacks: CSS is at risk from endlessly complicated browser-specific hacks - or corrective declarations, as they are called - that add unnecessary weight to CSS script files. Speed optimized CSS code is both lightweight and simple for servers to process efficiently.
- Minimize CSS:Almost all website speed monitoring tools make a general suggestion to reduce the weight of CSS code to increase speed. Light and compact code speeds downloading, parsing, and executing to dramatically reduce page load times.
- CSS Transfer Best Practices:
- Don't use the @import call
- Remove unused CSS.
- Don't use CSS in HTML like H1 and DIV tags.
- Use inline CSS.
However, excessive indulgence in HTML shrinking may result in a loss of website code accuracy, with user agents taking excessive memory cycles and CPU power in guessing the lack of resources needed to parse HTLM files. Monitoring the sideload performance changes in response to the implementation of each minimization process individually ensures that only the unnecessary code and spaces are deleted.
Plugins - less is more!
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