There are so many things to consider when planning a website. While having an aesthetically pleasing design, winning content, and search engine optimization (SEO) can help drive your success, visitors may not stick around if your site's performance and speed are subpar. The latest algorithms from Google also factor in speed when determining page rankings, making it imperative that your site is optimized to remain near the top of the search list. Read on to learn what may be slowing down your website and how to measure its speed.
Sites that load in five seconds (compared to those that load in 19) see 70% longer average sessions.
Common Factors That Can Affect Website Load Speed
In addition to the following, be sure to choose a webhost that has a solid reputation for quality service and reliability. If you have made improvements to your website and are still experiencing a lag in performance, consider switching to another hosting service. Additional factors include:
- Graphics – Images and graphics add visual interest to your website and should be optimized for web usage to prevent wait times.
- Ads – Ads can generate a much-needed revenue stream, but if they are slow to load they can have a negative impact on the overall performance of your website.
- Design – A design scheme that is overly complex may be overstimulating to visitors and slow to load.
- Plug-ins – Widgets and plug-ins serve an important purpose but use them sparingly to reduce bloat.
How to Test Your Speed
Performance testing tools are readily available across the web, including the following:
- Pingdom – The easy to use interface is suitable for both novices and experts, helping to identify which components of your website are fast and which ones are slow.
- Google Analytics –Test your daily speed to determine where enhancements can be made.
- Web Page Test – Testing is free and ranges from simple to advanced, with optimization checks and suggestions for improvement.
- Page Speed Insights – Enter your URL and with the simple click of a button you will receive a speed evaluation and opportunities to speed up your page load.
- YSlow – In addition to the speed test, each page is graded and summarized based on Yahoo's rules for performance.