Why Increasing Website Speed Is Way More Important Than You Think

By: Colette M. Williamson

When I was in college, I took the No. 625 bus to school. I knew exactly when it was coming. I would run to the bus stop, wait a minute, and the bus would pick me up right on time — for the most part.

I remember one day arriving at my usual time … and waiting. I waited … and waited … and waited. The bus never came. After standing there for 10 minutes, all I could think was, “If this bus doesn’t come soon, I’m going to be late.”

Finally, I jumped in my car and drove to the university. Parking is always horrendous, so I parked miles away and hiked toward campus. I was 100 yards from the university when I saw my 625 bus whizzing by — obviously late. I was annoyed, cold and winded. If only I had waited a few more minutes, I wouldn’t have had to park a million miles from the school.

How This Applies to Your Site’s Page-Load Times

Think about it, if I don’t like waiting a few extra minutes for a bus — and am willing to go out of my way to jump in my car and drive to school — then you can only imagine your customers’ impatience when it comes to your website speed.

People expect buses to fall behind schedule occasionally, but they usually don’t understand why a website is moving slowly. Your customers aren’t going to wait around for your site.

How’s this for a sobering statistic? About 47 percent of Internet users start losing patience if a site takes more than two seconds to load.

Typically, web users enter a keyword phrase, like “laptops with webcams,” in a search engine. Once the search results appear, consumers start clicking through the list to find more information. If the top website provides enough information, they linger on that site. If not, they click the back button and continue their search.

Don’t expect your customers to wait around for a slow site. If your pages don’t satisfy your visitors’ need for speed, it will cripple your site’s traffic and conversions.

Here are four simple tips to help you improve your page-load speed:

1. Before you start making changes, use a speed checker to see how fast your website is. You ideally want your site to load in two seconds or less.

2. Compress your images. If you use .jpg, .png. or .gif on the site, be sure to format the pictures. Smaller files increase your speed. Add the width and height in the image tag (e.g. <img width=”609″ height=”139″ border=”0″>).
3. Avoid using tables within tables. It takes longer for a page to load when a table is within a table.

4. Clean out the extra code. Sometimes the HTML code has unnecessary notes scattered throughout it. Go in and delete all of the extra junk.

For a beginner, this is a good place to start. No one likes waiting around for a bus. So, why would somebody wait around for your website? Remember, two seconds is all it takes to lose a prospect’s attention.

Increasing your site speed could increase your sales.

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