In the early days of the internet, patience was a must. Websites could take up to a minute to load and content such as streaming video was little more than a faraway dream. But as technology has improved, customers have come to expect fast page load times. In fact, if your business site loads slowly, your visitors may get frustrated and leave. As a result, you won’t connect with the audiences you intend to reach.
But a sluggish site will hurt more than your customer relationships. Google counts page load time as one of the most important ranking factors. This means that if your page doesn’t load as quickly as your competitors’, your customers may see their site first. Eventually, you may find you’ve moved so far down in search engine rankings, customers can’t even find your page.
How fast does your site have to be to compete? Generally speaking, if customers notice the page load time, it likely is too long. One study found that 57 percent of customers will abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load. Keeping in mind that customers access sites from a variety of devices and access speeds, you may need to remove elements that slow your page down. If a customer is more likely to find your site using a mobile device while in the car, a variety of factors could affect load times, including poor reception.
As far as Google is concerned, every second counts. Since research has found that every second added to your page load time increases your abandonment rates, Google will prize even slightly faster times. You may be able to remove one page element and increase your search rankings, which will, in turn, bring more customers to your site. For that reason, the auto-play video or fancy animation you’ve displayed on your landing page may suddenly be expendable.
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For those who aren’t website designers, the prospect of speeding up your website can seem daunting. You may assume developers know tricks that you don’t, but in actuality you really only need to remove the elements that are slowing things down. Here are a few ways to boost your page’s load time.
Once you’ve repaired the elements slowing your page load times down, be patient. Search engines won’t necessarily index the new version of your page the instant you’ve made the changes. Understanding how web spiders work will help as you make changes and wait for results.
Page load speed is an important part of creating a great online presence for your business. When your pages load quickly, customers will review the information and consider purchasing from you, which will increase your sales and help you reach new customers. It’s important to realize that slow page load times don’t just create a bad user experience for customers, but they also keep you from ranking well in search engines.
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