How fast does your website load? Website speed matters.
Facebook recently announced a change that will help users who experience slow-loading web pages on their mobile phones. The simple solution is to give priority in the newsfeed to websites that load quickly. And Facebook is not the only venue that prioritizes speed. Google also uses website loading speed as a ranking factor in the search engine.
Check out this finding from a recent study by Google:
“Over half of all mobile site visits are abandoned if the page doesn’t load within 3 seconds.”
The same study also noted:
“3 out of 4 mobile sites take longer than 10 seconds to load and the average load time is 19 seconds.”
These numbers may surprise you if you have a good quality smartphone with a 4G connection. But bear in mind that others may not be having the same smooth mobile experience you are.
The Google study above was conducted globally with a focus on mobile phones using a 3G connection. This is because 70% of cellular network connections around the world will occur at 3G or slower speeds through the year 2020. We have some time yet before the 4G experience is widespread.
You see? It matters.
Find out how your site is doing:
Now that you know how important website loading speed is, it’s time to take action to speed up your mobile pages—either on your own or with the help of your website administrator. But first, how is your site doing?
Google has a tool called PageSpeed Insights that provides hard data about website speed on the desktop, mobile, or other devices.
You can also run a quick test just on your mobile speed (since that is where the heavy focus lies for Facebook and Google) through this think with Google tool. Google will send you a complete report.
Now, Speed Up That Site!
Now that you know how quickly your site is loading, it’s time to figure out what to do to speed it up.
I sat down with Magnified Web’s co-owner and web architect, Lisa Garner, to learn more about what can be done to keep web pages loading fast. She shared with me six user-friendly tips below.
Note that Facebook has a list of 10 points to reduce site speed, some of which are a bit more technical and will likely require help from a website administrator to implement.
Here are those tips from Lisa:
1. Focus on keeping images optimized, especially on blog posts that are being shared
You’re most likely sharing content from a blog, so let’s talk about your blog pages. Make sure your blog design uses a header that either has a lot of white space, is blurred, has an overlay, or is simply color with a textured background. And, make sure the title is text as opposed to part of the image.
→ Note: We have a full blog post dedicated to methods for keeping your images optimized. Make this one a habit—always optimize your images.
Like regular maintenance on your car, this is one great way you can keep your site running well and web pages loading fast.
2. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A CDN is a network of servers across the globe that will “serve” up the web page from an area that is geographically close to the person who is headed to view that page.
For example, at Magnified Web, we are based in Riverside, CA. But if someone in New York were to pull up one of our web pages, it would be pulled from a server in New York, instead of having to travel across the country because we use a CDN—making it a faster browsing experience.
When we added a CDN to our site, we knocked off a full second of page load time!
Check with your hosting provider. They may already offer a CDN through their service. Another option is to go directly to Cloudflare for a free CDN service.
3. You can optimize a page separately for mobile
You have the option with many page builders to create a different version of a web page for mobile. You might have a beautiful, colorful header on a desktop web page and decide you’d like to have a block of color with a texture behind it for mobile to keep that image file size small.
It would be time-consuming to do this with all the pages on your website, but if you have a page that is shared widely, this could be an option for you.
4. Spend a little extra time up front learning more about the plugin, page builder, or theme you’d like to add to your site
Check the makers of themes, page builders, plugins and find out if are they working to keep your site fast. Read their documentation and/or blog post to find out what they’re doing to manage page speed.
Builders of these products who are going the extra mile to make sure their product does not slow down your website will make that abundantly clear to you on their own website.
5. Make sure you’re on the right hosting plan
Talk with your hosting provider to make sure the hosting plan you are using makes sense for the amount of traffic you receive and the size of your website.
If you’re using WordPress, you should be using a hosting provider that plays nicely with WordPress, or, technically speaking, the hosting is optimized for WordPress.
6. Optimize as you go
Anytime you add something new to your site or create a new blog post, make sure you’re getting those image sizes down, and checking to see if a new plugin causes any significant changes to site speed.
It gets a little trickier to identify where site speed problems are after everything has been built, so do the little checks along the way.
Do you have more questions about mobile website speed? Send us your questions and we will help! Also, subscribe below to receive bi-weekly tips for your website from Magnified Web.
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