How fast does it take for your website to load?
You may not think about this question very often, but it’s arguably the most important aspect of your site.
That’s because 47% of people expect pages to load in just two seconds or less. Failure to meet this benchmark will crush your conversions.
In fact, 40% of website visitors will abandon pages if they take more than three seconds to load.
If you see high bounce and low conversion rates on your website, page load speed could be the issue. It’s also worth noting that websites with simple designs have higher conversion rates.
Simply put, the longer it takes for your website to load, the higher your page abandonment rates will be:
Here’s something else you need to consider. People are impatient—80% of people who abandon your website due to slow loading times will not return.
Consumers are used to getting instant results.
If you can’t deliver what they’re looking for, they’ll visit a competitor’s site that loads faster and never look back. Just a one-second delay could be costing you big bucks.
Improving your page loading time will optimize the customer experience and ultimately help you increase revenue.
In addition to optimizing the design principles of your website, you also need to understand the elements impacting the loading time and correct any mistakes you’re making.
But where do you start?
I’ve identified the top principles that increase the speed of your website and boost the loading time. Go through this list, and implement these methods on your site.
1. Reduce HTTP requests
If you are not familiar with technical terms, don’t worry—I’ll try to keep this as simple as possible. HTTP is short for hypertext transfer protocol.
These requests and responses transfer data from one point of a network to another.
When you type in a website address, you are telling your browser to establish a TCP connection that responds to the URL. Your computer, or whatever device you’re using, will send an HTTP request to the server to open the page.
According to a study by Yahoo, downloading different parts of a web page is 80% of the loading time.
Long loading times will increase your bounce rates:
If you have lots of elements on the page, such as scripts, images, and stylesheets, there will be an HTTP request for each one.
To reduce these requests, review your developer tools for the site. This will tell you how long each element takes to load and will show you the total number of requests on each page.
Eliminate any unnecessary files.
You can also combine some files together, but we’ll discuss that concept in greater detail shortly.
2. Improve the TTFB
TTFB stands for time to first byte.
Basically, this is the length of time a web browser needs to wait until the first byte of data is received from the server. According to Google, your TTFB should be less than 200ms for optimal performance.
Here are some potential reasons why your server may not be responding fast:
- slow routing
- memory starvation
- slow database queries
- slow application logic
- resource CPU starvation
Once you’re able to identify why the response time is so high, you can improve your TTFB.
Research shows that the median TTFB for running a website on Pantheon is three times faster than running it on alternatives:
You may want to consider this information if you want to improve your time to first byte.
This will help speed up the DNS lookup, server processing, and response times.
3. Reduce the response time of your server
Your page loading speed is directly related to your DNS lookup time.
DNS stands for domain name system. It’s a server with a database of IP addresses and names of hosts.
When someone types a website URL into a web browser, the DNS server converts that IP address to show the location of it on the Internet.
IP addresses are long strings of numbers. This eliminates the need for users to memorize these various number combinations.
But if this step takes too long, you may want to consider switching to a DNS provider with a faster service.
A slow DNS increases the amount of time web browsers take to locate your site. By…