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Need for Speed: Why a fast website matters more than ever

Firas Aldalou
Firas
One of CandidSky's SEO managers, Firas has a strong love for anything digital, and a great all round knowledge of search marketing.

January 17, 2017

3 minute read

When it comes to website optimisation, ensuring your site speed is up to scratch makes a huge difference.

It doesn’t really matter what performance metric you’re basing success on – whether it’s goal conversions, revenue, search rankings, whatever. If you have a slow website, then any and all of these are going to be harder to achieve.

If the average mobile website loads in around 20 seconds on a 3G connection, yet your content page fails to load in under 3 seconds, that can have a devastating effect on your visitors and potential conversions. Research has shown that roughly 54% of users will bounce out if the page takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

Having a website that loads faster is considered a far better user experience for your users. With internet connections becoming faster and faster, we tend to expect a faster experience on all our devices. Our devices are getting stronger and faster, and yet the vast majority of websites out there are struggling to keep up and are being left in the dust. A fast page load time is very quickly becoming an imperative part of a good user experience, ensuring the correct content is show to the user in as short a time as possible, keeping them happy and engaged.

Fortunately, there are quite a few ways in which we can optimise for speed in order to make sure your site is running as fast as possible. We’ve decided to mention a few of them below.

Minimise your CSS and Javascript usage

One of the most common areas where there can be some obvious streamlining optimisations tend to be under the hood, looking at things such as your site’s CSS (stands for custom style sheets) and your Javascript codes.

By carrying out some “minification” (the process of cleaning up your code from unnecessary character), some essential yet quick wins can be achieved with regards to overall site speed.

Minimise your redirects

When migrating from one site or page to another, the most common way of passing along users and authority from one to the other is with the use of permanent (301) redirects. However, there is a downside to this.

Having too many redirects can lead to your site not being able to load as quickly as it should, as the servers that direct traffic to your site will have an additional step to ensure users land on the correct page. While they tend to be a necessary evil, it is advised to best use only when truly needed.

Choose your hosting provider carefully

To make sure your content loads as quickly as possible, it’s also important to choose your site’s host carefully. Keep in mind that bandwidth and traffic demands on your site tend to change over time, so ensuring that your hosting provider will adapt to your site’s changing needs is very important.

Strip down for Google AMP

The Accelerated Mobile Pages Project is Google’s answer to Instant Articles. Like Instant Articles, AMP is a service which reformats your content for faster display on mobile devices.

Keeping your site fast

As you can see, there are a number of ways in which site speed can be addressed and remediated. Remember to keep in mind that a slow loading website can have negative repercussions on traffic, as well as costing you conversion opportunities and potential revenue.

On your marks….get set…..optimise!

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