How long did it take for this blog post to appear? 2 seconds? 4? The blink of an eye? However long it took – thanks for sticking around! Because studies show that these days, even 400 milliseconds — literally the blink of an eye — is considered too long to wait for a page to load.
Around 2001, the average online shopper’s expectation for a Web page to load was 8 seconds. After which, they would abandon ship. In 2009, studies showed that the former 8 second rule had gone down to 2. Now, we’re at the blink of an eye. I imagine the next expectation involves a chip in the brain.
“Two hundred fifty milliseconds, either slower or faster, is close to the magic number now for competitive advantage on the Web.” – Harry Shum
But what can be done in the face of such expectations for quality and speed? You don’t want to lose customers before you’ve even connected with them. We’re here to help! With these 10 tips, you can speed up your website and conversion rates!
- GZip Ninja Speed Compression – “This [plugin] will give you the ability to increase your speed and possibly even your rank in Google from a speed increase.” Once installed, check here to see if GZip is enabled on your website and how much it has compressed your website!
- Save for Web – Do you have a lot of images on your website? Remember to Save for Web in Photoshop before you go to post them. This can decrease their size drastically, without compromising quality.
- WP Smush.it – “Smush.it uses optimization techniques specific to image format to remove unnecessary bytes from image files. It is a “lossless” tool, which means it optimizes the images without changing their look or visual quality.”
- Head over to GTmetrix or Google Page Speed Insights to learn how fast your website is, and how it can be improved. Compare your results to those of your competitors too!
- Lazy Load – This WordPress plugin ensures that images are only loaded when the area becomes visible to the user. This can greatly reduce page loading times!
- Plugin Cleanup – How many plugins do you have? Do you need them all? While some are very useful, such as the ones explained in this article, others may not be as necessary, and can slow down your WordPress website. So take a few minutes to delete all the plugins that you no longer use and your website will thank you.
- W3 Total Cache– “Improves the user experience of your site by improving your server performance, caching every aspect of your site, reducing the download times and providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration.”
- Choose the Right Hosting Plan – Don’t cheap out on hosting, or you’ll be fighting a losing battle from the start. Establish the needs of your website, and don’t push the limits. That way, it can handle traffic spikes efficiently.
- Responsive Design – Choose a fast WordPress theme that has a responsive design, meaning that it has been optimized for desktops, tablets and mobile devices. Search engines favour responsive designs and so do customers.
- Empty Your Trash – You may have deleted unused media or plugins, but did you empty the trash? Trash can take up a lot of unnecessary room in your website’s database. The bigger the database, the longer it is to retrieve information from it.
YOUR CHALLENGE: Check your website speed here before and after implementing these tips. Then, share your results in the comments below! Ready…Set…Go!