From the very appearance of the Internet, web page loading speed was crucial to customers who wanted to get the necessary information as fast as possible. Now, search systems take this parameter into account defining the web search ranking, especially in case of commercial queries. The corresponding notification was already published on the official blog of Google on April 9, 2010.
To put it shortly, this news says that fast site loading speed has a positive impact on customer experience. Therefore, page loading speed defined by search bots has become one of the components of Google algorithms and affects web resource ranking in search results and rating in Google Search.
The research of Kissmetrics, a company that specializes in web analytics, showed the correlation between the load speed of a website and the satisfaction of its visitors (potential customers):
- 47% of visitors expect page load time to be 2 seconds (or less);
- 40% of visitors will close the tab if the page loads for more than 3 seconds;
- Every second user feels annoyance if the waiting time exceeds 3 seconds;
- 79% of customers, dissatisfied with the speed of the online store, won’t buy there again;
- 44% of online buyers will share their negative experience with their friends and family.
So we can say that website load time becomes one of the most important indicators for website owners, especially in case of online stores. Since slow loading of the page makes visitors close it and in the long run results in the loss of organic traffic.
Website Speed Checkers
If you wonder how to test website speed to know whether your online store is fast enough, try some special pagespeed tools available online. Usually, such analysis not only helps to measure website loading time but also gives recommendations on troubleshooting and the optimization of separate elements that slow down the site.
Here are some fast and free services that can help you to get such statistics.
This service uses the data of tools offered by Google and Yahoo search systems (PageSpeed Insights and YSlow), allowing to get a thorough picture of site speed.
You may try to do a quick analysis of any popular website. This will help you to understand the main principles and parameters of GTmetrix tool. Just in a few seconds, you will get the following results:
But, please, mind the geographic location of your check. If the server is located far from your target region, you have to understand that the page load speed rate may be quite distorted. So you had better pay more attention to the recommendations indicated in the service than to the very rate.
Take a note of certain indicators. In the Performance Scores section, you can see website assessment data based on PageSpeed Insights (80%) and YSlow (99%). The indicators can noticeably differ due to the difference in algorithms, yet the first one deserves closer attention.
Next goes the Page Details section:
which includes such data as Page Load Time, Total Page Size, and Requests. The last indicator mentioned reflects the number of requests made during the test to fully load all components of the page.
Below you can see the tabs with the lists of different indicators. In terms of website speed, we are interested in the first tab (Page Speed):
These are the recommendations the service generated, based on the site analysis. If you try such troubleshooting tips, it can help to increase the page loading speed of your website. Click any of these recommendations to get more information on the problem and learn how to solve it.
Generally, it’s quite easy to use GTmetrix.com: A green up arrow means that your website performance results are better than average while a down red one suggests that your indicators are lower than average results of other websites. And the color of the Grade column in the list of recommendations indicates the level of optimization: low (red), medium (yellow) and high (green).
Hence, everything that isn’t green should be improved. The implementation of these recommendations will help to speed up the website.
Another popular service that allows testing your website speed — tools.pingdom.com. Its great benefit is that it shows the location of the server used for the check. Wherever possible, it is recommended to choose the closest country to the target region where you plan to promote your web project.
We analyzed the same website as in the previous tool to check how Pingdom works. In a few seconds we got the following results:
As you can see from the image above and from another one below, this service also displays the data on Page Analysis and Suggestion on how to increase the loading speed:
To make a more detailed analysis, you can simultaneously test your website speed in both tools and compare the received recommendations.
Another useful online tool is Loadimpact.com that you can run to see how your website works under a certain load. During the testing, a different number of requests is generated per second and dynamically increases. Use this tool to see how your website will deal with the load of the hosting where your web project works.
How to Increase the Loading Speed of a Website or an Online Store
As the high-speed Internet becomes more accessible both on PC and mobile devices the number of Internet users continues to grow. However, there are still some websites that work slowly.
With regard to online stores, the main problem is that an entrepreneur can launch an appealing and convenient website but because of its slow work, many buyers will leave it. According to some data, even a 1-2 second delay can have a significant impact on the revenue.
Sure, it’s better to use the recommendations you’ll receive from the analysis done with the aforementioned website performance tools, but you will only benefit if you know some universal tips that can help to speed up your website:
- Optimize your website technically. A qualified programmer can optimize the work of the website to minimize the number of requests sent to the database when a user browses the site. This also positively impacts the performance.
- Use data compression. By this we mean Gzip-scripts and the implementation of other software file processing methods that compress data on the server-side in response to the client’s request;
- Enable caching. Caching technology is supported in many modern CMS both for online stores and other websites. A similar option can also be offered by your hosting provider.
Caching technology is used to speed up access to web pages already visited by users when they open them again. There are two main types of caching:
- Server-side: Specialized scripts are used;
- Customer-side (User-side): The files of the visited page are saved by the inbuilt browser tools in the memory of the device used to open the page.
In both cases, when the user visits the page again the request is sent to the copies of files on the server / hard disk, which can significantly increase the reloading speed and reduce the load on the server.
- Avoid redirects. If you have redirects on your website try to limit their number wherever possible. Each of such forwardings sends a separate request to the server, increasing the load on it.
- Use fast hosting. The speed of the website in many ways depends on the quality of the hosting used. Therefore, we recommend you to pay attention to the volume of RAM allocated to your resource (the more, the better) and use hosting that stores data on SSDs instead of usual hard disks.
- Website performance monitor your website speed. From time to time check the speed of your online store with the online tools listed in this article. If your site is added to the Google Search Console, pay attention to the Crawl section and its Crawl Stats subsection. Here you can see the graph displaying the time Googlebot needed to load the page:
The screenshot above shows that the load time improved significantly in January when the site was moved to a better and faster hosting. This way, you will be able to promptly notice a decrease in the load speed and immediately eliminate the problems.
With the aforementioned advice, you can increase the speed of your project, which is important both for online stores and informational sites.
Content Delivery Network (CDN)
The main task of Content Delivery Network (CDN) is to optimize the delivery of content to the end user through the organization of a geographically dispersed network infrastructure. CDN distributes content among several servers reducing the number of routers between the end files and the user requesting them.
Each of the peripheral platforms contains an active copy of the data from the central server and delivers it upon the user’s request. The number of dispersed server nodes in the massive CDN can be really enormous. The main advantage of this technology comes down to the following principle: the closer the data are to the client, the faster they will get it, which hence saves the resources of the server.
It is Really Important!
If you spend time and money to attract potential customers but your site works slowly your visitors will feel uncomfortable using it and will just leave. As the result, you lose not only sales but also the funds invested in marketing.
And last but not least, it harms your reputation as an entrepreneur. The dissatisfied customer eventually makes an order in another place and will be left with a negative impression about your company. Therefore, page load speed is an important metric for any online store, because the slow website creates a whole set of problems to the business.