Slow websites stink. A slow loading website holds your readers hostage while they wait for the good stuff — and that’s undeniably bad for business.
Research shows that site speed has long been a factor for users. A 2009 study by Akamai and Gomez found that 47% of users expect a web page to load in two seconds or less, and 46% will not return to a poorly performing site. The numbers hit harder for e-commerce sites: 40% of shoppers will abandon a retail site if it takes more than three seconds to load. Google officially made site speed a ranking factor in 2010.
Needless to say, site speed is a top priority for users. In fact, it’s ranked as the second-most important performance attribute behind ease of navigation. That’s why we make every optimization necessary to ensure you don’t lose any customers to a slow-loading site. There are a multitude of factors that encompass site performance, and we’ll guide you through every one of them. These factors include:
- Compressing all images used on page. This is easily the biggest problem I see on other sites. Large image sizes (ex: greater than 1MB) cripple site performance, especially if you use multiple images on page. Most home Internet connections are not made to handle that many requests at that size. If you upload images straight from your camera to your website — site performance will suffer tremendously.
- Enabling Gzip compression. Gzip is strongly recommended by Yahoo!’s Best Practice Guide for website performance. Gzipping essentially reduces the size of your website files and makes the code easier for search engines to read, thus reducing bandwidth and decreasing load times.
- Keeping the database lightweight and optimized. The database stores your website’s most crucial information: your post content, user information, site settings, etc. It also stores junk that can accumulate over time and slow your site — like spammy comments and post revisions. We’ll clear out the junk and keep the tables optimized to give your site an edge.
- Using semantic code. This basically means we know what we’re doing. Our sites are written efficiently, using as little markup (HTML) as possible while still looking great (and making validation). Our sites are easy for search engines to read, which improves load times and boosts SEO.
- Using proper hosting. You get what you pay for with hosting. If you choose hosting that costs a dollar per month, you’ll get a shared hosting account on an overcrowded server with unexpected downtime and terrible page load times. You don’t want to make a mistake with hosting after spending so much time and effort optimizing your site. Salty Key will get you on the best hosting account to make your site run lightning fast while staying within your budget.
There are many more factors that contribute to site speed, but if every webmaster used the above recommendations on their sites, the web would be a much more pleasant experience.