If you have a WordPress website, then the most important thing you must learn is how to speed it up.
Why? Because the speed at which your web pages load will have an influence on everything – your traffic, how happy your users are, bounce rate, conversions and, more importantly, your profits.
Just building a website is not enough. If you leave your WordPress site alone, it will gradually get slower.
Every website will accumulate date, they get more complex over time and gradually their efficiency begins to fail. This is normal for every website, but it needn’t be and there is a lot that can be done to keep things running at optimal speed.
Why Speed Matters
So, why should you care about website speed? Your site loads up within seconds so it’s OK, right? I mean, everyone has time to wait for a website to load …. Don’t they?
It might surprise you to know that most internet users don’t have a great deal of patience:
- From 2008 to 2016, attention span has dropped to 8 seconds
- Around 47% of users want a webpage to load up in less than 2 seconds
- Around 40% will close a website that doesn’t load within 3 seconds
- Almost 80% who are not happy with website performance will not come back
And if that hasn’t convinced you, a delay of just one second in loading time will reduce:
- Conversions – 7%
- Page views – 11%
- Customer satisfaction – 16%
This may not sound a great deal but think of it in terms of the real-world – Amazon, a huge web business, has worked out that a one-second delay in page loading speed could cost them more than $1.5 billion in a year in lost sales.
Slow site speeds are not ignored by the search engines either. After all, the search engine is looking to provide the user with the best results and if a website is too slow and annoys visitors then it isn’t considered to be a good result.
It may not be an official factor in website ranking, at least not yet, but it certainly has an effect on where your website appears in the search results. How?
When a website is slow to load, your bounce rate increases. For those who don’t know, that means the rate at which users leave your site as soon as they get to it. They won’t wait a couple of seconds for your page to load; instead, they go for the Back button and leave.
When this happens, the search engines notice and down goes your vote because they see this as a sign that your site is not of a good quality. This tends to happen more with mobile traffic because their internet speeds tend to be slower.
And, for future references, given the fact that mobile devices are fast taking over as the main internet device, Google has stated that, for mobile page rankings, speed will most certainly be a factor.
Just for interest, the three main things that affect your WordPress site speed are:
- The hosting service you use and their technology
- Components of WordPress
- The device the website is being accessed from
How to Test Your Site Speed
The biggest issue affecting website speed is you, As the site administrator, you don’t see the website as others do and, just because it is lightning fast loading n your computer, it doesn’t mean everyone else has the same experience.
Why would it load quicker for you than anyone else? Because you are on it all the time. Your browser is caching the static elements and storing them on your hard drive and that means, whenever you go back to that website, those elements don’t need to load again.
However, for new visitors, things are very different. Not only that, not all devices have the same loading speeds, and, for this reason, you need to do something about it.
There are plenty of good tools that will test your site speed, some that will test it from multiple locations. Choose one that will provide you with full details on what is affecting your site speed otherwise it’s a waste of time.
What Speed Should Your Site Be Loading At?
Short answer? In less than 2 seconds.
How do we come to that answer? Simple – almost half of the web users expect a website to open that quickly and it is also a cutoff point stated by Google for E-commerce websites.
Not only that, if your website can load up fully in under 1.7 seconds then it will be faster than three-quarters of all websites and what’s an effective way to get more traffic? Get yourself noticed and what better way than a fast website.
Aim for a maximum of 2 seconds – less is far better. After all, who is going to complain if your website loads up too fast?