| 4 min
October 19th, 2016
A website is no longer a combination of pretty colours and designs – speed, now more than ever, is the essence and should be your main priority when developing your site.
In 2016, if you can’t deliver a super fast experience, then visitors will have no problem looking elsewhere. We could show you the stats, but I think it’s fair to say we all know that a slower site equals less traffic. So, what’s a fast website? How can you quantify this numerically?
What speed do consumers expect?
- According to Google Webmasters, e-commerce shoppers want a site to load in about two seconds, Google aims for less than half a second.
- A Mobify case study shows that 57% of users will abandon a site if it takes longer than three seconds to load.
Clearly, the consensus here is that faster is better because it improves the user experience, so here are some ideas you can use to consult with your developers into making your site faster.
The stripped back minimalist design is an increasingly popular design choice, and from a speed point of view, the fewer elements that it takes to load the site make it as fast Speedy Gonzales himself. In essence, if you’re designing a new site, avoiding harmful practises that that slow down your site’s loading speed (such as large high-resolution images, excessive use of ads or not caching your site just to name a few) can drastically improve your site’s loading speed.
Minimalist features can include;
- A hamburger menu instead of a navigation bar
- More white or negative space
- Short web forms
- Smaller images
- Just one font instead of different types of font
Have you ever been to a website and as you scroll down the page, images will appear out of nowhere? That’s lazy loading, a design pattern that only renders objects when they’re necessary, so objects below the fold will only begin to initialise loading when users scroll down the page. This ‘load when necessary’ approach means your site relies on fewer resources, therefore, resulting in faster performance.
Note: If you have a long-scrolling page with lots of content, it is highly recommended you use this feature as it will greatly improve the speed and user experience of the site. To incorporate lazy loading into your design here are a few good plugins to choose from:
Get Google to Help
Whatever you’re opinion of Google might be, one thing is certain, Google wants your site to be faster – mostly because it would help their overall missing of making the Internet faster. So, why not use the amazing tools they already provide for free! For example, one such tool is PageSpeed Insights, a wonderful tool that provides you with detailed insights, reports and recommendations into what is causing your desktop and/or mobile to be slow.
Below is an example what the results would look like once you enter in your URL.
When you click on the desktop tab we can see a separate score and new recommendations tailored to desktop alone.
Optimise Your Servers
Optimising individual pages for speed is great and all, but if you neglect your servers all your effort will be worthless. Especially if you host your own website, an important aspect to getting a super-fast site is keeping your servers in tip top condition. In particular, tackling your server response time. Server response time is how long it takes for your server to respond to a browser request.
Here are some strategies you can implement to make your server response time super-fast.
- Use a content delivery network or CDN
- Use a caching solution
- Improve your web server software configuration
So, there you have it, some neat tips and tricks guaranteed that anyone, beginner or expert in the world of web design and development, can do to help speed up the loading time of a site. Of course, there are plenty of other ways but we can’t give away all of our tricks of the trade, now can we. We’re always willing to do the heavy lifting for you, so why not get in touch and let us turn your site into Speedy Gonzales…