There are thousands of sites on the Internet that have great content but do not have enough visitors. One of the reasons for this is that they do not load fast enough. The Internet needs speed to thrive, and slow-loading websites do not register well with users. Studies have shown that most well-regarded websites load in less than 400 milliseconds. A human eye takes more time to blink!
If you are a website owner, you cannot afford to have a slow-loading website. Most website owners do not take care of a slow website either because they are unaware of the toll that low loading speeds take, or do not know how to measure their page-loading speed. Worse, they might even be unaware of how to improve page-loading speed.
Why is a slow-loading website a problem?
Your website is the face of your business online. Like all brick-mortar establishments like to keep their premises spic and span, a site must fulfill certain conditions to ensure a steady stream of visitors. One of these is lightning-fast page-loading speed.
So, why is a slow WordPress website detrimental?
A sharp dip in traffic: A slow website will witness a decrease in the number of people who visit it. Studies have shown how a visitor’s attention span decreases substantially when your website takes more than 3 seconds to load. Add to that the fact that the smartphone generation already has a low attention threshold, and you have a loss-loss situation. Once traffic volume starts declining, you will have a hard time bringing more people to your site.
Low ROI: Return on Investment, especially when running a website, nosedives when the site itself is slow. People will exit the website if it takes too much time to load. They know that they will get what they are looking for on some other website – one that loads faster. And since operating a fully-operating website requires a substantial flow of funds to keep it up and running, your ROI is sure to disappoint.
Low SEO ranking: Google and other search engines will not rank your website high enough. SERPs are designed to rank fast-loading websites at the top. In fact, Google itself has revealed this facet of their search engine ranking practices. Other sites will beat you, and that in itself is a big dent to your ROI. As a website owner, It is important for you to be wary of this and choose SEO-Friendly Themes and Plugins.
Your brand-value will face significant damage: Today, word gets around very quickly. If visitors are dissatisfied with the experience on your site, your image is sure to be negatively impacted. Brand value is acquired at immense cost, and not merely in monetary terms. Branding is an essential aspect of expanding your business, and page-loading speed plays a significant role in ensuring that more organic traffic is driven to your website.
You stand the chance of losing out on the mobile-first market: There is no denying that the future of the online world lies in the palm of your hands- the smartphone. More than 90% of all smartphone-owners do not rely on their computers to go online; they use their hand-held devices. On a smaller screen, a website which takes time to load also creates an unseen psychological barrier, leading most users to go back and log on to a different website. Plus, in a mobile-first world, the competition to reach out to the maximum consumers is brutal. You have to increase your page-loading speed first and optimize your Mobile SEO.
How do I know my website is slow?
The first step to speed up a site is to know that it is slow in comparison to its competitors. You can use the following tools to determine if low speed is what ails your website.
Pingdom: Pingdom is a free-to-use service that has a simple but efficient user interface. Once you log in, you have to enter your site’s URL into the box on the landing page. Hitting ‘Start Test’ will instantly produce stats related to the loading speed of your website, along with some reasons why your website is suffering.
Google PageSpeed Insights: Provided by Google for free, it measures page-loading speed among other metrics to give your website a score out of 100. The more you score, the better it is for your site.
How fast should my website be?
Ideally, your website should load in under 4 seconds. Industry stats reveal that 47% of customers want a webpage to load in less than two seconds, while 64% of smartphone users expect webpages to load in under 4 seconds.
The faster your site loads, the better it is. Studies show that about half of your users will exit if your site takes more than 3 seconds to load. Every second counts. Even a 1-second delay in the site loading time can lead to a 16% drop in customer satisfaction, 11% lesser page views, and a 7% drop in conversions.
What can cause your site to slow down?
There are several reasons why your website may be slow. Page-loading speeds depend on certain aspects. A few of them are:
Too many plugins and add-ons: If you are using multiple plugins and other WordPress add-ons, some of which might not be required, your website loading speed will suffer.
Un-optimized images: When you add large images to your website, its loading speed will go down swiftly. In this scenario, image optimization means how compressed the image is without losing its quality. Ensure that the full-sized image can be opened in a new tab, however.
Presence of malware: Malware may be present on your website, eating away at its loading speed. We highly recommend using a WordPress malware scan for timely detection and subsequent removal. You can rely on plugins like MalCare that provide both scanning and malware removal services that even novice users can use. It is up to you to take steps to improve your website’s security posture.
Un-optimized CSS: Using unoptimized CSS code or bad coding practices can play a big role in slowing down your site. Critical CSS, referred to as the “critical CSS rendering path”, is all the necessary CSS code required to render the website in a browser to the website visitor. The visitor will often see a white screen until the CSS stylesheets have been downloaded and parsed. This is why optimizing the delivery of CSS is important for page speed and ultimately user/visitor experience.
Remember: a fast-loading website is the first step to a great business online. Which means you cannot afford to ignore your website’s speed. Once you realize that your website is slow, we recommend that you waste no time and take corrective measures immediately. Whether it is optimizing your CSS, eliminating unnecessary plugins, or removing malware from your site, swift action can make all the difference.