“Site Speed”, according to Google, IS a ranking factor. A fast site is a good user experience (UX) and a good UX leads to higher conversions. Think about it; you’re out shopping one day and need to conduct a quick search on your mobile phone to answer a specific question. You click the first listing in the SERPs, but it takes five seconds to load. If you have no loyalty to this particular site and are merely looking for an answer to your problem, wouldn’t you just click the “Back” button and resort to the next best option listed?
According to the same Google article listed above, over 40% of users will abandon a page that takes more than three seconds to load. Even though the time spent waiting for a slower page is only a matter of mere seconds, it can be incredibly frustrating to visitors. Losing 40% of potential business revenue all because your site loaded one second too long compared to your competition is not one you can afford to have happen. Alternatively, mobile pages that are one second faster will experience up to 27% increase in conversion rates. That, in itself, is enough to put the pressure on!
So, how do you know if your mobile site has a slow page load time?
My favorite way to test this is through Google’s PageSpeed Tool. Simply input your site’s web address and it will provide you a breakdown of page speed recommendations, as well as the average time it took to load the site. Google Analytics is also a great way to access this information. If you navigate to the Behavior tab, then select “Site Speed”, you can either view a summary of your site, or break down by individual pages.
Once you have a general idea of where your mobile site stands, here are 5 simple steps to help you improve your page load time:
- Make Sure it is Responsive: A responsive site is one that automatically adjusts the way it’s displayed based on the size of the screen being used to view it. It is also Google’s recommended design pattern in which they’ve stated they will rank optimized sites for mobile higher in mobile searches. If you’re site is not responsive, at best, your information will either be distorted or lost and cause an uptick in page load time. At worst, it will cause Google to throw your site a penalty and drop it from the mobile search rankings. Find out if your site passes the test
- Check the Size of Your Images: Images are an important component to your online business. Whether it’s a product image, an action shot of your service or simply display images throughout the site, we need them in order to increase visual appeal and show examples of our offerings. However, images on mobile devices can invoke longer loading times. To ensure a streamlined process, be sure that every image added to your site is resized and optimized for quicker loading. Just because something looks spectacular as a banner image on desktop, does not mean all is well on mobile. High resolution images take up more bandwidth space, processing time, and mobile browser cache space. There are a lot of free tools available to help you compress your images, like this one from Tiny PNG.
- Go Easy on Video Embeds: Although videos are an excellent way to gain the attention of visitors and increase dwell time, video embed codes that use iFrames can drastically slow down your site on mobile. Essentially, an iFrame will cause a page to load within a page, therefore increasing load time. So, be strategic with the videos you choose to include on your site. You can always create a YouTube channel and promote it with social media icons throughout your pages.
- Enable Browser Caching: More technically speaking, enabling browser caching will decrease the load on your server as it pulls resources already cached in the user’s browser. It will “remember” the resources that the browser has already loaded. When you leverage browser caching, your page files get stored in the browser cache, ultimately loading your pages at a much faster rate.
- Make Sure Your Site is Streamlined: Keep your site simple and clean! The more images, stylesheets and other pieces of code you have will only clog up load times. And the more elements you have, the more HTTP requests you have – resulting in longer page load times. Cut corners where necessary, combine your style sheets and reduce scripts.
Now of course, there are many more areas you can improve on your website to increase page load time on your mobile site, however these five listed above will put you on the right track towards bettering your overall user experience. If this is your year to get your business to finally make a strong online presence, make sure a small, but serious, issue like Site Speed doesn’t stand in your way.
Need help improving your page speed? Contact the Stream team today!
-Amanda Nickels is a Content Strategist at FullThrottle