In Google’s constant quest to serve up the best websites possible, they are always tweaking their requirements. One factor that has been very important this decade and will be for the immediate future is site load time. How long does it take your website to load from when first requested? That is what every webmaster should be asking his/herself. This is a key component to proper web design and SEO.
We all have been to a site that seemingly takes for ever to load. You are trying to scroll down but the page won’t move because it is busy loading some ad. Most of the time the reason this is taking so long is because the site is identifying where you are located and then it is trying to serve ads related to your area. This can ad a lot of load time onto the website.
One of the worst offenders that I can recall off the top of my head is USA Today. They run a site that has many ad requests and seemingly never fully loads. But it’s not just their main site. They also design and manage many sites around the country for small area news outlets that they own. They all have a similar back-page design. It is a grey and black box in the background with the main body text and images in a white box in the foreground. I just tested one of their sites and it literally took 15 seconds to load. They must not care about the general rule formulated and adhered to by most webmasters of 5 second max load time.
Anyone can check their site load time using free tolls like Pingdom. It is important to get your load time under five seconds. The faster the better really. Because not only do you make the search engines happy, you make the actual visitors happy. And that means more traffic. When I go to a site and I see it is trying to load a dozen scripts I instantly hit the back button. I know there are many like me that do the same exact thing.
Steps You Can Do To Speed Up Your Site
- Make sure your servers are modern.
- Make sure your servers are clean and are serving pages fast.
- Make sure you are not running too many scripts on your site.
- Make sure that your site is not pulling images from an outside source.
- All of these things will help improve your speed time.
- Make sure your images are not too large and are optimized (compressed)
Google even has a tool that helps large companies predict the amount of money they can make or lose depending on their site speed. With this tool, they concentrate mainly on mobile speed. This is because 1.6 billion people use their mobile device to shop online globally.
The old adage that time is money has never been truer. When people are searching for an item they want to buy or a service they want to use, they don’t want to waste time.
Lead Developer at Olympus Web. I started in 2002. I specialize in Search Engine Optimization, content creation and building websites for small businesses.