Your website load speed… is it really that important? If your website takes a couple of extra seconds to load, is it really that big of a deal? Many business owners, assuming that the speed of their website is of low priority, leave this issue on the back-burner.

They focus instead on other areas of their website, such as the copy or the SEO. But doing so is a disservice to your business because load speed is actually more important than you may realize.

Website Load Speed Impacts User Experience

When it comes to your website, the main priority is user experience. Are visitors to your website able to find the information they need? Do they enjoy being on your website, or do they quickly become frustrated and leave? When your website takes a long time to load – and on the Internet, this can mean just a few seconds – users are more likely to leave and try another site. Even if your website looks great, and has useful information, if it takes too long to load, you can be sure you are losing customers.

Load Speed and SEO

Besides user experience, the load speed of your website also plays a role in your search engine rankings. Search engines like Google look at a wide range of factors when it comes to determining where your site will rank in their search results. One such factor is load speed. When your site takes too long to load, this is a negative factor according to search engines like Google.

In turn, your website gets bumped down in their rankings. When appearing on the first page of search results can be the difference between getting thousands of visitors or no visitors, it’s important that you do everything you can to improve your rank.

Improving Your Website’s Load Speed

Now that you see how important the load speed is, it’s time to start working on improving. First, you should measure the load speed of your website using a tool like PageSpeed Insights by Google. This will tell you how fast your website loads, and offer some suggestions on how to improve it.

After that, if you discover your website does in fact have a slow load speed, you can begin to address common causes. The first thing to look at is your server. Your server hosts the website, and if it is slow or overworked, the result is a slower website. Work with your hosting provider to see if you can upgrade your server, or if you run the website on your own, upgrade the equipment.

Next, you’ll want to look at the website itself. A lot of large images slows a website down, so you’ll want to remedy this. Either remove the images, or optimize them for the web to reduce the file size. If the images are vital to the design of your website, work with your web designer to make the site more efficient.

Besides the images, you can also reduce the size of other files on your website. Using a program like GZip you can compress important files for your site, improving performance in the process.

Don’t use GZip on images!

These are the basic steps to take if you want to improve load speed for your website. There are some more advanced methods – such as leveraging caching, utilizing a Content Distribution Network (CDN), or reducing the number of redirects – but the above methods are a good place to start. If, after trying the above, your site is still loading slowly, then you should try something more advanced.

Don’t Let Load Speed Sink Your Site

You’ve spent a lot of time working on your website and ensuring it’s a good representation of your business. Don’t let that go to waste by ignoring the load speed. You want your website seen, and for users to enjoy it, so check out your website’s load speed today, and take action to improve it if necessary.

If you’d like to find out more about why load speed matters for your website, or how to improve it, please contact us at any time.

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