Everybody knows that you need a website to be in business today. But websites can actually drive away customers and prospects with simple mistakes that slow down the site. Google now includes website speed in its search algorithm, so slow speeds mean your site won’t score as well, and they’re a double whammy for your business. Prospects are less likely to find you to begin with, and if they do find you, they won’t wait around for your site to load when your competitor’s speedier website is just a click away.
It’s easy enough to test your site’s load times with tools such as PageSpeed or Pingdom. Both sites offer a free test that can point you to issues and show you how your site compares to others. If the results show that your site is slow, try some of the tips below to speed things up.
Get the best hosting service you can find
You may have started out with a free or low cost hosting service, but you’re actually paying a heavy price for those low rates. Frequent outages, slow response times and inexplicable site glitches are sure signs that you need a better service. Find a reliable web hosting provider and don’t wait. It’s worth the money.
Less is more when it comes to improving response time
You want your site to display quickly and reliably, so drop anything that slows down load times. Too many extras detract from your message as well as slowing down the page, so cut flash animations, soundtracks or excessive graphics. As cool as those fancy graphics may look to you, they aren’t worth having if they drive customers away because they slow down the site or complicate the navigation.
Music or a soundtrack that plays automatically creates two problems for your site. First, it slows down the page load. Another problem you risk with automatic music is driving viewers away if they’re in the office or some other quiet place.
Your site doesn’t have to be drab or text heavy, but a few simple, well-chosen web-optimized graphics along with a few paragraphs of well thought out text and bullet points will get your message across better than fancy animation.
Make things easy to find
Keep the site navigation consistent on every page so a customer always knows where to look. If possible, put links to the contact us, about us, and your product pages on your home page so they’re just a single click away. Eliminate unnecessary drop down navigation menus in favour of one-click direct links, and always include a link to a site map, especially on your home page.
Research shows that about 25 percent of web traffic comes from mobile devices, and that figure grows every day. Make sure your site can deal with multiple screen formats without choking or distortion, or you risk turning off a large percentage of your visitors.
Cleaning up your website with a few simple fixes will improve load times and make your site more effective and appealing to visitors. When you make it easy for people to understand and buy your offerings, you’ll find your conversion rate will go way up, but don’t forget to re-test your site periodically to make sure you continue to enjoy the benefits a speedy, well-designed website can bring to your business or organization.