Often the difference between a great website and a good one is the user experience. Good design and great content are important, but if the website provides a poor user experience with a slow page speed then your website will not be bringing in the extra business that it could be.
If you were to think about the number one frustration that makes you click off a site more than any other, it would probably be a slow loading page. It’s long been known that if a website makes a user wait more than a couple of seconds for a page to load, the user is inclined to move on to another site.
Page speed is a critical part of the user experience. It’s also a significant factor when it comes to your position is Google’s search results. The search engine giant has made it crystal clear that it views a quick loading, performance-optimised site much more favourably than a sluggish site.
So a faster site will not only leave a better impression with your visitors, it will also boost your Google ranking and deliver more visitors to your website. Do you need any more convincing as to the importance of page speed?
How can I check my page speed?
It’s pretty easy. Page speed is calculated on the basis of how much time is taken up loading your website. A great way to quickly check your site is to use GT Metrix tool which will give you a score out of 100.
Over recent months we have been testing various techniques to improve the performance of WordPress sites and to make them load faster. This involved using a number of tools to measure page load speed and making a series of tweaks to the website to see how it responded.
By the time we had finished we found a dramatic improvement on our test sites. Typical results using Google’s page speed checker saw a 70-80% improvement on test scores.
This increase may not be noticeable to you – if you visit your site frequently and the pages are cached in your computer it probably already loads fast. But for the vast majority of your website visitors it will be a big improvement and Google will be suitably impressed by your efforts.
Can these improvements be applied to your site? Absolutely! The changes required aren’t necessarily the same on each website, but we now have a number of performance optimisation techniques at our disposal which can be used on a site-by-site basis.
We will be offering this as an optional add on for all new sites that we build from January 2014. For existing sites the cost is in the vicinity of a few hundred dollars, depending on the amount of work required. If you would like us to optimise your website so that it loads faster please contact us and we can advise you further.
By Aaron Enright