Speed is important, we all know that. In today’s busy world we crave the fastest cars, the swiftest smartphones and the highest speed broadband we can achieve, but what about the websites we visit? Without doubt, visiting a website with a slow loading time makes it all too tempting to click ‘back’ and find somewhere else to go, but aside of bounce rate, why else should businesses be concerned about loading speeds?
Here are some real-life examples of businesses cases where a little investment in website speed went a long way:
- Shopzilla: Reduced loading speeds from seven seconds down to just two. The result was an increase in page views of 25 per cent and a revenue increase of 7-12 per cent.
- Yahoo: Improved site speed by 400 ms and saw an increase in page views of nine per cent.
- Firefox: Reduced load time by 2.2 seconds and downloads increased by 15.4 per cent.
If you run a business website, you might be looking at these statistics and wondering what sort of result your business would get with a few speed improvements. Thankfully, improving website speed is easy, and is something every online business should be optimising for right now.
Checking if your site is up to scratch
Finding out how your website is performing right now is easy. There are plenty of online tools to help you with this, such as the site speed testing tools from the NCC Group. This will help you to analyse the loading speed of your website from an end users point of view, as well as finding out how to help make improvements.
What should be tested?
There are a number of elements that affect the website loading speed. Avoid any speed test that simply pings your server to get a response time, as this will only define the speed of your server. At the ‘real world’ end of things, your users will still be twiddling their fingers, waiting for an image to load or a database query to be executed. A good testing package should include:
- Checking using different browsers: Not only should your testing software be using different popular browsers such as Safari, Chrome, IE, Opera and more, it should also be able to use different versions of that browser to see if previous releases perform any better or worse.
- Checking from different locations: Websites with a hosting company that has their server in the same country as the target audience tend to fare better, but location-based tests should be performed to let you see how the international audience sees your company.
A comprehensive test of your website speed will throw up instances where you can make easy, cost-effective changes that will significantly improve user experience.