Website visitors are notorious for looking for reasons to leave. It’s been reported that the average internet user gives a new website about 15 seconds to prove its worth. Otherwise, they’re going elsewhere.
The metric that measures this tendency is called your website’s bounce rate. In short, it’s the percentage of people who click into your website, glance around for a moment, and then click off without visiting another page.
Your website’s bounce rate factors into your overall rankings on Google. Beyond that, it has a direct relationship to the effectiveness of your website. Ecommerce websites need visitors to view their products and move through the checkout process. Other business websites benefit from visitors learning more about both the company and their services.
So how do you keep your visitors happy?
One major factor is the speed at which your website loads. This is the very first experience your new visitor will have. And if it takes too long to pull up the initial page, they’ll simply back up and find a new place to go.
But how do you know if your website is fast enough? And how can web design services help your Nashville business to stay competitive?
Definition of “Fast”
Internet users want their information quickly. Your website needs to be able to provide the answers to their questions quickly, whether they are pulling up your pages on a computer or a mobile device.
This trend only continues to get more dramatic as time goes on. The goal should be to keep your load time under three seconds. Each second beyond that will continue to cost your website more visitors and be a detriment to your Google rankings.
Google crawls websites in search of content and keywords that it can use for search results. Slow websites make it more difficult for Google to find the information it can use to index your content. This results in lower rankings and leaves room for your competitors to pick up the slack.
How Fast Is Your Website?
So now that we understand the importance of a fast website, how do you know where you stand? The easiest way to learn this is to use a handy tool provided by Google themselves.
Page Speed Insights is a free service that not only tells you how your website is performing in the way of speed, but also gives you some tips as to how you can improve it. Simply input your URL and wait for the results.
Your website will receive a score (out of a possible 100), as well as a breakdown of various speed metrics.
How Web Design Services Can Help
Is your website full of images? The size and file type of these images can have a drastic effect on how long it takes to load your pages. Keep the size of your images appropriate to the role it will fulfill. Is it used for a large background image? That can be a larger file than if it’s simply used for a thumbnail. Likewise, these images can be compressed so the file size is less than 150KB.
Your webpages are made up of lines of code. These lines dictate everything you see on the page. And your visitor’s browser is reading through each of these lines every time they pull up one of your pages. Minification is the process of cleaning up your code. This process can either simplify or remove long lines of code. It can also compress files to make them easier to download. These processes are particularly advantageous for the experience of mobile users.
Caching is the process of storing certain data that is usually transient so that it can be retrieved quickly at a later date. This allows you to view previously computed or retrieved data. You can change the expiration date of your cookies to cache various aspects of your website.
A redirect is when one URL has to access another before it can show you the content. This can be the result of web pages merging, changing names, or being moved to a new domain. Longer redirect chains take longer to load. They also hurt your SEO rankings. These can be fixed by linking the original source to the latest link on the chain.