What is Site Speed?
Website speed (or performance) is the rate at which a web browser can display fully functional pages. Slow websites can negatively impact site traffic, the user experience, and search engine optimization.
Slowly rendering websites can turn users off. Most visitors expect their websites to load within three seconds or less. A slow website can do more than drive away visitors.
Why Speed Matters: Case Studies
In order to measure the quantitative impact of a slow site, let’s look at some case studies of tech companies that shared their experience.
Greg Linden, when discussing his work with Big Data, emphasized the importance of site speed in terms of revenue. Linden is the inventor of Amazon’s recommendation engines. He explained in his report how a delay of 100 milliseconds can result in a drop of 1% in revenue.
A 1% decrease might not seem like much. Let’s do some simple calculations to put things into perspective. Amazon once reported an estimated revenue of $74.5 billion. According to Linden’s disclosures, even a fractional second delay could cost Amazon $745,000,000 in revenue per year!
Marissa Mayer is a former Yahoo! CEO and Google Vice President. Marissa Mayer, former Yahoo! CEO and Google VP, talked about experiments conducted on Google’s results page. They tested whether displaying more Google search results (10 versus 30% ).) would have any effect.
They found that 25% of users were searching less, but they had more results. They realized, after further investigation, that the decrease in searches was caused by increased page loading time.
Based on the data gathered, it was concluded that even a millisecond delay could lead to a significant drop in page views.
Bing’s Eric Schurman and Google’s Jake Brutlag discussed the impact of delays in web servers. Bing ran an experiment to see what would happen if its pages took 1.5 seconds longer to load than normal.
Data revealed a significant decline in the following metrics:
- User satisfaction (-3.8%)
- Clicks (-4.4%)
- Revenue per user (-4.3%)
Shopzilla undertook a major redesign of its website that lasted for two years. Shopzilla received between 20 and 29 million unique monthly visitors back then. Optimizing their website’s performance will be necessary to handle the traffic.
Phil Dixon, Shopzilla’s VP for Engineering, shared with us some of the key lessons learned through their optimization efforts. They saw an increase in their key metrics by simply improving the speed of their website.
- The conversion rate has increased up to 7-12%
- Page views increased up to 25%
How fast can you load pages in 2020?
Mobile as the top priority
In 2017, mobile internet use surpassed desktop usage. Nothing has changed in three years. In fact, 53 percent of all website visits were made from mobile devices. Backlinko data paints a grim picture of mobile internet usage.
- On mobile, the average page takes 87% longer to load than on desktop
- The desktop average Time to First Bite (TTFB) is 2.5 seconds for mobile, compared with 1.28 seconds for desktop
- The average time it takes to load a page on a mobile device is 27 seconds, compared with only 10 seconds for mobile
According to studies, the average speed index on mobile is 11.4 seconds, and on desktop, it’s 4.7 seconds. Google’s best practice is to aim for an index speed of less than 3 seconds.
Testing Your Site
You can measure the performance of your site using a variety of tools.
- WebPage Test is the industry standard to measure site performance. The results are collected from real browsers running on common operating systems.
- Insights on Google PageSpeed – Offers insights into the best ways to optimize web page speed.
5 Ways To Make Your WordPress Website Load Faster
- Choose a Good Hosting Plan
Your server is one of the easiest ways to increase your website’s speed. Initially, most people opt for shared hosting. As your website grows, it can become slower. Upgrade your hosting plan to prevent this.
If your host is running PHP Version 7.4 and LiteSpeed, you can speed up the loading of your website. Preloading is one of PHP’s best features. It is a way to create a cleaner and faster code, and it speeds up script execution.
Your hosting package should be one of your first considerations when it comes to improving the page loading time. Upgrade your hosting package to boost performance, improve conversions, and increase speed.
- Invest in Fast Themes
ThemeForest themes are easy to install, but they do not guarantee that your website will load quickly. These themes are usually made with free Visual Page Builders such as WPBakery. The pieces may look great, but the code and scripts can cause your website to slow down.
Choose themes that are lightweight and quick to load. You can use WordPress pieces such as Elementor or Beaver Builder if you plan to use Visual Builders.
A pure WordPress site like GeneratePress would be another smart choice. WordPress sites without builders not only load your site faster but they also have easy-to-use theme options.
Use Caching to Your AdvantageWhen the web pages are cached, they store static files. Images, documents, and HTML are cached to allow site visitors quick access. The database will not have to download every file for each request.
Caching is usually only effective for users who return to the site. The page must be loaded at least one time for first-time site visitors before the cache is created. You can enable caching in WordPress by installing certain plugins.
- Super Cache This is ideal for sites with high-traffic and low-powered servers
- The most popular performance plugin available