A study conducted by Google indicates that if consumers have to wait more than 400 milliseconds for a site to begin loading, they’ll click away and go to a competitor. This is very different from data a few years ago that indicated consumers would wait several seconds for a site to begin loading. Today, if they have to wait 1/4 to 1/2 a second, they grow impatient and move on.
This is a challenge for many businesses since websites have continued to grow more complex with videos, maps and other interactive devices. The fact that more and more people are visiting sites from smartphones and tablets only compounds the problem. We took a look at our site’s load time a few months ago and have a few suggestions on how you can improve the performance of your site.
5 Ways You Can Increase the Load Time of Your Site
Here are a few things we did recently with the 60 Second Marketer website in order to improve our website performance:
- Test Your Speed: First, visit Pingdom.com to see how fast your site loads. (In the good old days, Pingdom had their website speed tool smack-dab in the middle of their home page, but now they’ve buried it. Fear not, we’ve uncovered it for you — you’ll find it here.)
- Get Rid of Unnecessary Plugins: If you have a WordPress site, you’ve probably added a bunch of plugins over the years. Each plugin slows your site down, so it’s a good idea to eliminate as many as you can. We went from 18 plugins down to 9 which improved our load time by 37%.
- Optimize Images: We also added a plugin called WP-SmushIt which reduces image sizes for the graphics you have on your site. By keeping the size of your graphics to a minimum, you’ll improve how quickly it loads.
- Use a Content Distribution Network (CDN): A CDN speeds up your website by storing versions of your website in various places around the globe. That way, when someone in London tries to access your site, the site is served up from Amsterdam instead of Phoenix. This improves the load time speed and makes your visitors very happy indeed. We’ve heard good things about MaxCDN and plan on using them once we’ve implemented step #5.
- Switch Your Web Hosting Provider: We’re planning on navigating our website over to Synthesis for both security reasons and because of some speed issues we’re having with our current host. We’ve heard good things about Synthesis. Stay tuned as we make the change — we’ll let you know if what we heard is accurate.
There are several dozen other things you can do to improve the speed of your website. We didn’t have time to discuss them all here, but the ones outlined above should get you started. Good luck. And let us know what your experience has been on this topic — we’d love to hear from you!
Jamie Turner is the CEO of the 60 Second Marketer and 60 Second Communications, a marketing communications agency that works with national and international brands. He is the co-author of “How to Make Money with Social Media” and “Go Mobile” and is a popular marketing speaker at events, trade shows and corporations around the globe.