Need for Speed: Increase Your Website Conversion Rate

Why does speed matter?

Consider this; 47% of consumers expect a page to load in less than 2 seconds, and 40% will abandon a page that takes longer than 3 seconds! In a matter of seconds, you could be losing over a third of potential customers.

So how fast is fast enough?

Just a 1 second delay can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. So the bottom line is the faster, the better. Even what seems like a very small difference in load time can result in a huge difference to your conversion rate.

Take Google for example. They implemented a change on some of their pages to list 30 results instead of 10. Astoundingly, they found that these changed pages had 20% less traffic than those with 10 results. The difference in load time? Half a second.  If half a second can make such a staggering difference, think what shaving 1 or 2 seconds off your website load time could do for you!

When Mozilla increased page speed by just 2.2 seconds, downloads of their web browser Firefox figures rose by 15.4%, or 10 million per year. Walmart, meanwhile, saw 2% increase in conversion rates for every one second
improvement in page load times.

How can I make my site faster?

There are a number of things that could be slowing your site down. Talk to your web developer to see if the below options could help you.

Page speed tests

There’s no shortage of software and apps you can use to test your load speed and get recommendations for improving it. One of the most accessible is Google PageSpeed, which will give you a load score out of 100 and suggest high, medium and low priority changes you can make to improve speed.

Don’t redirect your redirects

Sounds confusing, doesn’t it? It confuses the browser too. Consider the number of 301 redirects you pile together, as it will slow things down as it tries to find you through the old destinations.

Each time a page redirects to another page, your visitor faces additional time waiting for the HTTP request-response cycle to complete. For example, if your mobile redirect pattern looks like this: “example.com -> www.example.com -> m.example.com -> m.example.com/home,” each of those two additional redirects makes your page load slower.

Optimize your images

Reducing the file size of your images can make it much faster for the browser to retrieve them. The good news is that you can do this without compromising on quality. In Photoshop, selecting “Save for Web” will do the trick. Or, if you use WordPress, there are plugins which will optimize files as you upload them, such as EWWW Image Optimizer.

Cache!

Browsers cache a lot of information (stylesheets, images, JavaScript files and more) so that when a visitor comes back to your site, the browser doesn’t have to reload the entire page. Use a tool like YSlow to see if you already have an expiration date set for your cache. Then set your “expires” header for how long you want that information to be cached. In many cases, unless your site design changes frequently, a year is a reasonable time period.

Enable compression and minify

Use Gzip, a software application for file compression, to reduce the size of your CSS, HTML, and JavaScript files that are larger than 150 bytes. Minify CSS, JavaScript, and HTML. By optimizing your code (including removing spaces, commas, and other unnecessary characters), you can dramatically increase your page speed. Also remove code comments, formatting, and unused code. Google recommends using YUI Compressor for both CSS and JavaScript.

Use a content distribution network

Content distribution networks (CDNs), also called content delivery networks, are networks of servers that are used to
distribute the load of delivering content. Essentially, copies of your site are stored at multiple, geographically diverse data centres so that users have faster and more reliable access to your site.

Select an appropriate hosting platform When you’re launching a new website, with or without ecommerce, choosing a hosting provider is an important part of the process. Security, stability, and speed are what your site needs to thrive on the web.

Free CRO Assessment

Synapse is giving away a free CRO website audit for the first 30 customers that apply.

We’ll give you solid, actionable tips that will ensure that your landing pages, checkout processes and shopping carts ‘secure the transaction’ and turn a visitor into a paying customer or lead.

Find out more here. 

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About the author

Following a career in above-the-line TV and print advertising, Brendan has been in the world of digital and search marketing for more than 12 years. He was involved with two UK start-up agencies where he built a reputation as a world-class SEO and marketer. He is now Head of Marketing at Umbrellar Group as well as founding Synapse to help NZ business grow online.

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