The first “Boost Factor” you need for effective online marketing, is one is called the Time Test. You’ve got to know whether your website passes it.
As a quick refresh on the figures, 53% of all people visiting websites, will leave a site after three seconds if the page is hasn’t loaded yet. So, to make sure you’re not losing half of your potential new customers before you’ve even gotten started, your site has to load in under three seconds.
To make this happen, there are many things you need to make sure of. Firstly, your website needs to be light. What does that mean? It means not having to much code, images, etcetera. So, less data to download .
Even if you know nothing about websites, you probably noticed when you chose a plan for your home internet, that the speed of your internet connection is measured in data volume per second. These days, for most people, it’s probably Megabits per second, or Mb/s.
So when we’re talking about how fast your internet connection is, we’re saying how much data can come through your internet cable in one second. Page loading speeds work the same way.
The two factors are, how much data has to download to make the page appear, and how fast is the connection. So the faster the connection, and the smaller the page size, the faster the page will load.
Now we can’t control how fast our customers’ internet connections are. And we have to keep in mind too, that our customers aren’t always sitting at home with their computer plugged in to up their fibre optic modems.
Often, when someone is heading to the shops to buy something, and they’re about to make an important purchase, especially for a big purchase, where they are ready to buy, and going to buy, and won’t be going home empty-handed, they want to remove all doubts before they pull the trigger.
To make sure they’re getting the product with the best reviews and for a fair price — then they’re going to be on their mobile phone, aren’t they? They’re on the train, on the bus, on the ferry, they’re walking around. They will have fast speeds and slow speeds. You can’t control that.
But you want to make sure when that person, that’s looking for the type of product or service you sell, sees your website in their search results, and comes to your page, your page loads in the three seconds before they say “nope, this site ain’t working” and hit the back button to check out another site.
Again, the speed your page is going to load on their phone is going depend on how many megs of code are in your page, divided by how many megs per second their internet connection is, at the moment they click into to your website. So we need to make sure then, that the total size of each webpage, measured in Kilobytes or Megabytes, is as small as possible.
The page this video you are watching is embedded on, for example, is just over 100 kilobytes in size, and loads in around a quarter of a second (1). That’s why, as you might have noticed, it loaded pretty quick.
On the other hand, according to the HTTP Archive, a website that collects internet statistics, (2) the average size of websites loaded by people on their desktop computers in February 2019 was 1862 Kilobytes. That’s up by 298%, from the February 2011 average of 296 Kilobytes. So websites have tripled in size over eight years.
Now, all the bigger players know to either keep their sites lean, or to use technology that will help them increase the apparent speed, that is how fast their page FEELS like it’s loading. But as you might have noticed, a lot of smaller businesses have websites that are much slower than the required 3 seconds. And for many businesses, that’s going to be a failure point in their online marketing.
So how do we make sure a website loads fast? Well here’s a few ways you can speed up things quickly:
1) Make sure your website hosting is located close to where most of your customers are. If your customers are in Australia, for example, then you want to make sure your server is in Australia too. But a lot of people don’t realise their hosting, especially if they or their web guys have chosen cheap hosting, is actually in the United States. If this is the case for your business, then every time someone clicks into your website, the page files have to come halfway around the world, which of course is going to slow things down quite a bit. This is probably the biggest factor for slow websites. I have done a video about this, which I will send you a link to if I haven’t already. As i say in that video, if you go to ste24x7.com, you can enter your domain name and see where your website’s server or hosting is located.
2) Make sure you use caching on your site. What usually happens with a site is, every time a customer comes in, the server’s processor figures out what all the parts of a page are going to be, and compiles them all together into a single page, which is then given to the user. That takes time and uses server resources, so it’s slower and it costs you more for hosting. What a cache does, is it copies all the parts of each page into a single static file, which are then served to customers directly when they click into your site, without the server having to calculate anything. And often a cache will serve these files from RAM, instead of hard drive, which makes things way faster again.
3) Use a content delivery network or CDN. A CDN will copy your website’s static files, like images, and serve them to your customers from the CDN servers, instead of your own server, when the customers view your site. This takes load off your server and lets it focus on spitting out pages faster.The CDN also copies files to their servers around the world that are closer to any far away customers that visit your site, to speed things up for them. This is important for business that serve customers who located in different regions. A good CDN (such as KeyCDN, which I will link to) will also take care of things like removing cookies from these files, and making sure customers browsers cache, or save, the images, so as they click beyond the first page of your website, some of the files they would have had to download are now on their computer already, so your site loads even faster.
4) Use a lighter theme, such as Generatepress or Astra (there are many other light themes too, these are just two good examples). There are a lot of heavy themes out there these days, especially page builder themes, or themes that let page builders plug into them. Now, page builders do make building sites easier, particularly if you want to do really fancy layouts and graphic effects. But they can add a lot to the size of the code, and worse still, they encourage web designers to go for looks over functionality, and forget about the importance of loading speed. Also, they make it easier for novice web designers to make nice looking template-based sites, that you will pay good money for, before realising that you have paid for an amateur job. So you end up with a website that is sluggish, and does not give a good user experience, with a loading time of double or more than a well-designed site, that is built for speed as well as good looks.
5) Use less images, and make sure the ones you do use are well compressed This can be done easily with a graphics program that allows you to “export for web” which will output nicely compressed images that still look good; with a free online service like imagecompressor.com; or a plugin like ShortPixel, TinyPNG, or Robin image optimizer, that can automatically optimize all the images in your website. You want to make especially sure that all photos in your website are JPG files (aka jpegs), and that only simple graphic elements such as icons and logos are PNG files. Otherwise, your photos, as PNGs will be way bigger than they need to.
OK so that’s some of the ways you can speed up your site, to make sure people stick around for long enough to have a quick glance at your site and figure out if you can give them what they’re looking for, and then to enjoy fast, smooth browsing if they stick around.
Of course, if you want them to stick around and learn more about you, you still need make it very clear how you can help them, and to hook them with a compelling offer to get them to connect to you somehow, so you can start to build a relationship by helping them better understand their choices in your niche, and how you fit into the big picture.
I will get into that in the next video, thanks for watching. Talk soon!