Website Speed – Why You Need A Fast Website

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On January 14, 2013
Last modified:January 14, 2013

Summary:

Anyone who knows they have got what it takes to be a content star but cannot find the tipping point, then this post is for them.

You are relentless: thorough, creative and curious. You read like mad, are not afraid to catch hell, and write most people under the table.

You are a self-starter, work hard, and in fact, that hard work has paid off.

So, you have built up for your blog a nice little audience (See my blog category). Every day, a steady stream of visitors comes to your site, leaves some meaningful comments for each blog post you publish. And in addition, occasionally someone emails to you to tell how much they love your writing.

Despite your maniacal consistency, you’ve noticed that things have started to stall.

Especially, the numbers of your repeat visitors are starting to drop and subscriptions to your email list are barely trickling in. In addition, nobody is buying your products or services. So, your ideas seem to be not spreading. (Check out to build your own email llst).

The ugly truth is that even with a half dozen guest posts on big-audience blogs, your website still isn’t growing anymore.

You are about to accept the fact and roll over, but you can’t let it go. And there, you stumble upon a hypothesis that maybe your website performance sucks just by crawling through your website reports once last time.

Why you need to care about website speed?

Well, does it seem like a strange thing to worry about? However, in fact, every metric you care about is affected by the speed of your site: Search ranking, bounce rate, conversion, page views, reader satisfaction, and even your revenue (also known as money in your bank account). (Check out to know more about common causes of Google ranking drop.)

And just making your site faster can increase conversions is the same conclusion that every major retailer online has come to.

But when Google rolled out the changes and tested for speed, their jaws dropped. On those pages with 30 results traffic had dropped by 20%.

The download speed difference? Just half a second.

Due to a fraction-of-a-second load delay, Amazon experienced a similar drop in traffic and revenue. So, impatient bunch, web users.

Then, to have a fast website has always been important. It is obvious not only visitors are going to prefer it but it’s now also well-known that Google uses loading speed as a ranking metric. In fact, your website’s initial page load is perhaps the most important. The longer it takes to load your site then the more visitors are going to press back and find an alternative. A slow website sometimes could potentially frustrate your visitors so it’s important to try and remove it from the equation.

site speed

Did you know this would come with a fast website?

You should give your web pages a diet by revamping code, optimizing images, etc. and you will see real improvements in website speed.

However, lowering page load time led to a dramatic rise across the site in conversion rates (Check out to see 9 keys to increase conversion rates).You should also form the excellent habit of tracking your website’s overall conversion rate. Then, you may know a dramatic push of the needle when you see one. And about 15% increase in overall conversion can make you do a happy dance.

So, is speed behind this conversion boost? The digging demonstrated it is a huge contributor. And the organic pages got the bulk of the benefit.

Let’s think about it.

“Thinner and faster pages convert” is the same conclusion that anyone who fanatically tests the effectiveness of PPC landing pages will come to.

What does all this mean?

Firstly, speed of your site affects your search ranking. John Eckman points out that website speed is a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm. In fact, fast load times equal higher rankings, and higher rankings lead to more traffic.

Google uses about 200 signals to determine rank and page speed is just one of them. As for Geoff Kenyon, less than one percent of search queries are actually affected by page speed.

That’s obviously not an excuse to ignore it.

A website with faster speed leads to a better visitor experience, and vice verse a slow website means a poor user experience. Your page views will drop, bounce rate will grow, but the most important, you will lose money.

According to Strange Loop, it can cost you 7% percent of sales for a one-second delay.

fast website

In case you normally make $1,000 a month from your site, then you are losing seventy bucks a month and $840 a year. So, can you afford to throw away $70 a month and $840 a year?

Well, I doubt it as you are not Mark Zuckerberg. Now, let’s focus on what actually reduces website speed. And I would like to have your attention.

What makes your site speed slow down?

Your host is the first place to check.

The uneven quality of service that comes with sharing a server may cause your website speed problem. Some days the quality is good, some days are bad. Also, choosing a generic hosting provider as opposed to one whose stack is tuned for your CMS is another cause. For example, just by going with a premium managed WordPress host, WordPress users will see some website performance improvements.

To solve the litany of additional factors that killing your page speed, a good managed host is also able to help you. I’ll give a few here and then look at what you need to do to test for these issues.

  • Widget or Plugin Overload: You’ll find common household names in this category like a comment plugin or Hello Bar, which is notorious for slowing down your site. According to Matthew Ogborne, he discovered that his Facebook Like button was downloading 83 Kb of data at 1.34 seconds of load time. And then he yanked it. In fact, when Joshua Bixby discovered that it took 2 seconds to download the original Google+ button, he had the same reaction. The lesson is still clear even when Google has fixed the problem: you should know what kind of burden a widget or plugin puts on a site. (Check out to get more traffic fron Facebook and Google plus).
  • Incompatible Apps and Browsers: Great example are for Chrome and Shockwave Flash. They don’t play nice, then who to blame? Of course, Google. However, to test your site as well as all the pretty trinkets hanging from it across browsers is your responsibility.
  • Many Ads: Of course once you’ve got high levels of traffic, there is obviously a temptation to display ads. However, you should know that slow-loading ads are one of the major causes of high-bounce rates. So, weigh the cost of each additional ad is also a need.
  • Bloated Image File Size: It’s obviously that giant graphics can attract attention and pull readers in, but those images can also make downloading the page a burden.
  • Design Theme: A theme is your blog’s paint job can make heads turn and make people bristle with envy. However, it’s also what makes your site painfully slow in some cases. You should use a framework that works.
  • Analytics Code: The snippet of code to measure website performance that you dropped across your site might add a hair’s breadth of drag to your website speed. Even, maybe 100 milliseconds here or there, it all adds up.
  • Affiliate Code: This is another line of code, another call to the server that keeps your website crawling.
  • Sign Up Forms: The back end code of a sub form that can make additional calls to your SQL server that trip up your site speed. For example, Aweber or Google Feedburner.

Here’s how to round all of the issues above up.

Useful Tools to Test Your Site’s Speed

In fact, there are plenty of useful tools out there to test how fast your site speed is. However, there is a lot of overlap between the tools below except for the Plugin Performance Profiler. In addition, these tools are all fast and free, so that it’s worth testing website on all of them to see the different problems another tool might miss.

1. Web Page Analyzer

website speed test1

Since 2002 this site has been around showing you that web page download speed was important before Google decided to make it part of the factors they use.

From Page Speed Insights, enter your URL into the text box of this dandy little tool, or copy and paste your (X)HTML coding in the larger box. Click “Submit Query”, the program begins analysis of the page and you’ll get an instant report of your website performance. How much time it might take depending on how much code it has to process and how slow your page loads.

You’ll see a list of recommendations that are divided into high, medium or low-priority. In addition, not until after you knock out the others, you can even explore the experimental recommendation, which is a must use.

2. Pingdom Website Speed Test

website speed test2

Pingdom can deliver some robust reports to test individual pages. The tests are performed on real browsers like Chrome that your results will reflect real-world conditions. This is the nice thing about Pingdom.

3. Load Impact

website speed test3

This website speed test (Load Impact) simulates thousands of users visiting your site at the same time. Obviously, if you get a tweet from a super star or a link on the front page of Reddit, then this might happen. Then, before real users land on your site, you can see where your site breaks, spot the bottlenecks, and fix the problems.

4. Google Analytics Plugin for WordPress by Yoast

website speed test4

This Google Analytics plugin was created by Joost de Valk of Yoast.com. This sweet plugin includes a Site Speed feature. How quickly or slowly your page loads across different browsers and around the world will be shown in performance reports.

5. YSlow

website speed test5

Based on their rules for high performance pages, Yahoo! designed this tool for web page download testing. When you run a website speed test, you will get a summary report, which includes recommendations for your site performance. The performance analysis tools like Smush.it and JSLint that they offer are what makes this tool unique.

6. P3 (Performance Plugin Profiler)

website speed test 6

Plugins are beautiful things that anyone who uses WordPress knows. These applications help you do anything you want: TweetMeme adds a button that allows visitors to share your content on Twitter, Theme-Check tests your theme to make sure that it meets Word Press standards, PopUp Domination may support you capture leads.

There are more than 21,000 plugins for you to choose from. But each one adds a cost, steal bandwidth and make your site crawl. So which plugins are worth the extra load to your site, then you certainly have to make decisions about it. The Plugin Performance Profiler (P3) will audit your plugins as well as identify which plugins are hogging bandwidth. Now, you should root out the culprits and then disable it.

Takeaway

Whether it‘s a ranking factor for your site or not, web page load speed is important. In fact, people don’t have enough patience to wait for your site to load. In this time, download speed is crucial, especial when mobile devices becoming more common than the traditional personal computer or laptop and now these people are paying for data plans, which are based on how much data they download.

Building and maintaining a fast website comes with general principles: eliminate what are not necessary, run new features to add through a cost or benefit analysis, keep what you truly need and ditch what you don’t.

So now to get this process started, which is the most efficient way? Make sure your site is running with the right software behind the right hosting company.

It’s time to test your web page download speed as well as improve your search engine optimization program.

Drop any thoughts, recommendations, concerns, questions, tips, or tools on website performance that you’d like to share into the comments box below. 

About Tony Nguyen

Tony Nguyen is the founder of Business Review Center. Since 2011, he has managed a team that has collected customer feedback and complaints on digital products, then tested products, and written product reviews. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, at Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn.

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