Why Website Speed is Important

November 15, 2019

Website speed matters a big deal, more than you probably think. Especially in Ecommerce.

In fact, a 1 second delay in mobile load times can impact conversion rates by up to 20%. Source

Not having a fast website is losing you customers. Just check out this video below by Google on how people react to a slow mobile site.

Not only that but Google recently put out a blog post on November 11th 2019 detailing that they may be introducing a new feature to the Google Chrome browser naming and shaming slow websites by showing a slow site warning badge to users.

This warning may look something like the below image.

Source

It is uncertain as to when Google will introduce this feature to the Google Chrome browser, however it is in development currently so there is no time to waste. You need a fast website right now!

How can I measure how fast my website is?

So page speed is really important but how do you know if your website is fast?

Well there are plenty of online tools out there on the web that can analyse your website and give you a score based on how fast your website loads.

The best ones in our over 15 years of experience in web development would be in our opinion GTmetrix and Google PageSpeed Insights.

A GTmetrix test for www.bisongrid.uk

A Google PageSpeed Insights test for www.bisongrid.uk

How can I get a fast website right now?

Both of these tools are great not only for providing a score, but also for providing optimisation suggestions that can be made on your website to make your website faster!

Most of the improvement suggestions provided by these tools will be around image optimisation, CSS and JavaScript optimisation as well as server response times.

This is great as we will want to focus on these areas as to get the most bang for our buck on improving your website's speed.

How can I make these speed optimisation improvements to my website?

Server Response Times

Having a fast server with low response times is the foundation of having a fast website.

In order to improve server response times you need your server that is hosting your website to have sufficient computational resources such as memory (RAM), processing power (CPU) as well as having a disk drive with enough read and write speed and enough storage space.

Ideally you will want to be on a dedicated hosting server just for your website and not on a shared hosting setup.

This is because although shared hosting may be cheaper, your website will have to compete for resources with other websites on your server, not to mention that if one of the websites on your server is compromised your website is also in immediate security danger.

In addition to this, you will need your server to have a low TTFB or Time To First Byte. This is the time it takes for your server to send and for the user to receive the first byte of information about your website when your website is loading for a user.

Having a low TTFB is usually determined by how good your hosting provider's internal infrastructure is setup and how they serve content to users.

CDN's or Content Delivery Networks are great for improving your websites TTFB as CDNs can serve content to users very quickly by making use of caching and serving content from servers based near the user's geographical location.

All our hosting packages that we offer here at Bison Grid are fully dedicated servers and come with our super fast global CDN with average Time To First Byte times of less than 200ms.

Check out our hosting packages here.

Image Optimisation

Images make up the bulk of a website page size. Therefore it is important to optimise these images where we can to make the pages on our website smaller in size and therefore much faster to load.

You can optimise your images in many different ways. One of them being to manually upload your images to an online image compression site and then re upload the compressed images one image at a time to your website.

However, this is quite time consuming. Another option is to either run an image optimisation script on a server level or to install an image optimisation plugin onto your Content Management System or CMS such as WordPress or Magento.

These scripts and plugins will optimise all the images on your website automatically as well as provide additional ways to optimise your images such as converting your images into the WebP format which are 25-35% smaller in size than JPEG and PNG images as well as also having options such as lazy loading images which will not load certain images until those images are visible on the user's screen.

In our experience the best plugins and scripts to use for image optimisation are ShortPixel image optimiser in combination with Autoptimize for WordPress as well as imagemagick and optiPNG for server scripts.

CSS and JavaScript Optimisation

The next thing on the list to optimise would be CSS and JavaScript.

CSS and JavaScript control how pages look and function. Without the two, websites would be nothing more than black text on a white background.

Because of the important role that CSS and JavaScript plays, the file sizes of CSS and JavaScript files can become quite large in size which therefore takes a long time for a user to load the website.

We can however reduce the size of CSS and JavaScript files through minifcation.

Much like image optimisation, there are plenty of plugins available to do this for us. One of the best ones to do this in our experience would be Autoptimize for WordPress.

Closing Thoughts

In conclusion, having a fast website is very important for maintaining, gaining and converting users into customers.

In this blog we have outlined the main ways which will increase your website's speed the most, however there are many additional ways of achieving a fast website.

If you are looking at increasing the speed of your website we can help. Get in touch today and get your website fast!

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