How long should the page load time of my website be?
How fast can your website load? It is important to load your website as fast as possible. Even with the best SEO integrations and indexing, your website could still experience high bounce rates if it takes too long to load. Page load speed is a critical factor in website development in today’s digitally fast world. Continue reading to find out more about page load times, ideal page speeds, and ways to speed up your website pages for better user experiences.
We dive into what page load time is, why it’s important and how you can check your website page speed.
What’s Page Load Time?
This is simply the time it takes for a website to display the content that users can see after they have landed on the webpage. Websites with a faster page load speed tend to have higher user engagement, high conversion rates and lower bounce rates. Why? Simply put, if your website loads too slowly – the user will leave and search for another page. Possibly your competitor!
Why Page Load Time is Important?
This performance metric can either make or break your website. Page load time is not a preference. Every user will prefer a website that loads quickly than one that takes too long. Your website’s success is directly affected by page load time. Longer loading times lead to higher bounce rates.
A high bounce rate indicates to search engines that users aren’t finding your content useful, which eventually affects your website’s rating. If you have an e-commerce site, this is even more concerning as you could lose customers and sales to faster websites. Page speed should be a key part of any SEO campaign.
Factors that Can Impact Your Website’s Load Times
Your website may slow down due to a variety of factors. The internet connection of the user is one factor that can cause slow loading. Whilst this is something that can’t be controlled by the website owner, there are factors within influence that need to be considered, rather than defaulting to the ‘users’ internet being the primary cause.
There are 4 main issues that can slow down your website’s loading speed. We explain what these are and how you can fix them. If you get stuck, give our team here at Comet Digital a call and let us fix your site speed for you.
Poor optimisation of image content
Page load speeds can be slow due to large images. High-quality, large images can increase page size and require more bandwidth to load. Slow page loading speeds can also be caused by the format of the image (PNG and GIF are slow formats that slow down websites). Website owners and developers should make adjustments (image compression) to optimize these images.
You can also use JPEG instead of GIF or PNG images formats. They are smaller and will load your page faster.
Hosting (uptime, server types)
Web hosting is a key factor in website speed. It is crucial to find a website hosting provider like Comet Digital that has reliable servers in order to ensure your website’s uptime and speed.
There are many options for servers. VPS (virtual personal server), and shared or dedicated servers are all available. You can get uptime guarantees (how frequently the server is available without problems) depending on which web hosting company you choose. So make sure you only select a provider that can guarantee 99.9% uptime.
You will need to choose the right server plan after you have chosen your web hosting company. Although shared servers can be very affordable, you will need to choose a server plan that is right for your needs, there are many pros and cons to using a shared server that other business will share with you. Whilst a shared server is fine if your website is small or medium in size, it might not be sufficient for larger websites.
For larger e-commerce websites, dedicated servers and VPS can be recommended. Websites that require multiple servers to function at peak speed will need several dedicated servers. Imagine that you have a shared server but your traffic has increased. To accommodate the new traffic to your website, you can upgrade to a VPS server or dedicated server.
Multiple HTTP requests
Too much animated content
Animated and flash contents such as audios, images and animations can make websites more interactive and engaging. However, due to their large size, they slow down download speeds. Flash content should be reduced or replaced by HTML5.
Slider Revolution, one of the most popular WordPress plugins, has a high pay load. However, Slider Revolution offers options to optimise the content. This includes lazy loading the content to make it last to load on your site. Ensure that you take the time to look at some of these aspects such as Slider Revolution on your website, and optimise it accordingly.
My Website’s Ideal Page Load Time
To rank alongside 50% of websites, your webpage load speed should be under 3 seconds. Semrush claims that your website page will load in 0.8 seconds. This is faster than 94% of other websites.
According to Google Search Central – Site Performance For Webmasters, the threshold should be between 2 and 3 seconds if you have an e-commerce website. The threshold of 2-3 seconds is where your website’s bounce rates can dramatically increase. According to studies, up to 40% of visitors will abandon a website if it takes more than three seconds to load.
How to monitor and evaluate your website’s load time
You have a variety of tools, both free and paid, that you can use for monitoring and evaluating the load time of your website. We have listed the top three (3) tools that web developers and business owners use.
Google PageSpeed Insights
Go straight to the source where most buisness get their website traffic from outside of social media, and that is Google. Google PageSpeed Intelligences is free and is the best way to get started. It will show you what could be causing slow page loading and suggest steps to fix it.
Pingdom provides website monitoring tools that provide insights and alerts on website performance. It also helps identify reasons for slow loading pages. You will also receive a summary of test results, insights, performance grades, content size, type/domain/type and response codes. The plan you select will determine the monthly cost of this tool. However, there is a 30-day free trial.
GTmetrix, another popular tool to test how fast your website loads, is also available. This tool uses Google Page Speed and Yahoo! GTmetrix uses Yahoo! and Google page speed to evaluate your website’s performance. It also offers charts and reports that can help you analyse any potential opportunities for improving your website’s page speed. GTmetrix offers a variety of plans, from free to paid, depending on your needs.
How to Speed Up Your Website Page
Do you want to improve the user experience by speeding up your website pages? Here are some ways to speed up your website pages.
You will incur additional HTTP request time for every redirect to a different page. This can discourage users and cause them to abandon your site.There are instances where the page your user is looking for might not exist, or the link might be outdated, so you need to resolve for this.
Manually Check the URL
Before you dive in to fix any redirects, put yourself in the users’ shoes to get to the root cause. If you search a URL and it cannot be found there are a few things you can do:
- Check the spelling of the URL.
- Make sure that the browser’s cache has been cleared.
- Try opening Chrome in Incognito mode.
- Clear your browsing data and cookies in Chrome’s settings menu.
If the above fails, you need to fix the redirect itself.
Reduce the Time to First Byte
First, you may wonder “What is the time to first byte (TTFB)?” The time it takes for browsers to receive data from the server is called TTFB. It is simply the time taken for a page’s loading to begin.
The time it takes for a website to load its first byte includes HTTP request time, processing request time and response time. Your TTFB can be improved to deliver requests faster to the browser, which will ultimately lead users to load content faster.
The optimal time to first byte should be 200ms or lower. By reducing HTTP requests, and enabling browser cache, you can speed up the time it takes to get your first byte.
Consider Compression of Your Website
This is done by compressing HTTP data before it is sent off to the server. Website compression can improve page loading speed and bandwidth. There are many compression tools that you can use such as WinRAR and Zip Archiver, PeaZip and 7-Zip. Gzip compression can reduce response sizes by up to 70% according to some studies.
Install a CDN
Content delivery networks (CDNs) are a type of content delivery network that is used to distribute content on the internet. It is a system of servers that are geographically dispersed and provide the same content to users at the same time, no matter where they are in the world.
CDNs have been around for decades but they have only recently become more popular as more people use the internet. They help to increase site speed, reduce bandwidth costs and improve site availability.
In effect, a CDN can also be used to act as a proxy between your website and users through services such as automatic HTTPS, load-balancing, firewalls and redundancy in situations where your origin servers may not be available.
How does a CDN improve page load time? It reduces traffic load by caching your website on global servers. When a user requests your website, the request is routed to the nearest server to their physical location. This can reduce the website’s traffic load and increase page load time.
You will need to clean out your database periodically depending on which content management system (CMS) is being used. This will reduce the size of your database and allow web hosting servers to retrieve requested content faster, thereby improving website loading times. There are plugins that you can install to a WordPress website including WP Rocket and NitroPack that’ll help clean up your database with the click of a button!
WordPress plugins such as WP Rocket will check the database elements and optimise what the relevant tables pertaining to posts, comments, transients, and more.
Website success is determined by page load speed. Every second matters. The ideal page load speed for websites is between 0.5-3 seconds. However, there are many factors that can slow down this speed. It is crucial to analyse the page load speed of your website and correct any issues that may be slowing it down. Speed up your website’s loading time. But, don’t forget to give the user the best experience possible.
Do you need help speeding up your website? Comet Digital offers a free consultation on page speed. Optimising your website can reduce page load times and increase user engagement. If we are your website designer on the Gold Coast, then we will include speed optimisation as part of the overall design and delivery.
Contact us today!