Recently I’ve been focusing on getting this site running at peak performance. People’s attention spans aren’t what they used to be and even managing to eek a tenth of a second of speed out of your site is a worthwhile investment. There are a few benefits to getting your site to load faster.
- Your bounce rate will be reduced.Analytics is a good tool for measuring bounce rates. The lower the bounce rate, the better. Your site should be encouraging enough to make people want to click and read more, a high bounce rate shows that they’re leaving after the first page load, not good at all! Studies and statistics have shown time and time again that speeding up your site will reduce your bounce rate and even improve your conversion rate.
- Google will like you better.There isn’t any concrete proof that Google are already tweaking their search results based on speed but there have been a good few press releases, videos and blogs coming from the Google team that say speed is a factor that they are taking into consideration when coming up with their search algorithms.
- Professionalism.I’m a snob when it comes to websites. I won’t buy from any websites that lack basic style (no primary colours please), that have animated gif’s or that take a year to load. My site’s far from perfect but at least I can attempt to avoid the main pitfalls. A company website like that shows that they didn’t want to put any real thought or money into it, which makes me think they don’t really like what they do. Why would I buy something from someone who can’t be bothered with such a critical element of their company appearance? I wouldn’t, and I don’t.
- Your customers will thank you.Most people have nearly unlimited hosting these days so bandwidth isn’t much of an issue any more. Server location however, is a different matter. If the vast majority of your customers are in Europe, your web server should be in Europe. This alone will speed up your site considerably for your visitors. Using a CDN (Content Delivery Network) is also an awesome way to get your site loaded no matter where the user is. If you have customers worldwide then you need to setup a CDN right now.
- A slow web host will be hiding other problems.This was a lesson I learned quite recently when I changed hosts. I had stuck with my original host for years, always making excuses for them and (I’m an eternal optimist) waiting for it to get better. The fact was that the host and it’s servers were overloaded. Server performance was awful and my sites loaded slower than the time it takes for a few continents to collide. Ditch the bad hosts, pay a little more for decent hosting and your site will work better than ever before.
Have you had any bad host experiences? Do you take the plunge and buy from awful looking websites? I’d be interested to hear from you in the comments below.