Remember when getting to a knocked door in a minute was a sufficient response time; when answering the phone before the third ring was once seen as a positive attribute to the caller; when a 60-second traffic light didn’t frustrate or anger even the most demanding among us; or a 10-second webpage load time was tolerated as reasonable? As with many standards of performance, the benchmark for “acceptable” has been moving ahead in tandem with the speed of technology. Once upon a time patience was seen as a virtue; today everything has to happen now!
Internet users have no patience for websites that they perceive are failing to meet the newest standard of timely performance. In a study by Akamai, about half of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less. Approximately 40% of all internet users abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load; 70% of those internet visitors who think your website speed is too slow won’t return to the website again and 44% of them will pass the bad performance information on to others who may use your site. Remember the importance of “word of mouth?” Well now it is the “Influencers” that may sink a poorly-performing website. With website speeds increasing 22 percent every year in the competitive digital world, it is imperative that a focused and ongoing effort be made to maintain website performance.
Improving the slow speed of a website, while daunting to those of us who are easily intimidated by technology terms and back-end functions, can be fairly easy to diagnose and correct with routine application of a few performance enhancing fundamentals.
Most website requirements were defined and established when the site was initially developed and designed. The website hosting plan selected when the site was first launched, while adequate at the time, may not meet the demands of current traffic. Review and update your hosting plan to ensure it meets current usage needs.
Caching, the storing of commonly used CSS, images, HTML documents, and media files, when enabled will result in faster access to data and will lead to a more rewarding experience of faster load times for repeat visitors. However, first-time visitors will not see the benefit of caching to their load time experience.
For the majority of websites, images make up more than half of a website’s pages. Clearly the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words” is still relevant in the digital communications era. Broken URL source links and the choice of image file types can impact the performance of a website. The most common and versatile file type is JPG. This popular file type can be saved in a wide range of qualities between low and high and performs well with vibrant images of products. When presenting graphics with heavier textual elements or transparent backgrounds, PNG file types perform best. GIF files should be considered when displaying a brief visual animation or mini video clip. Regardless of the file type, editing the image to optimize its performance is important at the outset, and reducing the overall number of images will have a positive effect on response times. This is a place where “less is more” is good advice to be taken.
According to Yahoo, HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) requires 80 percent of a website’s load time. Combining CSS/JS Files into one larger file may help your load times in the long run. Reducing the size a large number of images and eliminating distracting images that don’t correspond to your written content will enhance overall performance. Users expect web pages to load fast, and they won’t stick around if they don’t.
A professional web developer and designer can offer more options to improve the speed and performance of an ailing website. To learn how Junction Creative Solutions’ (Junction) team can implement performance enhancements to your website, call 678-686-1125.