Slow Website Load Speed: Your Biggest Problem in 2020
By Alain Parcan
When building your website, it’s important to accurately and personally represent your pet care company’s identity. Your website is your number one marketing resource, after all.
User experience is the key to a successful website, which is why it needs to be revisited on a consistent basis.
Online users tend to have short attention spans, and if they feel like your website is taking too long to load, they may decide to call it quits before your information ever appears. Quick page–loads are the new normal for a successful website—a trend that’s becoming increasingly noticeable within search engines.
Back in 2010, Google made it official that page load speed is a ranking factor for their algorithm. In other words, they admitted websites that load quickly are more likely to make it on the top of Page One of Google than websites that load slower. Not even a year ago, they also made it known that mobile searches would be held to the same standard. What does this mean? In 2020, your website needs to load quickly!
What is “Slow” for Page Load Speeds?
According to Google, a page that is “very slow” takes longer than ten seconds to fully load. They actually prefer that your website loads in under three seconds, to be considered “quick.”
It may feel like Google is just making up their own rules, but using page load speed as a factor to determine ranking is meant to mirror user preferences. If a user wouldn’t wait to view your site, it makes sense Google wouldn’t rank your facility’s website high on Page One.
To find out how your Website measures up, Google PageSpeed Insights1 is a free tool that can provide you with metrics as well as suggestions for how to lower your page load time. Speaking of…
How Can You Lower Your Page Load Speed?
Even though some strategies to lower load speed may require help from a professional web developer, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways you can go about doing it yourself! Below are three simple strategies you can employ to speed your pet care website up a bit:
1. Optimize Your Photos
High-quality images can really help a website stand out, especially when they show off your company’s facility and guests in great detail. There is such a thing as too much quality and detail, though. The larger (and clearer) the image is, the larger the file, which takes more time to download. The key is to find the middle ground where the photo is sized correctly and compressed, but is still visually appealing and clear. When your line of work includes adorable dogs and cats, it’s hard to say no to adding tons of photos. You need to make sure those photos aren’t bringing you down, however.
This is where optimization comes in! Use your favorite photo editing software, or a free online service, such as Picresize2, to resize or scale down the file size of your website’s images. Optimizing photos is an excellent way to start speeding up your page load speed.
2. Keep Your Layout Simple
Some business owners have long lists of website features they’ve seen on other pet care sites that they would like included on their own. We’re big fans of creativity, but we have to remind businesses often that it’s best to keep things simple when it comes to website design.
Every time you feature something like an interactive map, a rotating slideshow or a video, you require an additional “request,” which the Internet must make to display the site. The result is a dent in your website’s load time. One or two features won’t hurt you too much, but too many can be a big risk.
When putting together your home page, identify the primary information you want your visitors to receive and make sure you only feature what you feel to be entirely necessary. This will prevent your page from becoming too busy, and it will decrease the time a user has to wait for your website to load.
3. Make Sure Your Web Hosting Plan Still Meets Your Standards
Perhaps you’ve tried some of these strategies before, yet they haven’t worked. This may be a result of your web hosting plan (typically a yearly payment made to keep your site and its files on the internet). People just starting their pet care business tend to reach for more affordable hosting plans when they first create their website. A lot has changed since you first started your company, so it’s important to make sure your hosting plan matches up with where you are now as a business. It’s possible you’ve added numerous pages, galleries and other content that may be too much for your initial hosting plan.
It’s no secret that people, especially online, tend to have shorter attention spans these days. Having a website that loads quickly is a great way to meet consumer needs while also setting your site up for success for Google rankings. In 2020, all it takes is a little effort to make sure your website doesn’t slow down your business!
Alain Parcan, Director of Marketing for Market Hardware, Inc., contributed this article. Alain brings nearly 10 years of experience in educating businesses so they can market themselves more effectively. Market Hardware helps small pet care businesses compete on the Web. You can Reach Alain’s team at 888-381-6925.
Google PageSpeed Insights