The Smart Lab: The Importance of Page Speed Optimization
A fast website helps land sales, writes Smart Age Solutions founder and CEO Emmanuel Raheb.
How fast your website loads and how quickly your customer can access the page they’re looking for severely affects your income. Speed (or lack thereof) is one of the fastest ways to lose an engagement ring or jewelry sale.
What Is Page Speed?
Every element that creates your website affects your page speed.
Why Is Page Speed Important For SEO?
Page speed is one ranking factor (out of many) determining how Google chooses which jewelry websites to display in their search results. Page speed is measured separately on desktop and mobile, so both must be considered.
It does no good to have a fast website on desktop if most people are shopping your site on mobile. To rank for SEO, you have to succeed on both platforms.
Google views each user experience separately, but also considers them as a whole when ranking sites.
Page Speed Affects Your Customer’s Experience
Customers are impatient; they don’t want to wait. Every second a person waits makes it more likely they’re going to leave without making a purchase.
Here’s what happens when you have a slow website.
1. You Create a Poor First Impression
Image is everything. How you present yourself and your jewelry store online is all that your customers know. Your website is often the first encounter someone has with your jewelry business, so it’s critical that you take page speed seriously.
2. You Have Poor Audience Statistics
Page speed affects how Google views the health of your website audience.
Having a high bounce rate (percentage of users who quickly leave), spending a small amount of time on the site, and having a low number of page views are all signs of a website that’s failing. How fast your website loads and the quality of the user experience is what controls these numbers.
It’s well-known that a site load time of three seconds or more will cause you to lose more than half your audience immediately. Studies have shown that even a one-second delay in loading a website page can lead to a 11 percent loss in page views.
This means that with a slow site, you lose much of your money spent on digital marketing because it’s going to waste. Even before you’ve had a chance to introduce yourself, your customers have already made the decision to leave.
3. You Have Poor Conversion Rates
If users are forced to deal with website delays, your sales will suffer. You’ll see this within your site conversion rates. Recent studies have shown that one out of five shoppers will abandon their cart if a website’s pages load too slow.
As a total, this costs companies upwards of $3 billion a year in lost revenue. Just a one-second delay in loading a page can reduce your sales conversion rates by 7 percent or more.
Even Amazon isn’t immune to page speed issues—it’s been reported that any delay in page load speed can cost Amazon over $1.6 billion dollars in potential sales for the year. So, imagine how much a slow site could cost you.
Google recognizes the effect of page speed on the user experience. Core Web Vitals, which are one of Google’s new methodologies to improve search results, assesses a website’s performance, responsiveness, and visual stability—all pillars of an optimized site.
How To Optimize Your Website Speed
Here are three quick and easy ways to immediately increase your website’s speed.
1. Start with Your Host
Choosing a good host is not something to take lightly. This is one area where you shouldn’t skimp on server resources. When you contract with your hosting provider, you should always purchase enough resources (computing power and memory) to not only serve your current audience but also to anticipate any traffic increases from your marketing campaigns.
You’ll also want to consider where your host is physically located. The closer the servers are to where your audience lives, the faster your site will be. You don’t want to choose a host thousands of miles away to serve a local audience.
2. Reduce Your CSS, Scripts, Images, and File Sizes
Images are the biggest culprit in slowing down web pages. Before you upload anything to your site, be sure to check the file size and use an image optimization tool such an Tinify to reduce the size of your images without losing quality.
You’ll also want to reduce the CSS on your site and limit the number of scripts and plugins running when the site loads. The more you can reduce your dependency on outside resources, the faster your website will be.
3. Convert Your Images to WebP Format
Another way to reduce the impact of images on your site speed is to use the new WebP image format instead of the traditional .jpg, .gif, or .png files.
WebP images are much faster at loading and do not lose image quality as other types do when being reduced. Keep in mind that WebP is still new but is quickly becoming the best practice in having a fully optimized site.
As you can see, there are many reasons why you should increase your website speed. If your site seems sluggish, it’s a sign that you need a new website. Over time, your jewelry website will only continue to become slower and you’ll lose sales.
Every dollar you invest to improve your website speed will yield many times more in income gained. When done correctly, a website tune-up quickly pays for itself. It’s just smart business.
Smart Age Solutions provides SEO and page speed services to optimize your website for you. Don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help you succeed!
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