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If you have an online business, there is one thing you cannot live without. website traffic! Imagine what would happen if someone were to take all your traffic away? If your website has a page load speed of above 2 seconds, chances are that Google has already done so.
An Amazon study from 2012 gives a clue as to why. Amazon found that 4 in 10 people would abandon surfing to a website that took longer than 4 seconds to load. In the same study Amazon also calculated that a page load slowdown of just one second would cost them as much as $1.6 billion in sales each year. This was all back in 2012. Today it is worse.
Peoples impatience with slow internet traffic has grown since then. Now 7 in 10 will drop your site if it has a page load time of above 2 seconds. This is particularly true of people under 35. So if your website caters to this particular demographic you need to do something now.
Google knows this, and as a result, websites with page load speed over 2 seconds are sent to the back of search results. Google advertizers with slow page load speeds are also made to pay more than advertizers with higher page load speeds.
This all leads to the same result: If your website is slow you lose traffic.
What is page load speed?
Page load speed is the time it takes for someone to click on a link to your website (eg:anywhere on the internet) till he or she can see a page from your website in a browser.
Page load speed is measured in seconds and calculated for each page on your website. Since each page on your website is different (eg: has different content) page load speed varies greatly. So does what you have to do, to make each page load faster.
A Browser is a program or piece of software that runs on your smartphone, tablet, laptop or computer. A browser loads a page (eg: a piece of HTML) from the internet by calling a server (eg: a computer connected to the internet) with a request for a specific page – the server then answers by sending the requested page (eg: piece of HTML) back to the browser. The way the browser knows which server to ask for a specific page is called a link or a URL. A link like http://onlineiconcreator.com/products.html is the same as a real world address! The server address is onlineiconcreator.com and products.html is the specific page this link points to. Clicking on the link will take you to the specified page.
Fact: Google is nothing more than a list of links that you can click.
The time it takes to load a specific page can be broken down into 3 fragments:
If the HTML instruction doesn’t link to external ressources (eg: images, audio-files or video-files) it can be executed in the browser. Meaning the only time-fragment used is 3. PROCESS. If the HTML instruction does link to external ressources all 3 time-fragments are used. That is DNS, CONNECT and WAIT, SEND and RECEIVE and PROCESS.
Are your page load speeds slower than 2 seconds?
You can easily test that at http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/. Simply enter your web page URL and press Test Now – It is free:
Fig. 1 Pingdom Tools has built this Website Speed Test to help you analyze the page load speed of your website and learn how to speed it up. The tool lets you identify what is fast, slow, and what is too big.
Here I have tested my product page at http://onlineiconcreator.com/products.html one of the largest pages on this website. You can see that it loads in 2.54 seconds and has a page size of 349.2kb.
As is obvious, the page has problems – page load time is half a second too slow and has to be optimized. If you go to the Page Analysis tab you can see a breakdown of what slows the page down.
As you can see 76.01% or or nearly 2 seconds of the page load time is spent loading images. If I could drop the images, the page would load in under 500ms. Unfortunately it is not that easy. I need the images to show what I do.
The ratio of images to other content is normal for modern websites. Probably also for yours. Images, videos and podcasts linked to from your HTML are the most important reason for a slow page load.
Fig. 3 Pingdom Tools shows you where time is used while loading the page. Knowing where and what takes time allows you to address each issue seperately. Thus speeding up your page load time.
You can see that nearly 95% (eg: DNS + SSL + Connect + Wait) of the time the browser waits for the server to answer. That is nearly 2.4 seconds of the 2.5 seconds I started out with. So if I hosted my website on a better server I could cut that down too.
I host my site with Godaddy, a very good hosting provider. But looking at the figures I might be tempted to look for a better one. If your website is important check your hosting providers performance and move your website if money allows it.
What you can do - without cost - is to cutting down the size of your content. Cutting down the size means speeding up the page load. This process is normally referred to as minifying.
Fig. 4 Pingdom Tools shows you the size of the individual pieces of content of your page. Cutting down the size means speeding up the page load.
As you can see the combined size of the images on the webpage is 243,7Kb. We know that we spent 76.01% or nearly 2 seconds loading images. If we can cut the image size in half while still using the same images we would have saved a second. Thus cutting load time down to 1.54 seconds.
But more can be done. As you can see the combined size of Script, CSS and HTML is 100Kb. As we can see from the Time Spent per Content type graph (eg: 12.46 + 7.91 + 3.62) nearly 25% of the time or 0.6 seconds are spent loading this. If we could cut this in half we could gain an additional 0.3 seconds. Bringing the page load time down to 1.24 seconds.
What you do will ultimately determine if your website will be a success or not.