Speed up your site by doing this one key thing

 
Speed up  your website
 

Do you get a lot of people coming to your site but they don’t stick around? It could be because your site loads too slowly.

People don’t have patience for a slow site, particularly if they’re on their mobile, so the more you can speed up things for a better browsing experience the more likely they’ll stick around.

How do you know if this a problem for you?

A quick way to tell if you’ve got a speed issue is to check out your web statistics.

If you're using Google Analytics, look at the Audience > landing page report and then look at the bounce rate column. Sort by this column. If you’ve got a lot of pages with 100% or close to 100% then this is the first indicator. You can be doubly sure by then looking across to the right by two columns to the session time.

If you have a high percentage bounce rate PLUS a low session time ie. seconds or less, then this means that people don’t even bother to stay to see your page load. It’s almost certainly because your site is loading too slowly and a problem.

The one key thing

There are multiple reasons for a slow site loading, but for most small businesses, it’s because the images you have used on your pages are too ‘heavy’.

Other reasons may be to do with the code or plug in’s on your website or the volume of traffic you are getting exceeds the capacity of your web hosting.

However, as a quick win, optimising and reducing the size of your images as a first step quite often gives instant results. If your website is not image heavy, then unfortunately you’re problems are going to be elsewhere.

But if you can answer the following three questions with a yes, then you need to optimise your images:

  1. Is your bounce rate near or at 100% and session times just mere seconds?

  2. Does your website features images on most pages including your product pages?

  3. You don’t optimise the images that you load to your website?

How to optimise your images

Think of images on websites as having a weight. The higher resolution they have, the heavier they will be, so the longer it will take to download them.

There are a few websites that can help you reduce the ‘weight’ of your images. Both are quick and simple.

1. Kraken.io offers a free optimisation tool.

This is a great tool but if you’re image is too large to start with ie. > 1 MB then you have to pay.

 
Kraken screen shot
 

Alternative toKraken

2. Picmonkey allows you to upload an image of any size, then resize it and as part of saving the image back to your desktop, you can choose which ‘weight’ to save it as - which automatically optimise your image to be web ready.

First, open and load your image. From the left hand menu select Resize. If you’re image is > 1000 pixels wide or more, I suggest reducing to 600-800 ensuring quality is maintained, unless your web style guide says that you have images of a specific size. Most web builders automatically resize images but don’t optimise for weight to make them fast to load.

 
Example of Picmonkey screen
 

Next select Save. You can see you have three options. In this example, Roger would save the image to just 64.4 KB which is quite small but the quality of the image is a little blurry and not acceptable. The highest option Sean saves it 214 KB which is an ok size but really it’s better to make it a bit smaller if you can. Pierce, the middle option is 85.5 KB. Both the quality and size are acceptable. Select and save back to your desktop.

 
Example 2 of Pickmoneky
 


That’s it. Too simple!