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How fast is your website? (How to tell and why you should care)

By Erin  |  January 10, 2012  |   Website Improvement

page speed, clock

The loading speed of your company’s web pages matters, folks.

It’s been shown that faster websites make for happier customers, reduced bounce rates, increased conversion rates and—for some websites—better Google rankings.

Here's what Google has to say on the matter:

"We encourage you to start looking at your site's speed (the tools above provide a great starting point) — not only to improve your ranking in search engines, but also to improve everyone's experience on the Internet." - Google Webmaster Blog, 2010

Tell me: Will a faster website improve my Google rankings?

Maybe.
Maybe not.
The bottom line: the odds say probably not.

That's because only an extremely small percentage of searches are affected by Google's incorporation of site speed into their rankings. And for those sites that are affected, speed isn't a major ranking factor.

So why bother? Why are we talking about this?

Think of it this way:
Improving a site's speed has been proven to boost its effectiveness through increased visitor interaction, the creation of happier visitors, better ROI, and higher conversion rates.

TechnologyReview.com recently shared research that's uncovered:

  • 49% of users will abandon a site or switch to a competitor after experiencing performance issues
  • a 10 second increase in website load time translates into a 135% increase in visitor bounce rate
  • the consequences of a one-second delay include 11% fewer page views and 7% fewer conversions

So in a nutshell: "Even slight slowdowns online frustrate people and cost companies money".

Think of higher rankings as a potential bonus

Google understands that faster sites make for better overall experiences and happier, more engaged web users.  And in (yes, very) limited instances Google even factors speed into how they rank websites.

What all this this means to you:
A faster site is a better, more effective website that can do more for your business.  It can bring you more conversions and sales and as a bonus, there's even a slight chance it could improve your search engine rankings.  

How to speed up your site

Google loves quicker-loading sites so much they’ve gone out of their way to help you make your site faster. A wide variety of online tools exist that can help you decrease your site pages' load times. We suggest you take a look at Google Page Speed Online.  It's one of our favorite tools.

Google Page Speed Online grades the speed of a page in your site on a scale of 1-100 and provides you with prioritized suggestions on how you can make your page load more like greased lightning. Suggestions range from easy and quick fixes all the way to tech-heavy changes that your webmaster will need to address for you. (And if you need help making any of these changes, we're here to help -- drop us a line.)

How to get your Page Speed Grade

Here’s how to get your Google Page Speed Grade and improvement recommendations:

  1. Visit Google Page Speed Online
  2. Enter your website’s address
  3. Hit the orange “Analyze” button

All the while, keep an eye on your Site Speed data in your Google Analytics account. (Go to Content > Site Speed to check how you're doing)

Give it a shot. How do you score?

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