We discuss usability and conversion optimization frequently, but there is one simple piece of the puzzle that can get overlooked. Website speed and performance!
Users are becoming more and more impatient as they surf the web. Now the majority of people really only focus on the first few results in Google so companies spend a lot of time, energy, and money performing search engine optimization and running paid search ads. Once the user lands on your page, you have about eight seconds to capture their attention or they are gone. But before you even worry about your design, layout, and call to action you should consider your site’s speed and performance. If you page does not load within a few seconds, that user will leave and go to the next search result…and will likely never come back.
If your company’s website is slow, the first thing you need to do is determine what is slowing it down. It may be due to a number of factors such as image file size or general architecture. Here are a few simple steps for getting started. You will first need to load the following on your computer:
Once this is set up, open Firefox and go to Tools and choose Firebug. Open Firebug and choose page speed. This will give you a list of factors involved in site speed and make recommendations for improvement.
Here are some things to consider for website development for your business to ensure proper structure, speed, and performance:
- Use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and combine them into one file
- Streamline the CSS by eliminating unused styles
- If you are running on a blogging platform like WordPress install a caching plug-in
- Always trim down image size and resolution when possible
- Avoid flash based site when possible – combine HTML and Flash and limit the amount of flash on each page
- Use a dedicated server if possible or make sure you are using a high quality host provider