Monitor and Improve Site Load Time with These Helpful Tips

You have a business website, but is it performing well? One often overlooked but critically important website performance metric is website load time, or how fast your website loads for desktop and mobile visitors.

Taking the steps necessary to improve site load time can boost your business’s bottom line. Here are three main reasons why sluggish load time is bad for business, and how you can speed up your site.

1. Lower search engine rankings

Having a slow website means that Google and other search engines will likely penalize your website in desktop and mobile search results. All other factors being equal, this means that your competitor’s faster website will rank higher than yours in search results.

And higher search rankings translate to more traffic and sales.

2. Bad first impression and abandonment

Assuming potential customers can find your slow website in the first place, sluggish load time will give them a bad first impression.

According to Hobo, data shows that every additional second your site takes to load translates to an increase in “abandonment,” or people leaving your site and searching for a faster site instead. So think of each second of load time as dollars (instead of sand) draining into the bottom of an hourglass.

3. Lower conversions

A digital marketing case study from Akamai found that each additional 0.1-second delay on a site equals a 7% reduction in conversion rates.

What is a “fast” website?

Before figuring out how to improve site load time, you might wonder what actually counts as “fast.”

Two seconds is the ideal page load time, but a giant 2018 analysis of millions of websites by Pingdom found that the average page load time is 3.21 seconds.

Thankfully, Google offers a free, easy-to-use site speed evaluation tool (PageSpeed Insights) that shows how fast your site is while providing helpful improvement tips.

How to improve site load time

If you’re not a web developer (or even if you are), perhaps the single best thing you can do to speed up your website’s load time is to build your site on a fast, search engine–friendly platform like WordPress.com. Every WordPress.com theme is vetted to make sure it’s super fast.

If you’re using a self-hosted platform instead, consider the following to improve site load time:

  • Use a good web host.
  • Use a caching plugin.

  • Use a content delivery network (CDN).

  • Optimize your image sizes with Photoshop or a similar photo-editing tool before uploading them (ideally uploading and serving images through a “simple storage service” like Amazon S3 rather than directly through your website).

Again, if you use WordPress.com, you don’t need to worry about these extra steps since the heavy lifting is done for you.

Want to make your WordPress.com site even faster?

There are a couple of ways you can make your WordPress.com site even faster:

  1. Try keeping it simple on each post and page. A blog article with five images is going to load faster than one with 50 images.
  2. If you opted for a WordPress.com Business plan or eCommerce plan, be sure to only use plugins that you absolutely need and uninstall the ones that you don’t. The more plugins you have, the slower your site will likely be.

Use these tips to both monitor and improve site load time, thus ensuring that your website and business stay as competitive as possible. Speed up your efforts by starting your own WordPress.com website today.

Thousands of small businesses and online stores call WordPress.com home.

Whether you’re looking to promote your business or share your story, we have a plan that’s right for you.

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Aaron von Frank

Cofounder and CEO at GrowJourney.com, a USDA certified organic heirloom garden seed subscription service. Writer at TyrantFarms.com, Edible Upcountry Magazine, and other media outlets.

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