7 min read 27/06/2023

How To Improve Page Speeds and Load Times

Web Speeds Matter

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To the layman seeking insights on how to improve page speed, or how quickly a webpage renders, may seem inconsequential in the grand scheme of their online website. The inherent merits of their goods and services, alongside the strength of their brands’ messaging, are enough to convince online visitors to trust and commit to them.

Realistically, that’s a distant cry from the truth.

But let’s not get that too ahead of ourselves! In the eCommerce space, self-help through online research yields a mish-mash of marketing jargon that intimidates instead of enlightens. Today, we would like to demystify the ‘page speed’ subject and the accompanying vocabulary that coincides with them.

Let’s jump right into the subject of page speeds, shall we?

Page Speeds Explained

As established earlier, page speeds indicate how fast or slow a website renders and loads on a browser on a smartphone or computer. Online tools such as Google Pagespeed Insights measure and distil them into a numerical score out of 100, accessing them using different parameters.

Google typically recommends websites should have a score of 90 and above. And scores between 50 and 89 reflect a website needing rejigging to improve loading time for optimal performance.

If a webpage’s visual content (galleries, embedded video etc.) consumes too much data real estate, that page is going to struggle to render those elements in a timely manner. leading to slower page loading times. The same rule applies to a high volume of plug-ins or unoptimised lines of code on the back end. To improve user experience, reduce the size of your visual elements and optimise your website’s code.

On the flip side, a speedy web page is likely to boast both optimised front-end content and back-end lines of code. No stone is left unturned, leaving visitors with a page that loads up in a mere two seconds on their screens!

Now that we’ve talked about what page speed entails, now it’s time to discuss the lasting ramifications on your website’s success.

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The Dangers Of Low Page Speeds

The TLDR; a low page speed is a saboteur of success! How so? Let’s illustrate the relationship between page speed and business success with this straightforward analogy.

Picture this scenario: You own a luxury storefront in a busy intersection of the Central Business District (CBD). Visibility is great, your merchandise is nicely stocked behind the store’s windows for passersby to gaze upon.

Fantastic, right? There’s one niggling setback. You can’t afford to pay staff, and you’re in charge of running the whole show floor by yourself. Consequently, every time a customer attempts to step in, you have to open the store’s doors for them!

To make matters worse, the walking distance between the store’s entrance and the cash register is comically long. The journey between points A and B is an arduous one.

What ends up happening is customers have to awkwardly wait outside as you pace towards the entrance to open the doors for them. And in most instances, they end up turning away, having never entered.

The exact same scenario applies to web pages. According to Digital, 90% of online shoppers would leave a page that took 2-3 seconds to boot up completely.

You can’t sell to an audience who walk out more than they walk in! In marketing speak, having a steady flow of leads is essential for improving the conversion rate and driving sales. Page speeds encourage people to pay a long visit to your online storefront.

The Improved Page Speeds Checklist

Thankfully, there are surefire ways to bolster your page score, and some are harder than others.

1. Optimise Large Media Files

Optimising image file sizes plays a crucial role in preserving network bandwidth, especially when dealing with large images. Prior to uploading, it’s recommended to identify pictures or visual content that can be compressed using free tools like TinyJPG, which are readily available on the internet. 

When it comes to embedding video, opting for reputable web hosting platforms like Vimeo or Youtube helps alleviate the burden placed on your website. By considering these measures and optimising images, you can enhance the overall performance and loading speed of your website.

Difficulty: Easy to self-implement.

2. Javascript (JSS) Problems

When it comes to resolving Javascript (JSS) problems, including unoptimised CSS and JavaScript files, website owners often face challenges with the back-end code that enables their website to look and function from the visitor’s end. Unoptimised lines of code can lead to pages loading at a snail’s pace, making it crucial to address these issues promptly.

Difficulty: Hard to self-implement. We recommend consulting a web agency for immediate assistance.

3. Flash Slowing Things Down

Flash content used to be the ‘in-thing’ for adding layers of interactivity to different websites. Now, it’s a dated technology harkening from a simpler time.

In 2021, Adobe started blocking flash-based content in their titular flash player. Flash files are notorious for being needlessly large, slowing down the speed of webpages it populates. To optimise your website’s performance, reduce the number of flash-based content by compressing or eliminating them altogether (highly recommended).

Difficulty: Hard to self-implement. We recommend consulting a web agency for immediate assistance.

4. Slow Down On The Ads

Too much of a good thing is bad for you. Digital advertising, like images, adds fuel to the fire when it comes to abysmal page speeds. Start eliminating the least important advertisements, focusing on the ones that yield their long-term value.

Difficulty: Easy to self-implement.

5. Caching Technologies

Caching allows your website to store frequently-used data in the browsers of repeat visitors. Why render the entire website again if you could shave off those precious seconds? Caching leverages the mass consumption of your website for optimised load times. Caching is not a technique that should be overlooked.

Difficulty: Hard to self-implement. We recommend consulting a digital agency for immediate assistance.

6. Content Distribution Network (CDN) For Global Reach

A CDN consists of a grid of servers spread across different continents and countries. Depending on the geographic location of each visitor, the server in the closest proximity helps to relay website information on the fly.

Most eCommerce businesses don’t pigeonhole themselves into a single market. Looking outwards from Australia, sales tend to take place worldwide. On that basis, reducing turnaround times and ensuring your website loads quickly for international visitors boosts the likelihood of a sale.

More importantly, it brings customers through the doors.

Difficulty: Hard to self-implement. We recommend consulting a digital agency for immediate assistance.

The Verdict

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The disclaimers above don’t lie. Generally, improving page speed scores is a tedious, guess-and-check exercise that requires an encyclopedic grasp of all things web design. And we wouldn’t recommend skimping out on a quality web developer either!

Now we don’t want to come across as self-aggrandising but…

Vesanique is a Brisbane digital agency dedicated to building or enhancing existing websites. Our mastery of web design’s best principles allows us to optimise every webpage for Mach 3 speeds, each rendering in a flash.

But ‘page speeds’ comprise a tiny footnote in the vast array of digital services that we have to offer. Should you find your eCommerce business trapped in a riptide, we’ll throw your brand a lifeline! Offering both traditional and digital marketing and branding services, we can future-proof your business for long-term flexibility and scalability.

But we’d like to get the ball rolling! Reach out to us, and we’ll book a time slot for a conversation. We’d like to understand the personality behind the business and your long-term aspirations.

Let’s talk, don’t be a stranger 🗣️.

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