Do you have a slow loading website? Google, the world’s largest search engine, keeps a ton of stats. A lot of sites have Google Analytics installed to help owners understand their visitors. One stat tracked is when someone visits the website and more importantly, when they leave. Google uses this information in a tool just released to find how fast a mobile website is. The tool will tell you how many visitors leave your website while it is still loading (based as a percentage). The tool also shows you how well your website performs compared to other businesses in your industry. They offer hints on how to correct any items causing your website to load slowly.

Fix typical issues

Typical items causing a website to load slowly include server response time, not using compression, not using caching, and not optimizing images. While some items may be beyond the expertise of most website owners (i.e. improving server response time), most of the other items are well within the abilities of most owners.

Enabling GZIP file compression can reduce the size of transferred files by up to 90%. Not only does this speed up the download speed, but it also reduces the amount of download data for mobile users. This is important for mobile visitors who pay for data downloads.

Some websites use the same files on different pages. Most websites use jQuery to control user interaction. Why make visitors download these files repeatedly? Enable caching so that the page first checks the visitor’s local machine. This will make subsequent page loads faster, thereby improving the visitor’s experience.

Images are the largest offender

One of the biggest offenders for a slow loading website is images. Improperly formatted and non-compressed images account for most of the downloaded size for web pages. Use a tool like Adobe Photoshop to convert images to the proper size and the best quality for the page.  For example, you can reduce a 1000 px image from 1.83MB to 101KB without sacrificing image quality. Websites do not need print quality images. If you must offer print quality images, simply create a link to download the image.

For slow server response time, you may not have control over the hosting server. You do have control over which web hosting company you select. Do a little research before selecting your web hosting platform. Include server response time in your criteria for ranking web hosts.

Don’t risk losing visitors with a slow loading website. Having a fast loading website is imperative in today’s mobile world. Use Google’s free tool to check the page loading time of your website.  Fix any identified issues and your pages will load faster. Your visitors will stick around longer.

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