Site speed has the same effect as the speed cooking of a restaurant. People don’t want to find themselves waiting for too long to get what they ordered. If they have waited for a long time, people might as well move to another restaurant to fill their hunger. This also could happen to a website, if it takes more time to load, most visitors are going to close the tab or enter a new website to open. That’s the common situation, but in 2014, are site speed is still important?

Yes, but why? Two reasons, first of all, because Google needs it. Site speed is important for Google, in fact many experts think Google has an obsession on how quick a website to load. This is kind of old news, because when Google released Speed Online Tool in 2011, they also released a statement about their tool and the important of site speed:

“At Google, we’re striving to make the whole web fast. As part of that effort, we’re launching a new web-based tool in Google Labs, Page Speed Online, which analyzes the performance of web pages and gives specific suggestions for making them faster. Page Speed Online is available from any browser, at any time. This allows website owners to get immediate access to Page Speed performance suggestions so they can make their pages faster.” 

The reason why Google think site speed is important is because when Marissa Mayer is still working as Vice President, she asked Google users if they rather have 10 or 30 results when they searched a keyword. The result was many users wanted to have 30 results, so Google changed their preference. But the bad news is their traffic decreased by 20%, even when the difference speed for 10 and 30 results was only HALF A SECOND.

Google also uses site speed to determine page rank, not only on desktop site but mobile site as well. A site called Unbounce released an article written by John Ekman that said a website with quick page load can have better ranking and gain more organic traffic:

“Since page speed is a factor in Google’s algorithm, excellent load times will improve your ranking => you get more organic traffic. Secondly, improved page speed will give your visitors a better user experience, make them more prone to stay on your site and finish what they came for => improved conversion rates.”

Second and the last reason is because visitors think so. There are 4 research about site speed with pretty shocking results.

Radware did a case study which result is when a site has slow process, 51% of online shoppers in States decided not to finish their purchase.

Another case study that Radware did. This time they found out that there is increasing demand of faster site speed. In 2010, when a page needed 6 seconds to load, it suffered -40% conversion hit. What about in 2014? With the same load speed, it suffered -50%.

Another research found that 47% web users think a site should be taking 2 seconds to load. Also when traffic is peak, about 75% costumers admitted that they are willing to go to competitor site if the site is taking a long time to load.

– Site speed is not only to make visitors happy but also for the sake of business. Strange Loop said that only a second delay can cost a business about 7% sales.

Now, what makes a site load so slow? The main cause of this question is the host. A site needs to have a good and the right host. Because the cheap host is only for company that wanted to save money, but because the host isn’t really reliable, this could affect their business. That’s the first cause of many, here are the others:

– Unoptimazed images: Impacting about 90 percent of the site and Alexa 1000 is unoptimazed images. There are could be JPEG and PNG images that contain additional data for comment or maybe because those file images have deflate compressor that’s not efficient. JPEG images should be for photos only and PNG is best for icons and logos.

– Too many widget and plugin: Buttons for social media shortcut is one of the cause slow load speed. This can be proved by what Matther Ogborne found. He said that Facebook Like button cost download data of 83 kb with 1.34 second to load.

– Too many ads: With tons of ads that a site has, could make a page to load become slow. One heavy ad to load can lead visitors to competitor sites.

– Incompatible browsers and plugins: It’s important to test your site to found out how quick is your site to load on different browsers and devices. A flash component can easily slow down site speed and not very friendly for most mobile devices.

– Bulky code: Condense codes and shrinking files is the best option.

– Website theme: Amazing design site is nothing if it takes too long to load.

– Additional embedded media: It’s best to have videos and slide show hosted at your own host, so your site speed is not taking more time to load.

To find out site speed of a site, there are many tools that can be use. But not only to test site speed, some of the tools provide an improve guide to make the site faster to load.

WebPageTest

Supported by Google and can be use for free with check for Page Speed optimization, break down content with waterfall charts and suggestions for improvements.

Pagespeed Insight

Made by Google Developers and a must-use tool for speed test. Very easy to use with the result score of 1 to 100 and will be analyze for both desktop and mobile version. There’s also suggestion based on how high, medium and low the priority of change.

In the end, site speed is still plays an important role. The faster load time of a site, could improve its page rank and also visitors satisfaction.

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