In a short answer: yes, they most probably are! If your conversion rates are consistently down, then you might want to consider taking a look at your current page load speeds. But how exactly do you determine when a page loading speed is considered as “slow?”
If your website doesn’t load in two seconds or less, then it is already too slow! Studies suggest that if your website takes longer than two seconds to load, you will have already lost 53% of your visitors—which tremendously hurts your conversion rates.
However, that’s not all. Besides losing visitors, Google itself is also punishing your website rankings. This means that your website does not appear as high up the search engine results page (SERP) as it should be, just because your website takes longer to load fully! In the future, Google Chrome may even label your website as a slow loader, which can turn away even more visitors.
Fixing Your Loading Speeds
All in all, these elements make page load times a critical element in your search engine optimization efforts. If you’re serious about ranking higher in SERP and want to increase your conversion rate, you need to identify why your website is loading slowly in the first place.
But before that, you need to test your page load speeds first. Merely pulling up your website with your browser won’t do. This is because page load speeds can be affected by the limitations of the device you’re using, your internet connection, and whether you’ve visited the same website before or not. This means that you may need to use external tools to determine if your website is really slow to load.
The Diagnosis Process
Here are two tools that you can use:
1. Page Speed Insights
Page Speed Insights is a free tool developed by Google itself. It provides a detailed description of how long your website loads on both desktop and mobile devices. Next, it will offer helpful suggestions to help improve your load times. Since you’re trying to rank higher on Google, it makes perfect sense for your SEO to follow their tips.
Like Page Speed Insights, Pingdom gives you individual results for both mobile and desktop versions and gives you suggestions to improve it. As a third-party tool, it might be less accurate than Page Speed Insights. However, it is still useful if you can’t access Google’s tool for any reason or for checking if Page Speed Insights missed anything.
The Troubleshooting Process
If you’ve confirmed that your website is really slow to load, you can proceed to troubleshoot. Here are two areas to get you started.
Your server plays a crucial role in ensuring that visitors can access your website wherever they are in the world. If you’re on a free or cheaper pricing plan, your website might be experiencing bottlenecks because of the limited bandwidth limit. However, if you’re already on the premium tier, consider transferring to a new server provider.
2. Page Design
Issues in the code may cause your website’s slow loading times. If possible, then have a professional web designer look at your code and see if they can improve or redesign parts to have it load faster.
Alternatively, you can also look at your images to see if it’s the reason for your website bogging down. Ensure that you are not using a large volume of unoptimized images; look for any high-resolution photos and optimize them by scaling them down. Most website designers deem anything over 1MB as unacceptable. Aside from that, ensure that your photos are in JPEG, as this can reduce file sizes as well.
Page load times are an integral part of the user experience. Customers today know that with over 2 billion other websites on the internet today, they can quickly close your tab and go to a faster-loading website. Remember that all the hard work you did in creating good and relevant content will go to waste on a website that takes too long to load!
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