The Importance of Page Speed

Almost 3 years ago, Google’s head of Webspam and most public voice about what goes into search engine rankings discussed how load time of a web site is becoming a growing factor for ranking.

Since that time, Google has released their PageSpeed service, as well as cloud based common javascript libraries and fonts. All of this is done with the common goal of speeding up the internet.

Regardless of the search engine ramifications of site speed, consumers are more frequently demanding fast loading sites.

Site Speed Infographic 1
Click to view large – Source

The above info graphic is quite clear on the importance of load time. If 57% of consumers will abandon your site after waiting only 3 seconds and 80% of those people will never return, it sounds like it’s important to get our sites to load in less than 3 seconds.

Especially with the rise of mobile devices, this need becomes even more clear, both from a speed standpoint as well as a bandwidth standpoint since most mobile data plans are limited:

Mobile Site Speed Infographic
Click to view large – Source

If 33% of mobile users would go to your competitor’s site after experiencing poor performance from your site, again, this is incredibly important.

It’s important, but not easy.

My Last 6 Months

For the last six months, between my regular daily tasks and special projects, I’ve been working on speeding up both this site and the sites I manage for work.

This is my main work site last year. It only took 60 seconds to load the home page:

Aquaviews Slow

This is the same site today:

Aquaviews Fast
Better, but still room for improvement

So I’ve been able to shave almost a minute off the load time of the home page. Unfortunately, this site is hosted in such a way that additional server-side optimizations aren’t possible, but I’m still working through on-site changes that can improve it further.

For a site that reaches hundreds of thousands of people every month, 60 seconds is completely unacceptable. Even 2.81 seconds is dangerously close to that 3 second point where users go elsewhere.

Just like the first pounds are easier than the last few in a weight loss program, the first seconds are relatively easy to shave off while the last few become a bit more difficult.

Here’s New SCUBA Marketing last month:

New SCUBA Marketing Old Speed Test
Ugh, that’s not good!

I always love it when the message reads “Your website is slower than XX% of all tested websites”, it’s such a motivation!

Here is is currently:

New SCUBA Marketing Old Speed Test
Much better, but shooting for less than 1 second

Not too bad. It fluctuates between under 1 second and slightly over 2 depending on when and where I test from. Even with this, there are still improvements I’m working on. They’re just more time and energy intensive, and I’m working on the main work sites first.

Luckily with this site, I’ve been able to work with the server admins at Pro SCUBA Sites to get them to do some optimization on their server that we’re not able to do with Aquaviews.

What You Can Do

Unless you know about asynchronous javascript, content delivery networks, CSS optimization, or caching, there’s not a whole lot you can do. Not to say there’s nothing you can do, but if you’re currently loading in a minute, getting down to 1 or 2 seconds may be difficult.

If you’re considering a new site, you can get one through Pro SCUBA Sites because they’re already well optimized and continuing to get even better thanks to my relentless prodding.

If you aren’t in the market for a new site, you can fill out the form below, I’ll do a site speed audit for you and make recommendations on what you might be able to do. It’s free, but I am a busy guy so it may be a few days before I’m able to get your report to you.

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