September 5, 2013
Your Website Sucks Because It’s Slow
Last month was Speed Awareness Month, and here are some reasons having a fast website can be important to small business owners.
When I’m not writing crazy-science stories for redOrbit, I’m usually designing logos and websites, and this is some interesting info I thought I’d share with those who didn’t already know it.
In a nutshell, the title says it all; your website sucks because it’s slow. That’s it; that’s all you need to know. Hit the back button now, and go read another blog.
Actually, a fast website is pretty important because, well, we’re all impatient, and nobody likes to wait on a website when they could probably get the same info or service elsewhere.
According to Speed Awareness Month’s website, “Google and Bing also take keeping their users happy very seriously. For the search engine companies that means giving preferential treatment in the SERPs to faster sites. Of course, site speed is only one factor (or a cluster of factors) out of the couple of hundred that Google and its siblings use to rank sites, but, all else being equal, having a faster site than a competitor can furnish a distinct advantage.”
It’s pretty easy for Google, Bing, and the other search engines to figure out how quick your site is. They send bots to “read” everyone’s websites pretty regularly. If your website takes a long time to be read, it’s slow. Pretty simple, right?
Also, they can gauge by bounce rate. Now this measurement is more of an assumption than a science, but it’s probably not too big of a leap. But wait, what’s bounce rate?
Bounce rate’s basically how quickly someone enters then leaves your website. If you’ve ever went to a website that was slow to upload, clicked the back button immediately, then went somewhere else, you added stats to that sites bounce rate. If there are tons of people “bouncing,” it’s probably because the site is too slow, according to Google’s (and the other search engine big shots) assumptions.
Since the search engine big shots want their customers, us, to be happy, they take some of those things above and grade your site’s speed. If it’s slow, it doesn’t rank as well in search engine results.
Pretty straightforward, right?
Well it is. But your site seems slow; now what?
“If you’re going to work on improving your site’s speed, the first thing you need is data. There are a number of free tools available to tell you how quickly pages on your site load. One of the best is from Pingdom. The Pingdom Website Speed Test will show you a ‘waterfall’ graphic, displaying how long the various components of each site take to load and generate an overall score so you can see how well a site compares to the online average.”
You can see, based on the color key at the bottom left, where all the time is being spent. If you cheaped out on the hosting, and the servers are halfway across the country, most of the time is probably being spent transferring the data. If you’ve got tons of huge images or your code is organized inappropriately, that can affect speed as well.
Have a look at Google’s PageSpeed Insights for some diagnoses on what’s causing the site to be so slow.
Once you’ve diagnosed your problems, if the results sound like a foreign language, it’s probably time to hire a professional to redesign your site, because there’s little to nothing you can do on your own to make it any better!
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
Image Credit: Thinkstock.com