The Importance of Website Speed
Website speed is one of the most commonly overlooked issues when it comes to usability. However, few problems can be as frustrating to a user as visiting a website that has to be waited upon to load content. Fortunately, several options exist for webmasters and site owners to reduce load times and improve the user experience. Read on, and the causes and remedies for this type of problem will be outlined and described for your convenience.
Causes for Slow Websites
The modern era has brought great technological advances in computer hardware and network speeds. However, many users browse the internet on smart phones and other mobile devices, which often operate at limited speeds. Server side problems exist too, and file size is the greatest contributor. Having an excessive amount of HTML or even just textual content can severely slow down the load time of a site. Graphic content, though, is the greatest offender, and you should always look at image and video size when trying to diagnose a slow website.
Speeding a Website Up
Website owners interested in speeding a website up tend to approach the situation from one of two routes. The first is to reduce the file sizes, throw out especially resource-intensive graphic components, and cut down on unnecessary text and HTML. For those that simply cannot get rid of these components, compression using a program like Gzip provides a simple solution that allows for more efficient transfer of data. Web hosts often provide pre-installed packages, which allow you to control this compression through the .htaccess file in your root directory. In that file, you can dictate the file types that get compressed, and you can even vary the rules according to the browser and technology being used by a site visitor. It may also be advisable to note that there are a number of sites online where you can run website speed tests, and if you do that first, you may be able to get a baseline in terms of performance before making changes erratically.
Speeding your website up is something that takes very little effort, but it can make worlds of difference to visitors. Many webmasters are surprised to find out just how much loading times impact bounce rate. Modern society demands instant gratification, and websites that do not heed this demand are unlikely to benefit from content, products, or services they host. Doing a speed test on your site can be done with many tools, but Bing Webmaster Tools provides an entire platform of related diagnostic applications, which includes a speed test as well as recommendations on fixing any problems you might have.