In this era of prompt updates and over-the-top customer service expectations, site visitors are not simply going to wait for your website to load.
Research shows that decreased loading time can make a real difference in customer behavior and bringing in more sales conversions.
The main point of creating a website is not only to engage users while increasing inquiries and leads but also to outrank your nearest competition. However, you can only go so far without hitting a wall when your website starts generating high bounce rates and poor performance in search engines. The effort required to combat those issues can be intimidating but most of these changes are easy to pull off and only need minimal time and effort.
Most website owners assume that having a well-designed layout for their website is the only thing they need to attract customers. However, those extra features, like parallax web scrolling and trendy moving backgrounds are only fine as long as visitors don’t get to wait 10 seconds for the site to finish loading. Also, it’s not just users who won’t wait for a slow loading website – Google will also penalise you for it thus affecting your brand image, as well.
Here are some tips to improve user experience and also speed up website performance:
Use plain text effectively
We’ve since declared less is more when it comes to digital storytelling. While this may be successful for your marketing campaign, it’ll only have value when your target market actually finds you and, more importantly, have easy access to that information on your website. Proper use of plain text can improve your website’s performance in search because of Google’s NAP+W score being in place. Consistent plain text both across your website and in online directories will ensure that Google not only sees your website as legitimate but also help improve its search ranking.
For plain text to be most effective, try placing it on your website’s header or footer. Your plain text should include contact information for your company. Be as simple as possible. Include your business’s full, official name, address, phone number, and other important details or contact information.
Create a homepage title tag with meta description
It’s actually quite common to see websites having their homepage title tag being their business name. Although this may be descriptive of what your business is, it really isn’t helping you.
Think about it: what terms does a prospective visitor to your website look for when searching for your business? Are you a shower products factory in Hertfordshire? Are you an all-girls boarding school in Herts?
You might want to answer these critical questions first then use the answer in conjunction with your company’s name to craft the proper page title tag. Take note that Google will truncate page titles that exceed 155 characters so try playing around with some different combinations.
Your homepage meta-description is also important. Here you have the opportunity to describe who you are in more detail in 155 characters or less. The primary goal of meta-description is to direct targeted site traffic to your website. So depending on what your business is, it can be very simple or it can be a little complicated.
A great example from Stars on Canvas with a convincing meta description:
Another example of a simpler meta description would be that of Tring School:
Write a short description about what your company does
More often than not, text describing what a company really does is forgotten in most websites. A statement like this is very important for branded search queries – searches that contain your company’s name, that is. It may be that the visitor has learned about your company through word of mouth or print ads and would like to know more about what your business is. Placing a statement like “An All-Girls School educating years 1-12 in Herts, Hertfordshire” anywhere on your website can significantly increase performance since you’re making it easier for the visitor to confirm that they are indeed in the right place.
The best place to add this statement would be in your header or footer and should always be in plain text. You’d also want it to be similar, if not the same, with your meta-description. This also has the added bonus of boosting your SEO.
Optimise your content to speed up website performance
Simple truth: page load speed affects your website’s traffic. While it’s possible that most users can wait 6-10 seconds for a page to load, remember that, in general, page abandonment increases as load time increases. So always try to optimise your web content for faster loading speed whenever possible.
One of the most common causes for slow loading times are large photos and videos embedded or used on either your home page or your other web pages.
Here’s a few ways you can ensure those images and videos are optimised for website performance:
Reduce image size Make sure that your images are appropriately sized. Export images at the size they will be displayed on your website. Focus on image size and getting your dimensions right. Uploading a 7000 pixel-wide photo for a 200 pixel-wide thumbnail isn’t necessary, and bogs down site speed. You can use tools like PicResize for re-sizing images and Compressor.io for compressing images once they are resized. Make sure all images for web are at least 72dpi. Convert all photographs on your site to JPEG and only use PNG files when uploading a graphic since they are higher quality, they’ll take more time to load. For PNG compression, you can use tools like Compress PNG and TinyPNG to optimize your PNG images whenever necessary. These tools will reduce the size by half or more.
Cache content as much as possible Caching is a mechanism for temporarily storing web pages in order to reduce bandwidth, serve data faster and improve website performance. When a user visits your website, the cached version will be served up unless it has changed since the last cache. This will save a lot of server time and can make all things load up faster.
Review your hosting service plan Check with your hosting provider to see if you are on a shared or dedicated hosting. A shared hosting account often means sharing server space with many other companies where website speed is dramatically impacted by the total number of people using the servers so consider a dedicated plan for your hosting. Here, you’ll have sole access to the server and can count on faster website performance.
The primary point of your website is to improve traffic and generate leads. The glossy images and trendy styles may seem well and good but they could prove detrimental if your visitors are waiting more than 10 seconds to access your site. You can go through the tips compiled above to ensure that your website is optimised and running as efficiently as possible.
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