Guest Post by David Smith
Your readers are an impatient bunch. They want what they’re looking for right now. They’re not going to wait around to find it. Did you know the average visitor gives your website only 8 seconds to impress them? If they don’t see what they’re looking for in that 8 seconds, they’ll leave.
Now, imagine if your website is loading for that entire 8 second window. Your reader will never even get a chance to look at what you have to offer. They’ll simply back out because your website is too slow. This causes your traffic to shrink.
The good news is it’s not that difficult to reduce the load time of your pages. Here are some tips to help you create a quicker website.
- Clean up your code: Sloppy code is like a weight that drags your website down. Whether you do all the code yourself or you use a WYSIWYG editor, there’s a good chance your code has a lot of redundancies and unnecessary elements in there. That’s why you need to go through your code with a fine-toothed comb to make sure it’s perfect. Correct any errors you come across and eliminate unnecessary code so your website can load faster. You’ll be surprised at how much faster a page with clean code will load.
- Reduce the file size of all images: Images are great for enhancing the look of your website and for giving readers the visuals they need. However, if you aren’t careful, your images could cause your website to load slowly. One of the best things you can do is to reduce the file size of all graphics on your website. There are many different tools and software that will optimize image size so your website will load more quickly.
- Eliminate unnecessary elements: Not only will this cause your website to load more quickly, but it also offers a better user experience. Just take a step back and look at your website. Does everything that’s on the page really need to be there? Does every single image serve a purpose? Is that video really helping to improve the experience of your readers? Does the flash graphic add value? Find the things you don’t really need and remove them. You’ll enjoy a faster load time for your sacrifices.
- Divide long pages into a few shorter ones: Again, this works on two levels: It increase your website’s loading time, and it just makes things a little easier on the user. Whenever you have really long posts that cover a few different things, consider dividing them up into shorter posts . The shorter posts will be easier for the user to digest, and it will allow them to focus in on the page they’re truly interested in. Your pages will load faster, and you’ll also have more content to be indexed in the search engines. It’s a good idea any way you look at it.
- Use height and width tags on images: By doing this, you’re essentially telling the browser where everything goes on the page before it’s been loaded. If you don’t use height and width tags, what happens is the images have to be loaded first before the text can show up. Always make sure to use height and width tags on all graphics and tables. Your web page will be faster, and impatient visitors will get the info they need more quickly.
If you haven’t checked the load time of your website in a while, there are many tools that can help you. The Firebug extension for Firefox is one of my favourites. It helps you see every element on your website that is loading so you can figure out which pieces need to be optimized.
What are some other tips you’d offer for increasing landing page loading time? Share your best tip by leaving a comment.