Around the world internet speeds have increased drastically over the past ten years. In Africa however, we still lag behind and for this reason, it is super important to ensure your website is optimized to load as fast as it possibly can.
Why Speed Matters
There are hundreds of reasons why your website should load as fast as possible. Below I've highlighted a few.
First Impressions Last
The loading time of your website sets the tone for what your visitors can expect from your company. We relate fast-loading websites with efficiency, trust, and confidence. Simply put, if it's fast it must be professional.
Visitor Attention Spans are Short
Attention spans of website visitors have decreased rapidly over the past few years. Visitors want relevant content quickly. The quicker relevant content is presented the better the chance of a visitor staying on your page and possibly returning to your website at a later stage.
Google Favors Speed
Google takes website load speed into account when ranking websites (announced in 2010). Google's crawlers need to navigate your website in order to rank it, so it makes sense that if you make it easier for crawlers to do their job you will be rewarded with better rankings.
Is My Site Slow?
The internet is full of online tools to check your website's speed. Some are more helpful than others, some paid and some free. Below are three tools we at Namhost use regularly when working on website speed optimization:
GTmetrix is by far our favorite because of its easy-to-use interface, and detailed and easy-to-follow recommendations.
How To Improve
Websites vary tremendously when it comes to the way they are developed and set up. Some make use of heavy scripts, some are built for the sole purpose of showcasing images, some are optimized for making sales and some offer simple and text-based content. For this reason, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to speeding up a website.
The best way to see how you can improve your website's speed is by using one of the above-mentioned tools to analyze it and then looking at the recommendations. Recommendations can range from redirect optimizations to complex website and server caching techniques, but two of the simplest ways to speed up your website are:
- Always make sure the actual dimensions of image files used on your website are not larger than the dimension they are displayed in. In other words, try to avoid scaling images with code and rather use smaller image files.
- Compress your image files. We've found TinyPNG to be an excellent (and FREE!) tool for image compression.
Many online tools exist for this specific job, but Google Insights recommend:
If any of these techniques or this entire article sounds overwhelming please contact the professionals at Namhost today to find out how we can improve your website and drive more customers your way!