Optimize That: Website Load Time and Your Bottom Line

Humans are creating more information on the web every year than we did during all of our existence prior to the Internet. That’s a whole lot of data and a ton of information to sort through. That’s why I’m creating a new column called Optimize That. These succinct, to-the-point articles deliver quick and easy tips to help you optimize your digital presence for optimal money-making opportunity. Let’s get started.

On Your Website, Time is Money

Ever been to a website that took so long to load you thought for an instant that you might have been teleported to the days of noisy 56K modems? If you’re like the average consumer all it takes is a couple of seconds to lose somebody forever.

In fact, 40 percent of web users abandon websites that take more than 3 seconds to load and 47 percent expect pages to load in fewer than two seconds. Considering this is Google’s recommended speed (slow speeds can damage your search engine rankings), this is fairly reasonable.

Now we have mobile to consider though, meaning load times may be more crucial than ever.

Website Load Time Infographic

How to Speed Up My Website Load Time

Worried you may not be cut out for this super-fast world? The only way to find out is to check out your site load times and optimize your site for speed. Here are a few tips and resources to optimize site load times.

  1. Check Your Load Time – There are literally hundreds of sites to help you check your site load time, but many of them deliver wildly different speed results. I hear Pingdom tools does a decent job of checking load times but Google Analytics also provides that information if you’re interested.
  2. Identify the Problems – Sometimes it’s a pesky Javascript file or a single hiccup, but if you can identify and solve one specific problem a lot of the time the rest falls into place. Other times it’s not as simple as a single file, but don’t fret. There are tools to help you along teh way.
  3. If you’re using WordPress, download a caching plugin like W3 Super Cache and set it up in conjunction with a tutorial. If you’re not using WordPress, still cache your web pages.
  4. Make sure your Javascript and CSS files come in the form of external files. Put stylesheet references at the top and script references at the bottom.
  5. Watch those 301 redirects. No big deal if you’re capturing stray users once or twice, but depend on too many redirects and you’re setting yourself up for slow.
  6. Minimize HTTP requests. If that means nothing to you, refer to this tutorial.
  7. Yahoo! developer tools also has a good resource to help you go through a checklist of optimization changes.

Is there anything I missed? Share your website speed tips in the comments.

About the author: Entrepreneur with ten years of experience running a digital marketing agency out of New York City. I work with startups and brands such as Virgin Airlines, L2 Inc (Gartner), American Express, Fabletics, LOFT, and more. When I’m not helping companies increase their audience and revenues, I love to travel, sail, and read. I also moonlight as a bartender at a classic cocktail bar.

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