How to Reduce Load Times: Increasing the Speed of Your Website

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In today’s world of instant gratification, a website’s speed can be a very important quality that affects your clients and your conversion rates. Whether it’s broadband Internet for a best deal, 3G wireless or dial-up from the 90s, website visitors have always had to deal with load times. Waiting for a graphic or feature-intensive website to load can lead some visitors to leave your site before they start clicking around.

Some businesses and law firms don’t even realize they have a problem. Perhaps your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) campaign is going great with visitors seeing your site at the top of Google. They’re clicking on the top search result and viewing your website, but nobody is calling for a free consultation. The issue could be the load time of your site.

Why Some Websites Load Slowly: Too Many Elements

A website is made up of many elements: CSS, images, HTML, javascript/jquery, flash elements and other specialized features. Each of these elements has a size to it, from 1 kb up to 1,000 kb (also called 1 MB). When you visit a website, your browser will download these elements to your computer and display them as a webpage. For example, if you have a rotating image slider on the home page, this could be the breakdown to load that single slider:

  • 5 Images (60kb each) = 300kb
  • Jquery library (Used to run Jquery script) = 70kb
  • Jquery script (Used to create slider) = 20kb
  • CSS (Used to style slider) = 10kb

So, that one slider on your homepage could be up to 400kb!

How to Know if Your Website Loads Slow: Calculating Web Site Speed

By using the Bandwidth Calculator, we’ll find out that the slider will take 58 seconds to load on a dial-up connection and five seconds on a broadband connection. Five seconds doesn’t seem like a long time, but remember, this is only for the image slider and not the entire website. The entire website could be up to 800kb, which means 10 seconds, and waiting 10 seconds for one website to load is quite a long time.

How do I speed up my website?

The simple answer is to remove large elements that take a long time to download. In our example, reducing the image slider to three images will remove 120kb and bring your size to 280kb, which knocks off two seconds from broadband and 18 seconds from dial-up. If you remove the image slider all together and just use one image, the total size goes down to 60kb, or about half a second.

If your home page has a lot of sections, perhaps placing some of them on a separate page is the way to go. Other tools, such as Yahoo’s image compression tool SmushIt, shrink image sizes while maintaining quality. PaperStreet always tries to implement these tools within each website we build. Of course, the best way for a fast load time is to load as few things as possible, such as Google.com, with its white background and one image.

If you visit your website and have to wait more than five seconds, contact PaperStreet for a consultation today.

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