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Can a faster website improve your conversion rates?

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Can website speed actually impact your Search Engine Ranking? You will be surprised to learn that in a recent research it was founded that there is no clear correlation between page load time and search ranking. However, this research confounded me as in 2010 Google announced that site speed would have a partial impact on the search ranking.

Therefore, today in this post, we would discuss the real impact of page load time on search result. Although, page load time might not directly impact search engine ranking, but to some extent creates an impact on the user experience, which is somehow correlated with the ranking in search results. Therefore, overall page load time should be considered to be as a priority of success for your website.

What I think is that the more time your website takes in delivering the results, the greater your user experience lags behind your competitors. Moreover, if your site receives more traffic, you would simply receive more benefit from performance optimization.

Now let’s look at some research that was done to evaluate the impact of a slow performing website.

In 2006, Amazon did some study on the relationship between page load time and online customer revenue. Through A/B testing, they showed that every 100 millisecond delay in page resulted in 1% loss of sales for Amazon.

In fact a recent research done by Velocity in 2013 showed that their effort to reduce page load time from 15 to 2 seconds showed a dramatic increase in conversion for every second shaved off their page load time.

Now there might be a question revolving your mind, how fast should my website load time be?

This question is quite difficult to answer as the result entirely depends upon your business goals. Those that are related with performance industry might hit you to push 2 seconds or less. However, what I would suggest is that you should optimize to an extent where the ROI continues to make some sense. The higher traffic you receive, the more monetary difference each millisecond gained will make.

In fact Google has rolled out a free tool for the same at WebPageTest.org that can measure your page load time from various locations around the world. Since this page has loads of bells and whistles, you can check out the beginners guide to learn more.

3 high-level best practices that you can help you to achieve beneficial results in least effort are:

  1. Reduce the size of your page – Bloated content takes a lot of time to load. Therefore, by reducing the size of the page, you will not only improve your page load time, but also reduce the used network bandwidth for your hosting provider charges you.
  2. Reduce the number of browser requests – Another great strategy that can reduce your page load time is by simply cutting down the number of requests your page has to make. This simply means that you need to reduce the images, Java script files and more.
  3. Reduce the distance to your site – If your website is hosted in India, but most of your visitors are from Virginia, then it is going to take a lot of time to download the images, Java Script and CSS. This can be a concern for you especially if your site is loaded with content and you get a lot of traffic from users that are far away. Therefore, it becomes essential for you to sign up for Content Delivery Network (CDN).
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