Website loading time refers to the amount of time a website takes to fully load and become usable for a website visitor. It is actually the time elapsed between a user requesting a website or a webpage and the web browser receiving the last bite of information from the server to fully load a working website.
Usually website loading time is measured in seconds, it is affected by various factors such as the website visitor’s internet connection speed, the size of a website’s files on a host, the number of requests made to the web server, and the location of the user and server particularly.
Importance of loading time of website
A website’s loading time is an important factor in the measurement of the website’s performance and the user experience of the website.
The loading time of a website can be measured by using various tools, such as GT matrix, Webpage Test, Google Page Speed Insights. These tools usually provide a detailed report of a website’s loading time, including the time taken for the website to start loading, the time taken for the website to fully load, and the time taken for the website to become interactive and fully functional. These tools also provide ways and recommendations on how to improve a website’s loading time.
If the loading time of a website is fewer than 2 seconds. The website is considered fast and is acceptable, whereas anything above 2 seconds is considered slow because it may affect the user’s experience and can cause a user to leave the website before it fully loads.
Reasons to decrease the loading time of a website
There are several reasons why decreasing the loading time of a website is important, these reasons are:
Search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, Brave etc prioritize websites that load quickly in their search results. This simply means that a slow loading website (which loads on more than 2 seconds) is going to rank lower in the search results, ultimately the slow loading of a website negatively impacts the website’s visibility and traffic.
A slow-loading website is frustrating to users and mostly compel them to leave the website before it fully loads. This leads to a high bounce rate, which is an important metric that measures the percentage of visitors who leave a website after only viewing single page.
A slow-loading website can also lead to lower conversion rates, as website visitors may not have the patience to wait for the website to fully load and may leave before making a purchase or filling out a form. A slow-loading website can also be costly for the website’s owner, as it leads to loss of website traffic and potential customers.
In some cases, a slow-loading website can also increase hosting and bandwidth costs making it more costly for the website owner. A slow-loading website can be even more frustrating for visitors accessing it on mobile devices, especially on low end devices or on slow and spotty internet connections.
Therefore, decreasing a website’s loading time is one of the most important factors for providing a positive user experience, increasing content visibility and increasing traffic on website, and improving conversions. Additionally it can also help reducing hosting and bandwidth cost of website, making the website cost efficient.
Steps to decrease loading time of website
Use images in the next level extensions like .webp and others. Having large, high-resolution images can significantly slow down a website. Optimize the images by compressing them and reducing their disk sizes without sacrificing quality is a positive effort in decreasing the loading time of a website.
Minimize HTTP requests
Using a caching plugin
Caching significantly increases the speed of a website by storing frequently requested files in the browser’s cache directory. In this way, the browser don’t have to request the same files over and over again.
Reducing number of plugins
Every plugin downloaded on a website adds to the number of HTTP requests and ultimately slows down the website. Therefore it is must to keep only those plugins that are absolutely necessary and removing the unnecessary ones.
Use CDN (Content Delivery Network)
A content delivery network stores a website’s static files on servers located all around the world. In this way, when a website visiter requests a file, it is served from the server that is closest to their location, which significantly decreases the loading time of website.
These are the some steps that you can take to counter the slow loading of a website. It is always a good idea to check your website’s loading time, because loading time affects the complete ranking and relevancy of your website. If you can think of other ways to improve the loading time of a website please let me know in the comments.