One thing remains true: Site speed will range depending on your business and what you do — meaning site speed will not be the same for every site. But, it is still an important component of your website and user experience.
Why Does Site Speed Matter?
People don’t like to wait. They don’t like waiting in line at a ski resort chair lift, they don’t like waiting for their packages to be delivered, they don’t like waiting for the green light in traffic…and they don’t like waiting for your website to load.
One second of extra page loading time for Amazon, could cost them $1.6 billion in sales. Yes, you read that correctly. If Google decreased their search results speed by four tenths of a second, they would lose eight million searches each day.
Believe me now? Site speed is important for your business.
I Get It. So, What is Site Speed?
Your site speed is a metric to take into account when thinking about the user experience. You want your website to load quickly for your visitors, remember?
Your website speed is how fast your website loads from start to finish — from the moment the visitor presses enter, to when the web page is completely loaded.
- Click — This starts off the entire process. At this stage, the visitor has requested to view a specific page of your site by clicking on a link or typing a URL into their browser.
- Request — During this phase, the request is sent to the website where it is processed and a response is returned. A successful response will include all of the content needed to display the requested page. A failed response, would result in a failed response, such as a 404 Page.
- Download — At this phase, the visitor’s browser receives the response from the web server and begins to download the content. This includes the HTML (the data needed to display a web page), as well as any other resource included on the page, including images, videos, and other external files.
- Display — As the download process completes, the visitor’s browser will begin to render the page, essentially showing the user the page as you intended it to be seen.
- Cache— In this final stage, the browser will cache, or temporarily store, the various elements from the page in the visitor’s browser storage to speed up the process next time the visitor wants to view the same page.
The loading time for steps one through two are out of your control as the website owner. The efficiency of these steps will largely depend on the visitor, their computer and network setup, their location, and a number of other network based factors that happen behind the scenes of the web. Steps three through five are in your control. If you optimize your site, these final steps can have a much faster loading time.
How Do I Improve My Site Speed?
Before attempting to improve your site speed, it’s important to understand that every website has a different goal.
- The site goal of National Geographic might be to display images beautifully.
- The site goal of com might be to display relevant text.
- The site goal of Yahoo Finance might be to display real time stock data.
Site speed plays a different role in all of these sites. Website visitors will wait the extra second to see photography, but may get impatient when stocks take too long to load.
Your site contains the information and content you need to provide for your customers—from videos to white papers—and that site information will affect your site speed.
Your goal should be to make your site speed as fast as you can, while accomplishing your overall website goals. Your approach to site speed should be based on your website needs and goals. Reaching a site speed score of 100% or an A+ should not be your end goal.
- What do we mean by “as fast as you can”? – we like to relate site speed to car performance. A person living in a hot climate may put extra effort into maintaining the cars AC system, while a person living in a snowy climate may be more concerned with the quality of their cars tires. A race car driver would have a completely different set of concerns, like reducing the overall weight of the car, or increasing engine horsepower. In all scenarios, better performance is the goal, but each driver would have a different approach.
Site Speed is Not a One Size Fits All, But It Still Matters
No matter who you are and what you do, site speed is important. Your speed may depend on your website goals, which is why there is no ‘golden site speed standard’ for all internet users. You still need to optimize your site to make it the fastest it can be while still accomplishing your web goals.
Think about your site goals and talk with your web developer to see what you can do to improve your site speed, while still providing a good user experience! Not sure what to do or where to go? Don’t hesitate to reach out, we have a web developer eager to help you!