August 9, 2012

If you have ever visited a website and had to sit and wait for the homepage to load, you know the frustration it can cause. In fact, you may have even left the site and went elsewhere. If your site stats show you have traffic, but you are not having success with conversions, you may have a load time issue. You need to look at your site carefully and with the eyes of an outsider. If you have to sit and wait, even a mere 20 seconds, do you honestly think your visitors are going to wait?

I know that in my own experience, if I have to wait on a site to load, I am going to go somewhere else. Technology has made fast access to websites and expectation, not a luxury. We want to click our mouse and be on our way shopping or researching. If your site does not load fast, you may have statistical evidence of traffic but no conversions.

Before going into the ways you can speed up the loading process, you should know that you have to optimise your web page for loading at 56K, not just high-speed Internet connections. High speed connections are not available to everyone. You do not want to lose sales just because you ignored the sector of Internet users with a 56K connection.

It is not difficult to make your site load faster, and any webmaster can help you accomplish this quite easily. There are some factors that are going to be site specific, such as a shopping site that is mainly a database versus a photography shop where graphics are the main factor. However, you can optimise some of the common features that may be slowing your website down, regardless of the type of site.

First, graphics are necessary to attract your visitors’ attention. However, too many graphics or graphics that have not been optimised for use on the web can cause slow loading times. Take a look at your site and make sure you do not have it overloaded with images. Ask your web designer to make sure your images are properly sized for web use.

Next, if your page uses tables, make sure they are broken up into smaller tables. Large tables can be slow to download.

Finally, if you use multimedia on your homepage, is it truly worth it? Are you keeping visitors’ attention with the multimedia or do you like it and want it there? If it is not attracting and keeping the attention of visitors, you might want to consider removing it. It has been shown that almost half of all website visitors either skip multimedia or close out of the page and go to another site. Are pretty bells and whistles worth losing that much traffic?

It is not hard to maximise the traffic you your website and convert it to revenue. Your first step is keeping the visitors to your site. Analyse your website and make the necessary changes to increase your rate of retention. You will be amazed at the difference a faster loading web page makes.

If you have already dealt with slow loading web pages and made changes that worked for you, share your tips with us using the comment box.



Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy

(Image: Wouterhagens via Wikimedia Commons)

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