According to a study conducted by Microsoft in 2000, the average person’s attention span was 12 seconds. 15 years later, it dropped to 8 seconds. How do you expect someone to wait patiently while your images on your website load, or your site is stuck in a loading loop for more than 30 seconds?

47% of consumers expect a website to load in 2 seconds or less. Any longer than that and you can say goodbye to your website visitor as your visitor bounces to another site. Websites that load slowly have high bounce rates. Bounce rates are the number of people who close the website before it has even loaded.

Whether you’re using a mobile or desktop, slow loading websites and high bounce rates impact your search engine optimisation. So, what can you do about this?

Here are six “not-too-technical” tips to keep your website up to speed:

1. Choose a Responsive Theme

A responsive website will make sure people can open and see everything they need to see whether they use a laptop, a tablet or a mobile phone. If you’re using a phone and you need to zoom in to view the content of your website, you site is not mobile responsive.

2. Keep File Sizes at a Minimum

Photos grab attention better than text, that’s why adding images to your webpages is vital. Before uploading any image, have a look at the file size. Raw images that have come straight from digital cameras and smartphones are generally large.

You can optimise them by reducing dimensions and resolutions, as well as compressing them. Software like Photoshop or Picmonkey allow you to resize and compress your images without losing the quality. Do this before uploading to your website.

3. Use a Third-Party Media Hosting

Videos and audio recordings are great tools to market and help educate your audience, however video and audio recordings can be large in size and uploading them directly to your website can cause slow your site down.

Consider using video hosting websites like YouTube, Vimeo or Soundcloud and add the links or buttons to your pages to direct to these sites instead of loading the files themselves to your webpages.

4. Keep Your Plugins at a Minimum

Plugins add features to websites. The more plugins you have, the more resources you’ll need. Too many plugins can take up your storage space and cause the website to load slow. Security issues can also appear, which can impact the performance of your website.

Deactivating and deleting any that are unnecessary can both improve your overall speed and make maintenance easier in the long run.

5. Stop Using Images to Display Text

Believe it or not, fonts also play a role on the speed of a page. If you have a decorative font, do not create an image to display your content, instead look to using Google Web Fonts.

Not only does text in an image become inaccessible to screen-readers and completely useless for SEO, but using images to display text also increases the load times of your web pages because more images mean a heavier web page.

While we suggest sticking with your brand fonts, sometimes it might be better to find something similar that allows you to use it via a plugin.

6. Limit Redirects

Redirects are often necessary when you move and delete pages, and are the best way to eliminate issues with broken links.

Normally, browsers accept various forms of addresses which are in turn translated into recognized official ones by your server. Take for example www.example.com and example.com. Both can go to the same site, but one requires your server to redirect it to the officially recognized address. This takes up some time and resources.

If you’ve renamed old pages, and those old pages are ranked in searches, your visitors will be shown an error page. Instead, we recommend using a plugin like Redirections.

If your website is loading slow, Google’s PageSpeed Insights can provide you with a performance report and suggestions on how to improve your website. Most of the suggestions are technical like leveraging cache, using a Content Delivery Network or minimising the number of JavaScript and CSS files. If you do need technical support, our website support packages offer this service.

Virtual Support Specialist, Hong Kong

If you’re overwhelmed, struggling to get things done, or recognise you need some assistance, organise a call with me to discuss your business support needs.

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Founder and Director, Nicole has been working in the remote support, virtual assistant, outsourcing space since 2007. A professional with multiple certifications, and a specialist in virtual support and ecourse implementation, Nicole is passionate about supporting women-owned businesses in growth and development.