If you do One Thing this month, to improve your website’s ability to produce leads, make it your website’s page loading speeds.
Why Page Load Speed is Important
Page load speed is important because mobile is important. Mobile is important for almost every online marketing channel.
- SEO. Although Mobilegeddon was a bust, I think the relationship between mobile and SEO will become more important soon. Google is already seeing more visitors from mobile devices than desktop. Because of the importance of mobile for Google, page load times are going to become a more important ranking factor. Some say it already is.
- PPC. A page’s load time can affect your Quality Score. With a better Quality Score, you can pay less for the same number of clicks. Improve your page load times and make your PPC campaign even more effective.
- Social Media. People are overlooking the relationship between social media and mobile. How do most people consume social media? On their mobile devices. Want better social engagement with your website? Improve your page load speeds.
- Email. In the same way, most people read their emails over mobile devices. If you want those email visitors to continue to have strong conversion rates, make sure your website loads quick.
How to Measure Page Load Speeds
It’s difficult to measure page load speeds in a consistent way. Load time depends on many factors including your device. your internet connection, whether you’ve visited the website, etc. What might seem like an acceptable page load time to you, might be frustrating your customers and making you lose sales or leads.
We need an objective measurement tool.
Google Analytics can give us some data. If you go to Behavior > Site Speed > Overview you can get some interesting information.
- Average page load time
- Average redirection time
- Average domain lookup time
- Average server connection time
- Average server response time
- Average page download time
Unfortunately this data is not reliable- especially for smaller-traffic websites. If your Google Analytics page load times are high, don’t panic- your data is probably off.
Google has a better Page Load Speed tool: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ . It doesn’t measure your page as time, but in light of a 100-point scale. The closer you are to 100, the quicker your webpage loads. (I’ve never seen a webpage with a score of 100 but I’ve seen one with a score of 6.)
How to Improve Your Page Load Speed
Enter your homepage into this tool and see some actions you should take to improve your page’s load times. While you’re at it, enter a couple important landing pages such as a particular service page or the contact-us page, too. Give these directions to your web developer and ask them for some help.
The problem with this tool is that it only analyzes a page at a time. That can make it difficult to diagnose a site wide loading issue.
This is where Google Analytics becomes helpful again. If you visit Behavior > Site Spped > Speed Suggestions you will find a list of web pages. For each you’ll see the number of page views, a poor average of page load times, for sure. You’ll also see the number of PageSpeed suggestions (from Google’s tool) as well as your PageSpeed Score.
Use this report to focus on pages that need the most help (sorted by PageSpeed Score, not Avg. Page Load Time).
With this you can get even more from your most profitable marketing channel.
Have you seen page speed improvements improve your marketing ROI? Have any simple tips to improve page loading speeds? Leave them in the comments, below.