29 Apr Increase the Page Speed of Your Small Business Website
In January, I got an email from Penny Lash with concerns about the speed of the website I built for them two years ago, my very first client with New Colony Digital. Over the course of the last two years, I’ve learned a lot and website technology has also evolved. I spoke with the representative on the phone and we discussed what their concerns were and what I proposed we could do to increase the website page speed performance. I created an estimate and we decided to move forward with the changes.
I did some investigating — keyword research, competitive analysis of other lash studios in the area and an audit of my client’s site to see what improvements could be made. A lot changes in two years, so a refresh wasn’t off base. I always suggest my clients review their websites and make changes at least once a year to stay current with their own business operations and the ever-changing nature of cyberspace.
Faster Than the Speed of Light
According to Google, 54% of people say that that mobile load time of a business’ website affects how long that stay on a website — read that as page loading time directly influences bounce rate. The longer it takes a website to load on a mobile phone, the more frustrated a user becomes. An article by Think With Google even indicates that a one-second delay in mobile load time can affect conversion rates by up to 20%! With this in mind, it’s essential to update your website to increase mobile page loading speed in order to give users the experience they expect.
Penny Lash Case Study
After analyzing the page speed and mobile performance report for Penny Lash, I came up with a list of suggestions on how we could potentially increase the speed of her website. Before I continue, it’s important to note that the Penny Lash website is one of my highest performing websites. Looking at their Google Analytics always amazes me and I am very proud of the SEO-focused website content I wrote for this website. Penny Lash dominates search results, but they are always trying to improve — something I truly respect about her brand.
When they came to me, the Penny Lash website had an overall performance score in the low 20s and they wanted to be closer to the 40s or 50s. Through my competitive analysis, I found that Penny’s site scored much higher on site performance than all of her competitors, except one — but that company has a single-page website with minimal images. After digging into the performance report, I developed a list of action items aimed to increase website speed for pennylash.com, which included:
- Compress and optimize images throughout the site
- Remove 2 of 3 slideshow images and just have one static image
- Eliminate render-blocking resources: Remove WooCommerce plugin until ready to implement the online store
- Add a caching plugin that provides long caches that can speed up performance for repeat visitors
- Set home page to defer offline images – Lazy Load
- Remove loading dots
- Remove any unused photos/content from the site
- Move the hosting from GoDaddy to Siteground
Implementing Page Speed Updates
Once I was given the go-ahead, I started to implement these changes to the Penny Lash website and was thrilled with the results! Images weight down websites more than anything else, so by optimizing the images (which were originally uploaded more than two years ago) the weight of the site decreased significantly. Instead of having a heavy slideshow, we opted to have one main image to welcome you to the website instead of three rotating photos. I also went in and deleted any unused photos and content to decrease the size of the website.
After image optimization, moving the website hosting was the largest factor in increasing site speed. Back when I first built Penny Lash’s website, I was new to the game and didn’t know the differences between website hosts, so launched both her site and mine on GoDaddy. I (and most other website developers) don’t ever recommend hosting with GoDaddy anymore due to site speed, support, and accessibility within your account. I moved my website to Siteground at the end of 2017 and have been amazed at the increased speed, great support agents, communication, website uptime and general ease of use.
By optimizing images, moving the website hosting and implementing “Lazy Loading” the Penny Lash website performance score increased to 50! I couldn’t have been more pleased with the results of our website speed performance updates. Visiting the website you could instantly FEEL and SEE how fast the site loads compared to the pre-update state of the site.
Tips for Improving Website Page Speed and Performance
Your small business can benefit by increasing the speed of your website. Potentially increase the number of conversions you receive from your website traffic by optimizing your site for better mobile page speed.
- Move Your Website Hosting — Not all shared website hosting servers were created equal. Choosing a reputable and fast website host can make all the difference in increasing page loading speed. I always suggest Siteground to my clients because I have seen firsthand with myself and several clients how this host can increase site speed and security (I’ll tell you that story in a future blog, promise).
- Optimize Website Images — There are a variety of plugins available for WordPress that optimize all of the images on your website without having to resize and re-upload your images manually. Additionally, if you switch your website hosting to Siteground you can use their SG Optimizer plugin to optimize your photos with ease.
- Lazy Load/Defer Offline Images — Images, I tell you, can’t have a rad website without them, but they are heavy. Lazy loading techniques prioritize the first available images first in a limited view while deferring off-screen images until they are needed. Immediately see images that appear “above the fold” first before loading photos further down the page. By using lazy loading you can increase mobile page loading times, sometimes up to 33%. Lazy loading is also available as part of the SG Optimizer plugin that comes included when you host your website with Siteground.
Let’s Build Rad Websites Together
I am very pleased with the end result of the page-speed updates I made to the Penny Lash website and so is she! Two years later and I’m still proud of this website and the aesthetic we created together. Having a mobile-first website optimized for fast page loading speeds can help your small business connect with potential leads and drive more conversions. Meet the demands of mobile-savvy searchers by presenting them with a fast-loading, mobile-optimized website. Two years in and I’m learning more and more every day in order to create fast-loading, rad websites for my clients.
Interested in creating an awesome new website for your brand? Or maybe you are just curious what suggestions I have to improve your current website? Let’s chat! I love helping small businesses thrive online, whether or not I build the website for you.