Loading speed is how fast your website loads when a user searches for it

Customers want their searches to load almost instantly and aren’t afraid to shop around online if the user experience you are providing isn’t quite up to scratch. You might think to yourself, “Why is this important? How can this be helped? Why does it matter?” Well, loading speed actually plays a part in search engine optimisation (SEO) and how Google views and ranks your website.

Recent studies show that Google considers loading speed as an important ranking factor when considering where to index your business’s website. Recent Google algorithms focus pre-dominantly on user experience, so they consider loading speed an important factor affecting search users. Pages with a slower loading speed will often have much higher bounce rates, along with lower average page view time and lower conversions.

Test your business’s website loading speed using Page Insights on Google. If your loading speed needs improving, work alongside a quality reputable web design designer. They will be able to help improve your site’s speed with some of the below suggestions:

Enabling compression Use a program (Gzip) to compress the size of your CSS, HTML and Javascript files on-site. For image files, compress the sizes using Photoshop or other design software.

Reduce page re-directs Every time a page directs to another page, the wait to find a search and page result increases. Ensure minimal re-directs as these slow down your loading time.

Leverage browser caching Browsers store information every time a user visits your website. Set your ‘expires’ header for a year – this reduces the loading speed over time as it loads saved information and doesn’t have to load the entire page.

Improve server response time Server response time is affected by the traffic your site generates, the amount of information it has to load, plus the software and hosting package you use. Ensure the server you use has adequate space, the most up-to-date software and deals with issues like slow queries and performance.

Optimise images A simple but effective tip for improving your business’s website. Ensure images are a relatively small file size and the correct format for loading up in an adequate time.

Andrew Langridge is from ETrader, one of the industry’s leading suppliers of websites to garment decorators across the UK.