Site speed improves both user experience and SEO.
Let’s be honest: Web users are all about instant gratification. So if your website takes too long to load (we’re talking more than 1–3 seconds, max), you risk a high bounce rate and missed opportunities to connect with your ideal clients.
Plus, page speed—which is how fast each individual web page loads—is one of Google’s top ranking factors! The overall speed of your site directly affects how well you rank on search engines. So not only is site speed important for the user experience, it’s also critical for SEO.
And if that’s not enough to convince ya, according to Neil Patel, 40% of people will bounce off your site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Yeah, your site speed can make or break a potential sale. It’s that important.
So how do you ensure your website is super speedy on desktop and mobile? Follow these 5 best practices to ramp up your site’s load times—no matter what website builder you use or how “tech savvy” you are.
→ Want to check your website’s speed? Try Google PageSpeed Insights or Pingdom.
5 Simple Ways To Increase Your Website’s Speed—whether it's Showit, Squarespace, Wix, or what have you:
1. Compress Your Images
Huge images are usually the worst offender when it comes to slowing down your site—so please compress your images before uploading them! By “compress your images” I mean reduce the file size (e.g. take it down from MB to KB) and make the actual image dimensions smaller. Your website images should be no larger than 1500–2500px on the largest side. But this is plenty large for most screens and the quality of your images will still be high.
Use a program like PhotoShop or a website like tinyjpg.com or jpegmini.com to reduce the size of your jpg and png files without sacrificing quality.
Also pay attention to your image file types. According to Google PageSpeed Insights, "Image formats like JPEG 2000, JPEG XR, and WebP often provide better compression than PNG or JPEG, which means faster downloads and less data consumption."
Once your images are a smaller file size, your site speed should ramp up—a key ranking factor and great way to improve the user experience. For a more in-depth breakdown, check out my step-by-step guide on How To Optimize Your Website Images.
2. Minimize Redirects and Broken Links
A redirect is when you automatically configure an old URL (that’s been moved or deleted) to point to a new URL. While they’re great for letting your users (and Google) know about a page’s most up-to-date location, they tend to be slow-loading because of the digital “hoops” they need to jump through to get to the right page. It’s like driving on the freeway vs. city streets. You get to your destination a lot faster when there are no stop lights, amiright? Luckily, redirects on your website are easy to find.
Do a manual audit of your own website on a regular basis and click all the links to A) make sure they work, and B) check for redirects. Delete any redirects you no longer need—and definitely get rid of any broken links. This helps your rankings, too, since clean links are easier for search engines to crawl.
If your website has a ton of pages, a tool like Google PageSpeed Insights will identify redirects and broken links, as will the Redirection plugin for WordPress.
3. Limit Ads, Plug-ins, and other Bells and Whistles
I get it. Monetizing your high-traffic website through display ads seems like an easy way to earn passive income. However, it shouldn’t come at the expense of your user experience! Don’t let too many ads be the reason your website is sluggish.
If your website isn’t as snappy as you’d like it to be, reduce the number of videos or other animations on your site. Deactivate the plugins you aren’t actually using. And in general, make sure all of your website’s “extras” are worth the cost of your website’s speed. Otherwise, it’s time to delete any excess website weight.
4. Compress Your Videos
Video is everywhere these days; but similar to photos, you want to make sure any videos you’ve embedded into your website have been compressed. An easy workaround for this is connecting them through YouTube or Vimeo instead of directly uploading them to your website!
Though if you do want to host them directly on your website (e.g. a background video), use a data compression tool like HandBrake to reduce the video file size—making it load faster without sacrificing image quality. In Showit, your video clips need to be under 8MB.
Another tip is NOT to have your website videos play automatically. This is crucial for user experience (no one wants your video's music blaring by surprise), but it also takes more bandwidth to auto-play.
5. Optimize your Mobile Experience
Google prioritizes mobile first—and with more people browsing on mobile than desktops these days, you need to adopt the "mobile first" mentality as well. Don’t just focus on your desktop experience! Keep your mobile site as simple and static as possible. In a website builder like Showit, you’re able to customize your mobile site separate from desktop—so consider using fewer images, videos, transitions, and animations to make the mobile experience even more streamlined and snappy.
Use Google's Mobile-Friendly Test to check your own site, and refer to my article "8 Ways To Make Your Website More Mobile Friendly" to improve upon your mobile experience.
There are other fancy web developer things to be done—such as caching, AMP, and minifying—but the 5 things above are easy enough for even the most novice of website owners to tackle. So definitely start here to ramp up your site speed. Because when it comes to your website, I’m not exaggerating when I say every millisecond counts!