How To Design Websites Allowing for Differing Load Speeds

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There are a myriad of factors to consider when designing a website. However, for many people one aspect that is overlooked is load speeds. How fast your web site loads has an impact on the numbers of visitors you have and the percentage of those who devote time to your content. Websites that are slow to load are often abandoned before loading is complete. Potential visitors do not make the effort to try again. They simply look for another website (a competitor) that loads more quickly and take their business there.

Load Speeds Greatly Affect Certain Customers

If your business relies on rural residents for its customer base, designing a website that loads quickly is even more important. Rural America still has slower options available to it for Internet connectivity. That means for targeting rural customers, you need a responsive website.
While many Internet users, especially in urban areas, are using high speed Internet from cable and DSL providers, those in rural areas cannot rely on DSL because of distance and cable Internet is not even offered. An astonishing 3% of U.S. Internet users still rely on dial up for connectivity. Many others with rural “high speed” coverage are using only 3G mobile coverage, with speeds that barely qualify as high speed.

Load Speeds Negatively Affect Search Engine Rankings

Google, the reigning king of search engines, has been using load speed as a factor for search engine rankings since 2010. It wants to ensure that the results it delivers to Google users are fast and accurate. If it ranked slow sites at the top of its results, users would start to turn away from Google and find a search engine that considered load speed. Luckily to speed up your Google page loading, you can preload your most visited pages so you load speed will be 25% to 60% faster than before.

Limit the Things that Slow Down Your Website

Increasing your website’s load speed is a matter of limiting those things that will slow it down. Two of the most significant things include:

  • Large or high resolution images, and individual files
  • HTML, CSS and JavaScript use

The HTTP requests that are made by the website to the server are a huge factor in the speed of your site. The fewer the requests, the faster your load speed will be.
Web use is everywhere. Users are no longer just using desktop and laptop computers. Mobile phones and tablets mean that users are accessing the Internet constantly. They expect websites to load just as quickly as they would with a high speed connection, even though they may be using only a 3G/4G connection. That means in order to stay competitive, you need to be fast. You have 3-10 seconds for your web page to load before the average visitor goes elsewhere. Slow loading speeds mean fewer visitors, which in turn means fewer sales, a detriment for your bottom line.

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