How Important is Site Speed for Mobile Websites?

The days of desktop dominance are gone. These days, more than 50% of global internet traffic comes from mobile devices. To capture this growing share of web traffic, you need to ensure that your website is properly optimised for mobile. And a big part of that is making sure your site runs quickly and smoothly on mobile devices.

Site speed can seem like an afterthought compared to things like site content and search engine optimisation. However, slow site speeds can mean that users get sick of waiting and leave before your site has even loaded. Premium content and a top-shelf SEO strategy are meaningless if users don’t even reach your home page.

Your main goal needs to be a quality user experience. This will not only hook them in but will also ensure that the next time they need similar info, they will run back to your site. This raises the chances of you making sale after sale after sale! Besides this, site speed is also important for a range of other reasons.

  • It affects traffic and conversion rates

The main reason you have a website is to share information about your business. Your website works as the face of your company. It is the voice for what you wish to achieve with your business. With there being more mobile users now, you must ensure that your website is user friendly. You want your mobile users to stay longer on your site. The only way to achieve this is by optimising your mobile site speed. The faster the site speed, the longer a mobile user will stay on your site. It has been said that a 1-second delay in loading can result in a 20% reduction in conversion rates. That suggests that faster page speeds result in increased conversion rates.

  • Better ranking on search engines


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One major ranking factor for Google is site performance. The higher your site speed, especially for mobile users, the higher it will rank on Google search. Search engine optimisation indeed helps your page rank higher. However, if the site speeds are low, no one will stay on your page long enough to read your content. Also, much as SEO might help your page rank, it might play a smaller role than site speed. Combine site speed with good SEO, you are golden! Consequently, this increases your chances of making a sale from your online marketing campaigns.

  • Caters to the decreasing levels of attention span

Attention spans are decreasing. No, not just in children but in adults also. Mobile phones are said to be at fault. However, whether or not they are at fault, you need to cater to these low attention spans. The only way to get a user on your page is to ensure that your site loads within seconds. Then, also ensure that each page is also optimised to load fast. That way users don’t give up after opening the first page.

  • It influences advertising rates

Advertising costs can easily cripple your marketing campaign. You want a way to ensure you rake up as much profit as possible from your website. This is where high mobile site speeds help with Pay-Per-Click. Generally, high-quality scores on a site attract lower costs-per-clicks. When your site speed is high, the quality of your site goes up. This, in turn, should lower the cost of ads for your site. Higher site speeds thus positively influence PPC performance.

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  • Reduces chances of server overload

Once your site is optimised to run faster, it will have smaller sized files. This saves storage space, which in turn reduces the amount of information it sends to each user when they visit. Low storage use also translates to less bandwidth usage. No negative points with site speed optimisation here!

Tips on How to Improve Mobile Site Speed

1. Image compression

Images can wear down your site, slowing down the loading process. You can enable image compression for all the images you use on your website. You should compress GIFs, JPGs and PNGs by 30-40% to make your site lighter and faster.

However, be careful about file size. You should have a good balance between quality and size. It is possible to resize the image to a level that renders them irrelevant to your site. Experiment with different formats to find which one gives you the best result in both size and quality. For instance, you can use Photoshop to edit and resize your image. It does well in resizing images without lowering image quality. If you need an image editor that does more, you can try to use the GNU image manipulation program.

2. Reduce HTTP requests to a minimum

HTTP requests happen when a browser demands CSS or HTML files from a server. These requests can cripple your site. To reduce such requests, reduce on-page components such as Flash, images and stylesheets. You can do this by simplifying your website by minimising the number of elements on each page. One good way of achieving this is by limiting the links on your landing page to fewer than seven.

Combining many stylesheets into one stylesheet can also help reduce the number of HTTP requests on your site.

3. Minimise redirects

In essence, redirects are a waste of time. It may seem like you are trying to give your user a full experience while your page loads, but the user only sees it as time wasted before they find the information they came looking for. The more redirects there are on a page, the higher the chances of losing that user.

Technically speaking, redirects work to increase the number of HTTP requests, which reduce your site’s page loading time.

4. Aptly use JavaScript and Cascading Style Sheets

Both of these work to improve the user experience on your website. However, how you use them can either make your campaign or break it.

JavaScript is designed to help improve interactivity and animation on your commercial website. However, if you are not careful with the content, it can easily deter users, especially mobile users, from your site. This is why you should only display your JavaScript when HTML content is loaded. Using CSS at the top of the web page will help your pages load faster, increasing your mobile site speed.

5. Activate browser caching

Web browsers can copy each user’s files. These details are saved in a user’s device the first time they visit your site. Each subsequent time they visit your site, it should load faster because some of the content is already downloaded and stored in the browser memory. This is the point behind browser caching.

Stats show that browser caching reduces website loading time from 2.4 seconds the first time a user visits your site to 0.9 seconds when they come back. This is a 62.5% hike in speed.

6. Optimise the images

Besides compressing images, you also need to optimise them to increase your site speed. This involves cropping the images to a suitable size, as mentioned above. Be sure to avoid image formats that can weigh your site down like TIFF, GIF and BMB. Your best choice would be JPEG as it takes less space. Take out any comments on the image and if possible, reduce colour depth to the least acceptable level.

7. Measure web server response time

You may take all necessary measures to keep your site light and fast but your server might fail you. There is more to increasing mobile site speed than keeping your codes clean. If your web server is slow in receiving data from your user’s browser, then your site will still load slowly. This can be due to web server memory starvation or even slow database queries.

The way to correct this is by measuring the existing performance. Then, with the required data at hand, fix top performance bottlenecks. If this is not enough, you can then reduce the level of resources required by each web page.

8. Change your website server

Not the most popular solution. However, if you’ve implemented all the above suggestions and your site is still slow, you may need to consider switching servers. Look for a hosting provider who can meet all your needs. Specify the fact that you need your website to be mobile-friendly. Place high emphasis on mobile site speed to optimise the user experience.

Mobile Site Speed is a Marketing Tool

How many times do you look to your phone or tablet for information on something you heard in conversation? Have the same thought about your users. They want to find information on your product the second they press ‘go’. You should be in a position to satisfy this need for fast and relevant information at the drop of a hat. These tools will help you optimise your website to make it mobile-site-speed friendly, thus enhancing your user experience. This can only translate to a higher reach, and hence, more sales!

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