Why Should We Care About Website Performance?

Nearly half of the web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less, and they tend to abandon a site that isn’t loaded within 3 seconds, according to Akamai and Gomez.com

The performance of websites is critical for the success of businesses. A well-performing website improves a lot the user experience. It’ll keep your audience coming back, staying longer and converting a whole lot better. It is also one of the measured signals for search results rankings, and usually appears higher than less performing websites. Mobile devices have become so significant today that a website should always consider the limitations of those devices.

Just to mention that these optimizations should be considered on a project per project basis. Some improvements might not be worth considering, depending on budget, project duration, time schedules, available resources, etc.

A few facts and stats

  • 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less
  • 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load
  • 75% of the 1,058 people asked would not return to websites that took longer than four seconds to load
  • A 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions
  • If an e-commerce site is making £100,000 per day, a 1 second page delay could potentially cost you £2.5 million in lost sales every year
  • The average weight of a web page today is 1.9MB
  • Page speed in one of the SEO measured signals and can affect conversion rate
  • The average web page size in 2014 was 1,953Kb and had 95 HTTP pull requests per page

Most Common Reasons For a Poor Performance

  • Bloated CMS Templates

Typical WordPress themes are crammed full of features. Many will be third-party plugins, styles and widgets the author has added to make the theme more useful or attractive to buyers. Many features will not be used but the files are still present.

  • HTML5/CSS3 Boilerplates

A boilerplate may save time but it’s important to understand they are generic templates. The styles and scripts contain features you’ll never use and the HTML can be verbose with deeply-nested elements and long-winded, descriptive class names. Few developers bother to remove redundant code.

  • Carelessness

Developers are inherently lazy; we write software to make tasks easier. However, we should always be concerned about the consequences of page weight.

  • Too many requests

Each request takes time to process, as it includes time for DNS Lookup, SSL negotiation, Server Response, Content Size, Connection Speed, etc. Also, broswers impose a limit on simultaneous connections.

  • Extremely large images

High quality images may look very nice, but we should consider the cost of downloading them in slow connections and/or mobile devices

  • Websites not optimized for mobile users

Websites not optimized for mobile users usually suffer from issues like bloated graphics, non-playable videos and irrelevant cross-linking. Google recently implemented a change on the ranking algorithm that favours mobile optimized websites on mobile searches.

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