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Slow websites can hit sales. Check your speed now.

free website speed testSlow websites affect whether your users engage with your content.

What do you know about your website’s speed?

You may recall my February 2016 post about “Can you do it in 4 seconds?”. (To read that in a new window now click this link: www.clickingmad.com/blog/can-you-do-it-in-4-seconds)

In that article I was suggesting that a slow website could hurt your rankings in Google. Now the BBC has reported on the same topic, so I must be onto something.

There is now evidence that speed of a website can impact on the actual sales volume of an online ecommerce store. The BBC ran a story recently on a report by US metrics company; Dynatrace, that the speed of a website loading has a direct affect on sales success. (Read the BBC article here)

As websites have become more complex in functionality, with multiple and often larger images, embedded videos, downloadable documents and other “rich” content, websites have become slower. As our broadband speeds through fibre and 4g have become quicker, websites have been allowed to become more cumbersome; slowing them down – again.

“…Globally, the average page load time
has gone up by 7% compared to last year…”

Norstrum, a US fashion retailer reported a fall in online sales of 11% when its website response time slowed by just half a second! When your sales total £10.6 billion per annum, that’s a significant amount.

Your websites physical hosting can also affect its speed performance. Many websites are on cheap shared servers as just “being live” was the most important thing at the time, and not the quality of the hosting itself.

Unfortunately the website design industry often neglects the technical performance of the websites that they create. If your website has any commercial impact on your company then you need to look carefully at the hosting setup. Is it fast? Is it secure? This is really important.

So it’s not just what Google thinks although lets face it, that’s important enough. It’s also about how quickly users expect the speed of your website to load on their devices.

If you ignore the speed of your website, you ignore the success of your website.

Would you like to know how
quick your website is?

If you are unsure what to do, give us a shout and we will help.

If you ask nicely we will do a free speed test!


Why should your website be secure?

You may notice at the top of this page that the name of the website has been highlighted in a green box.

Google want your website to be secureThis box, and the fact that it is green, indicates that we have installed an “SSL” into our website. SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. This means that the connection between your computer and our website is encrypted and secure.

You will most often notice a padlock, green or otherwise on ecommerce websites, again to indicate that the website offers a secure connection; obviously very important if you are about to put your personal or financial details into it.

Q. So, why should Clickingmad, a website design and website development company spend money on an SSL when we do not offer any transactions or store your details on our website?

A. So that Google helps our website rise above others who don’t have one.

“For these reasons, over the past few months we’ve been running tests taking into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in our search ranking algorithms. We’ve seen positive results, so we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal.”

This is a direct quote from Google’s own blog: www.webmasters.googleblog.com. Click the link to read the full article if you like.

We opted for frankly, an expensive SSL, one that checks our company details, checks our website and even phoned us to verify who we are.

You don’t need to spend lots on an SSL but you should definitely look into having one installed on your website. Certainly will we be contacting our clients to help them arrange this very soon. If you want one in yours, why not give us a shout?

“We want to go even further. At Google a few months ago, we called for “HTTPS everywhere” on the web.”

So this appears to be just the start of the Internet becoming a safer place to be.

Perhaps we have to look to Google to use its dramatic influence to move this along. When money is concerned through website rankings and therefore website success, I think it will.

I think websites becoming safer is a good thing. I hope you do as well.

Why image sizes on a website are important..

Images on websites can make them load slower. Hurting your rankings on Google and ruining the user experiences.

We have all come across websites that seem to take ages to load, particularly ecommerce websites. It may be frustrating for humans to wait for website pages to load, but what if your website is penalised by Google for being slow?

Google has made it plain that it expects website owners and developers to ensure that their code and design load quickly. I believe it acts against websites that are slow to load by dropping them down the rankings of search results. So if there is even a chance of that happening isn’t it about time you looked at one of the main culprits of slow loading websites? Images… Here is a little test:

Their images… Here is a little test:

Can you guess what the file sizes are of these images:

make websites load quicker

online image compression software

Do they look that different?

Well, one is 77% smaller in file size than the other!

The usual “save for web” setting has been applied through PhotoShop. (This basically saves the image at 72 dpi and into a .jpeg format – more on that below)

A is 34k

B is 7.9k. After the same treatment as A but then run through an online image compression program.


So how can an image that was already fairly small be so important?

Imagine if these images were of a product that you were searching for to buy online. You visit a website that provides you with the facility to “show all” products that match what you are looking for. You could have literally hundreds of seemingly small images that – taken together – equal vast amounts of physical size that the website has to load and your web browser software (Internet Explorer/Chrome/Safari etc) has to display for you.

Taking the examples above into this analogy; image A, shown 150 times on one page, will result in a page load of 5.1 mb, or nearly 5 floppy disks – remember them? (plus all the code that makes the website page in the first place, the header images, the banners, the server speed itself and of course your internet access speed etc).

Image B on the other hand will result in 1.18 mb of imagery.

Yet I think you can see there isn’t that much difference in the quality of the images themselves.

The process I suggest you go through for all images on your website is this:

  1. Get the size right for the space you want it to display in. Don’t just expect your website software to resize it for you. Most do not do a very good job of that. Use a photo editing software package such as Photoshop. (Put the effort in here and the rest is much easier.)
  2. Save your resized image “for web” or a similar setting. This will reduce the pixel per inch that the image is displayed in and make the resolution closer to the norm that the web and web browsers have come to expect.
  3. And the best bit? Use a compression tool to reduce the file size even further. See this shot:

image compression software

I used https://compressor.io/ to reduce all the images on this page. If you look closely at the image above you should see the before and after sizes shown. 34k – 7.9k. Pretty impressive.

TIP: One of the worst culprits in allowing over sized images on websites is WordPress. Folks think choosing a display size will resize the image – it doesn’t, it simply makes the image LOOK smaller. All the original data is still there as is the original file size! Today I visited a website of an American web company (I won’t mention the name) whose images of themselves had not been resized or compressed. I did them a favour; I resized them, optimised them and then compressed them.  One went from 4.1 mb down to 84k! No loss of quality and exactly the same size. I then sent them their images to replace the massive ones – as a favour. Even the “experts” can get it wrong sometimes.

I made a reference to .jpeg earlier. (Joint Photographic Experts Group – who invented it apparently) This and others, like .gif and .bmp for example are file extensions that tell your computer what programs to open them in and indeed; how to display them. .Jpeg removes some of the detailed pixel information of the image and therefore reduces the quality – how much, depends on the setting. It doesn’t mean that the images look rubbish, it means that they fit the media in which we are using them – correctly.

I hope this helps you keep your website fast to load; providing a better experience for your website visitors and keeping the Google god happy as well.

Enjoy your photography and editing!