Website Load Time in 2020: How Fast Is Fast Enough?

Today, in the fast-paced digital world, it’s crucial for organizations to develop websites that provide a seamless web experience to the users. Companies are investing in tools and infrastructure to ensure their site’s performance is monitored constantly and optimized in real time. Loading time is one of the critical components with an impact on the user experience.

What Is Website Load Time?

Website load time is defined as the average amount of time taken by the website to load its content entirely. Although website load time depends on various factors such as the hosting server, amount of bandwidth in transit, webpage design, page elements, browser, and device type, an ideal website load time should be no more than 2 seconds. The probability of bounce rate increases by 32% if the page load time increases from 1 to 3 seconds. Websites and web services that load quickly tend to have better user engagement and higher conversion rates. Businesses use advanced and reliable tools like SolarWinds® Pingdom® to measure website load times.

Let’s understand the reasons for a slow-loading website and how it can be fixed.

JavaScript Issues

Although JavaScript and jQuery plugins are used to make dynamic and interactive web pages, they take longer to load, interpret, and execute. To ensure the website loads quickly, development teams need to regularly audit JavaScript data, so slow-running scripts or redundant data can be removed. Asynchronous loading should be adopted to process the JavaScript code in parallel with the rest of the website content.

Unoptimized Image Content

One of the major reasons for a slow-loading website is unoptimized images. Uploading large and high-quality images increases the size of the webpage and requires more bandwidth to load. The image format is another important consideration while checking the page speed. PNG and GIF image formats also slow down websites.

Developers, marketers, and business owners need to check the website images’ file size and ensure they don’t exceed 1MB. Instead of using PNG and GIF image formats, use JPEG images that are small and enable a webpage to load faster. Businesses can also use waterfall charts to measure image size.

Multiple HTTP Requests

When a user visits a website, the browser sends multiple HTTP requests to access the website content. However, if a website has excessive images, CSS, and JavaScript, it takes longer to process those requests, reducing the page load speed. Development teams must use CSS Sprites to reduce HTTP requests and the number of files on the page. Minify JavaScript and CSS files to reduce load times and bandwidth usage on websites.

Excessive Flash Content

Flash content includes audio, images, video, and animation, making the website more interactive and expressive. Despite having several advantages, Flash content is large, so it slows down the website speed. To improve website loading time, developers can either minimize the size of the Flash content, remove it entirely, or replace it with HTML alternatives.

Ignoring Caching Techniques

Development teams should use caching to save time and improve website performance. The cache temporarily stores data. It helps serve repeated requests on the same content, making the data retrieval process easier and faster. Development teams can implement different types of caching, such as data, output, and distributed caching to improve website performance.

Unclean Code

Excessive white space, empty new lines, unnecessary comments, and inline styling make website stylesheets larger. Development teams can use dedicated tools to remove these elements, reduce the file size, or compress the code to improve website load time. This process is known as minification. In addition, avoid creating multiple CSS stylesheets—this helps ensure fewer HTTP requests, making the website load faster.

Not Using Compression

Images, CSS, and JavaScript are necessary elements of a website. They cannot be removed entirely; instead, you can compress these elements using GZIP compression for faster network transfers. GZIP compression is a standard practice for reducing the size of the data sent to the requesting browser, to load the website faster.

Pingdom: Monitor Website Load Time and Performance Metrics

Pingdom is a website monitoring solution designed to provide insights and alerts about website performance and availability. The tool helps you deliver a seamless web experience for your end users. With Pingdom, development teams can quickly view file sizes, load times, and other details about website elements to help identify the reasons for a slow loading website. The tool provides advanced features such as filmstrip and timeline metrics to capture the elements of a webpage after every 500 milliseconds to understand how the page loads. In addition, the tool can test your website load times from over 100 server locations worldwide. Organizations can also set performance grades and analyze performance metrics such as time to first byte, load times, and Apdex score to measure customer satisfaction. Additionally, the tool can simulate visitor interactions to continuously monitor the end-user experience. It monitors uptime, tests performance from multiple locations, performs a root-cause analysis, notifies about outages with advanced alerting features, and enables teams to share website performance on public status pages.

Conclusion

Website load time depends on several factors, and tracking each element of a website to understand the causes of a slow loading webpage is challenging. Pingdom enables development teams to understand the reasons for a slow website, which can help them troubleshoot issues quickly. It also gives real-time insight into your visitors’ experience based on browser, device, and geographic location. If you’re looking for a simple and affordable solution to monitor your website availability and performance, you can get started with SolarWinds Pingdom now; the tool offers a 14-day free trial to help organizations understand how it fits their specific monitoring needs.

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