Jun 11, 2014
Statistics show that 40% of visitors will only wait on average 7 seconds before hitting the back button and trying another site, and that is regardless of connection speeds. (yes, it seems that we really are that impatient and fickle!). So I found it quite intriguing to see that a self proclaimed authority on increasing web traffic was probably losing a heck of a lot of visitors simply because their home page didn’t load quickly enough.
So why is it that some web pages are slow to appear in a user’s browser?
Obviously, there are differences in the equipment used. Older operating systems, slow dial up connections, out of date browser software, etc can all contribute to the problem of slow loading Web pages. But sometimes even high speed broadband users with the latest all singing and dancing desktop machine can experience sites that are painfully slow to appear, and this is more often than not due to ineffective Web design.
Some things to bear in mind for fast loading web pages:
Keep it simple - Fancy designs with a multitude of large background graphics can look spectacular, but only if the surfer waits long enough for the page to load. If speed is your goal (and it should be) then keep the design simple. This doesn’t mean your site has to be boring, far from it; but use CSS techniques for presentation and try not to rely too much on background images to style your pages.
Optimise Image Files - beware of using large photographs and images on a page, sometimes the file size can be huge, and for fast pages we really want our file sizes as small as possible.
Specify Image Size - If images are essential to your web page then make sure that the HTML includes width and height attributes. This will allow the user’s browser to display the rest of the page while waiting for the image to download.
Use A Good Hosting Company - It is usually a false economy to have your site hosted on free or cheap web space as the server will often be slow and unresponsive. Use a good quality hosting company and reap the benefits in speed as a result.
In conclusion, if you want your website to be an overwhelming success you will need to get plenty of web traffic, but make sure your pages are quick to respond or any increase in web site traffic will be rendered ineffective as visitors leave before they even see them.
Good luck and may you prosper!
Adapted from an original article by Tony Williams
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Tony Williams is the founder of TDL Web Developments and specialises in creating effective and affordable Web solutions for local businesses in Wirral.
Follow on Twitter @tdlwebs