“First, we gotta get speed. We need speed. Speed’s what we need. Greasy, fast speed!”
Mickey – Rocky II
It’s only appropriate to start 2018 out with a Rocky quote. 2018 has already started out with a bang!
We aren’t even through January and Google is already setting the stage for a big change that is coming in July. The change has to do with the speed of your website and how fast it loads (specifically with mobile).
Given this early year change announcement, it’s a good time to consider evaluating your website performance on all devices.
The Benefits of a Fast-Loading Website
Website speed and load time has been increasing as a key ranking factor in SEO for years. Why is this? Because faster loading pages provide a good user experience. Additionally, faster load times can also lead to improvements in lead generation too.
Let’s take a closer look at how you can improve your site load time overall, in desktop, tablet and mobile.
Where to Start
Step 1: Brainstorming Parameters for Evaluating Success
I would recommend experimenting with a group of pages to see the impact of your changes before rolling them out to the rest of the website. This will help:
- Justify the cost and time spent
- Build your case with solid data and metrics
As a starting point, you’ll want to outline metrics to be able to evaluate whether the campaign or effort is making an impact. What I would recommend is:
- Targeting a handful of pages to change
- Noting key page metrics in Google Analytics to compare. Recommended metrics to note include:
- Time on page
- Conversions or sales from that page
- How many people land on that page
- Noting keyword positions that these pages rank for
If you have years of website data in Google Analytics, you’ll be able to compare year over year data.
Step 2: Bring in Donuts for Your Web Developer
Image via Becker’s Donuts in Cleveland
We typically try to emphasize quick win changes to make on your website to improve leads. Changes to increase page speed most likely will require some technical assistance from your technical web team, so make sure they’ve got their carbs!
The challenge issued to you is to direct them to specific resources to plug and play with pages.
Making site speed changes to your website may involve making changes by way of:
- Your website hosting company (web server)
- The sizes of images on the page
- Implementing browser caching
As you can see, some of these things are technical and you’ll need your web developer to help you. Some instances may be easier than others for making changes. For example, there are a variety of plugins in WordPress available to help with this.
Thus, we recommend bringing donuts in, as these changes can be tedious to implement.
Step 3: Use Page Assessment/Speed Tools
Screen shot of Pingdom’s website assessment screen
You can then expect a list of changes that your development team will want to make to your group of pages in order to make them load faster.
The extent of changes will vary based on how your website is built and how it stacks up to the elements it is being evaluated by.
It’s also worth noting that site speed data is available in Google Analytics too.
Step 4: Test and Evaluate
The fun part has arrived! You can look at a body of 30-60 days worth of data and see what improvements have been made as a result of the website loading more quickly. You may reap the benefit of the changes sooner than you expect.
Noting the changes listed under step 1 will be key to expanding your efforts throughout your site. It might be good to also note changes in key metrics relayed by the tools listed above before and after implementing changes.
If you decide to tinker with you website speed and you have any questions or successes to share, please contact the Sixth City Marketing team.