Okay, so you’ve got your website optimized for mobile devices. But is your site running fast enough to be effective?
Basic terms of mobile optimization refer to a site’s fundamental ability to load and perform. For example, you need all the images and videos on your site to load without issue, all the buttons on your site should be big enough to click with a finger, and all the text should be readable without zooming or scrolling.
You can check to see if your site follows these protocols consistently using Google’s Mobile Friendly tool. But beyond those factors, your site speed can have a major impact on user experience – and your ranking in search engines, too.
Why Site Speed Is Important on Mobile
Site speed matters to any site, but it’s especially important for mobile sites and mobile devices. Mobile devices often load pages slower than desktop devices, resulting in an amplification of an existing slow site speed. Plus, mobile users are often on the go or in a hurry, demanding faster retrieval of information (and necessitating fewer “bells and whistles,” which mostly serve as distractions in these scenarios).
Ultimately, your site speed is important for three reasons:
- User bounce rates. If a user clicks through to your site and it takes more than a few seconds to load, you run the risk of having them bounce before they even see your material. What good is a visitor if he/she never sees your content?
- Maximizing user engagement. The faster your site loads, the more time and ability your users will have to engage with your site. That means higher customer retention, and more opportunities to secure a conversion.
- Search rankings. Though site speed is only a peripheral factor, and won’t make or break your rankings, it can have a positive effect on your search position. The user behavior on your site, affected by your site speed, will also have an indirect effect on your ranks.
It’s hard to say exactly how fast is “fast enough,” because different users in different niches will have different preferences. What I can tell you is that every second counts. User departure and frustration rates sharply increase with each passing second that it takes to load a page.
If it takes more than four seconds for a page to load, you can kiss a significant chunk of your traffic goodbye – but don’t just try to meet that threshold. Strive to make your mobile site as fast as possible.
How to Improve Mobile Site Speed
With those factors covered, let’s take a look at how you can objectively increase your mobile site’s loading speed:
- Reduce your image sizes. Images are likely taking up the greatest amount of data space on your website. Make sure you’re using images in the proper format, and adjust them to reasonable sizes to maximize speed here.
- Use a caching plugin. A good caching plugin helps users store parts of your website’s data to make it load faster upon subsequent visits.
- Get rid of unnecessary plugins and content drafts. If there’s anything on the backend of your site that doesn’t absolutely need to be there, get rid of it. Little things can make a big difference.
- Use a content delivery network. I won’t get into the technical specifics here, but know that content delivery networks can be effective means of providing your web page content to users at a faster speed.
With these strategies, you can iteratively improve your mobile site’s loading speed, which as we’ve seen, is an essential factor in maximizing the effectiveness of your site. Don’t think your loading speed is in proper order just because your site is optimized for mobile; it takes extra effort and further forms of optimization to cover this ground.
You may only shave your average page loading time by a second or two, but when it comes to user engagement, those seconds are precious.
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