Fast isn't just for my MINI CooperS. People like fast websites, making speed something you cannot afford to skimp on. But I find that it's something a lot of my clients struggle with and/or they never thought about until I bring it up. In truth, it's one of the first pieces I tackle before rolling out the rest of a digital marketing strategy.

You're probably shaking your head right now or wagging your finger because, "Site speed is common sense." But, do me a favor, head to Pingdom, and test your own site. I'll wait. Was your site load below 2 seconds? If so, good for you. If not, follow me...er, keep reading

A faster website will increase your site conversions and give users a good experience (UX).

Here are some fast site speed facts:

  • 73% of mobile internet users say they’ve encountered a website that was too slow to load.
  • 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.
  • 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
  • A 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.

Are you with me now? This sh*t is pretty important, and it may be a contributing factor to the bottleneck in your traffic funnels or the reason many of your users are bouncing from your site.

Note: If your website is on something like Shopify or Squarespace, focus on image size. Server setup doesn't apply. There may be other issues with your site speed not included here.

Why is My Website Slow?

Tips to Increase Your Site Speed.

Reduce Your Image Size.

Depending on what photographer you work with, he/she will likely send over several types of images: Original, Hi-Res, and/or Web Ready.

I say this with some caution because I've had clients send me "web ready" images that were over 5k px wide or tall. Those, my friend, are not web ready. That size image is larger than the TV in my house and much larger than my 13" computer screen. In other words: overkill.

If you have a website, hire a designer or learn photoshop. It's a failproof way to resize your images and control the quality of what you export. The quick and dirty tutorial:

Open your image in PSD > File > Save For Web

In the lower right hand corner, you'll see two numbers. For my site, I reduce to 1000 px wide. Make sure you have it set at the top to .jpg and maximum (or very high depending on the file size), so that your images come out HQ, but this time appropriately sized for your website and not a stadium size TV screen.

A good rule of thumb is that a header image or hero image on your site should be no larger than 250KB.

If you want to get your images down to 250KB, compress the export quality further—even lower than very high if the images are still over 250KB. Some may disagree with me here—it's the internet after all—but keep in mind that most people are using their phones to surf the web. Developing your site with this mentality will increase your conversions by a large factor because you're catering to your consumer and speeding up your site.

Move to the Cloud.

Remember in the movie Sex Tape when Jason Segel says, "Nobody understands the cloud. It's a mystery?" It's not that mysterious, and it will speed up your site. A lot of folks have their sites set up on WordPress—not me, I'm on ghost. Fewer of those folks are in the cloud. There are several ways to move to the cloud. If you want to do it yourself, you should plan on launching an Amazon Lightsail instance and rebuilding the site (which could be as easy as a copy and paste job). The better option, without getting into the nitty gritty, is to hire a developer who can migrate it.

Check-in With Your Server Setup.

It's a running joke that some people's sites are so slow that their server must be set up in the basement of some guy screaming, "Mom, the meatloaf." Don't be that person. Don't be that guy. Server setup isn't something you should dabble in, so here's the advice I'll offer you: hire a good web developer. *I work with several great developers. Let's connect!

If you're still battling your internal voice about your server setup, consider this:

The subname for this section should be: Walk away from GoDaddy and third party servers.

I know, GoDaddy allows people to build websites with little guidance. The trade in here is that you don't really understand what's going on with your website or why it's slow, even if you're in the cloud.

When you start exploring these issues and asking questions about your setup, you start to understand that there is an absolute lack of transparency when you use GoDaddy or third party services. This kind of transparency is what you need in order to really understand your server, and it's likely one of the first things a new developer will ask you about your website setup.

If you've made it this far, awesome. I find that a lot of people start to feel very overwhelmed when it comes to these topics. I wish I could give people a simple answer packaged in a Tiffany Box with a nice big bow, but the reality is, this sh*t is complex. Just like you wouldn't put a new motor in your car—I speak from experience—you shouldn't try to do all of this yourself. But, you should ask the right questions and understand what's going on in order to optimize your setup. It's possible that the last couple of points don't apply to you and all you have to do is stop loading images sized for the Superbowl. In which case, walk, don't run to your website and start optimizing it.

This list isn't a be all, end all. There are tons of tools that will allow you to better analyze your site speed.

If you're still here and looking for help, let's get your site speed up! Shoot me an email!

Gabrielle Nickas

Photos by Ashley Burns Photography