Industry Update
Supplier News27 February 2019

Website Speed Can Be the Difference Between Booking and Bouncing

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There is no denying it, running a business can be exhausting. Worrying about a website only adds more pressure. Still, having a website is essential for getting customers. Without it, most people won't even know your business exists. It stands to reason you want your website to leave a good impression, and slowness can really hurt your chances at achieving this. Some people might not think speed matters that much, but statistics paint a frightening picture for business owners. We can start by talking about bounce rates. Bouncing is when visitors leave your web page quickly (mere seconds) after finding it in search results. This doesn't only reduce the actual number of visitors to your website but lowers your search ranking.

Some visitors will always bounce. However, if your pages load in 5 seconds, you get 90% more bouncing than with 1-second load times. 10 seconds of load time increase this chance by 123%.

You might not think your website is this slow, but research shows that an average desktop website takes 9.3 seconds to load. And even 3 seconds of loading increase your bounce rate.

Even worse, the average mobile website is dramatically slower; HostingTribunal says that it takes a whopping 22 seconds to load. To put things in perspective, consider that most internet traffic since 2016 comes from mobile browsing.

This especially concerns those in the hospitality industry. Tourists are particularly fond of handling their booking over mobile devices.

To give you a clear percentage, you can expect each second of delay to reduce your conversions by 7%. And you can imagine how your profits will dwindle if your load time is 5, 10, or even 22 seconds.

So, you might ask, how do I prevent this? What is slowing down my website? Well, we have prepared info about several common site speed bottlenecks you should be on the lookout for.

First, let's get back to basics. You need to make sure you picked the right hosting option. If your hosting provider doesn't have well-configured servers and network, no amount of optimization will help.

Even if you were careful when choosing your hosting provider, your needs probably have changed over time. Websites grow. Perhaps you need more bandwidth and computing power than before to accommodate higher traffic. Make sure to occasionally reevaluate your needs so you can upgrade your hosting package on time.

The second common issue is having bulky pages. Reducing the sheer amount of data your server needs to send the client's browser can improve load times.

For one, images are often worth optimizing. Instead of using the width parameter to set image size, crop them in Photoshop before uploading. Alternatively, you can find a tool that compresses all the images on a website.

Also, enabling GZIP compression can reduce load times by up to 70%. GZIP is a snippet of code which shrinks the amount of data you need to send to the client. If you use WordPress, you can find a plugin that enables GZIP compression. Alternatively, you can ask the support team of your web host to insert GZIP for you. They should be able to do that within minutes.

Finally, not enabling caching makes your server spend resources unnecessarily. Typically, your server generates a page every time someone requests it. But this isn't necessary for parts of a page that don't change (the so-called static content). Server caching saves the static content of pages as HTML documents. When a client requests a page, your server won't waste time generating a response; instead, the static page will be saved, ready to be displayed right away.

Now that you know what is slowing down your website, you can improve it. Do this and your website will bring in clients instead of driving them away.

SOurce: HostingTribunal 

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