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The Importance of Website Load Speed and its Impact on User Experience

Sep 21, 2023

A website’s loading speed has become synonymous with user experience. In the fast-paced world, users don’t have time to wait around for a website to load. They want information instantaneously. If your website doesn’t load within seconds, the chances of users closing out of it increase.

A quick, responsive website leaves a positive impression on a user. They automatically think that the site is easy to use and the business values its customer’s time. Think about it, when was the last time you ended up giving business to a website that took over five seconds to load?

Most users when searching for a service on a search engine, open multiple websites at the same time. The website that loads the quickest is the one they go through first and likely the one they opt for.

Ideally, your website should load in under two seconds. The moment you go from two to three seconds, you increase the bounce rate chances of your website. The bounce rate determines the percentage of users that view your website and leave. In the case of a slow website, many are likely to leave before even viewing your home page.

To help you improve your website load speed to enhance user experience, we look at how you can determine your website load time and discuss factors that contribute to it. Let’s dive in!


How to determine your website load time

Measuring your website load time should be part of the monitoring and analysis of the site. Check the load time every time you make a change to the website. Google’s PageSpeed Insights helps you do that. Not only does it measure your site’s load time but gives it a score and suggestions on how you can improve load time.


Factors that contribute to a slow website

The following factors contribute to a slow page load time:


Heavy coding

The HTML, JavaScript, and CSS codes contribute to your website load time. The heavier the coding files, the longer it will take for the website to load. Try to limit the size of these files to under 150 bytes. Reduce the file size by compression the files before deploying them. By keeping the size under 150 bytes, the response time increases and you reduce the time it takes to download resources.

Server delays

The server response time determines how quickly the HTML is rendered and the site displayed. The three main factors that contribute to response time are:

  • Heavy and not optimized coding
  • Inadequate server hardware
  • The server network connection is slow

Out of the three factors, numbers 2 and 3 are linked to the web host. A reason why you need to make sure you select a reliable web host.


Heavy images

Images are essential to making a website appealing to visitors. But you don’t necessarily have to use heavy images to ensure visual quality.

Heavy images add to a website’s load time. Reduce the size of the image by optimizing it before you upload them to the website. There are a ton of image compression tools online, free and paid. They can help optimize images and reduce image size without compromising on quality.


Too many redirects

Redirects are a tactic within search engine optimization. It directs visitors to either another website or another page within your website. Having too many redirects within your website adds to load time, since it takes longer for users to get to their final destination, having to go through redirects. It essentially adds to the HTTP request-response process, taking longer for the website to load.


Final thoughts

A positive user experience is important for a successful website. Not optimizing your website to enhance the experience will only drive users away.

Page load speed is a major part of user experience. It doesn’t matter how user-friendly your website is, if it takes too long to load, users won’t stay on the site long enough to see all the other user-friendly features. So, start off by determining your website load time and then focus on ways to improve it, if it is slow. Keep in mind the speed elements even from the web design process. We’ve highlighted factors you can focus on to make your website quicker. Once you do that, you’ll automatically see results.