Fast web speed is a must, so how fast is your website?

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By Ellie Shaw
Fast web speed is a must, so how fast is your website?

How long are your visitors on your website? Is your bounce rate higher than you would like it to be? Do you have many returning visitors? These metrics can all be affected by your website’s load speed. Not to mention, web speed can majorly affect sales! We have created this article to highlight the importance of fast website speed. If you want to improve your analytics and performance as well as receive more leads for your estate agency, keep reading!

The Importance of Fast Websites

Fast web speed isn’t a suggestion, it’s a necessity! The first four seconds of web speed has the highest impact on conversion rates. However, it is vital that a website has a fast load speed for many more reasons. A slow website could result in visitors exiting your site to find your competitor’s. This would lead to your agency losing out on potential leads and your competitors gaining them. In addition to this, search engines will penalise websites with slow speed and it contributes to poor user experience. This would then affect your SEO as web speed is a direct ranking factor. It can also be classed as an indirect ranking factor, due to web speed having the ability to improve bounce rate and average session duration.

Almost 75% of visitors admit that web speed impacts their inclination to invest in a company’s service(s). Put yourself in their shoes; if you were on a slow website would you really want to navigate around it? No. This is exactly what your slow website is doing, by deteriorating its overall functionality. Your visitors won’t have the flexibility to explore different sections of your website such as houses for sale, houses to rent, receive a valuation, etc, meaning they will be unable to find out more about the properties on your site and your real estate services. The functionality of your website should be fast and easy as this is another crucial aspect of your website that will determine if you receive quality leads or not.

What Affects Web Speed

Plugins

Plugins can certainly aid your website’s functionality, especially if you are maintaining a website and you don’t have much technical knowledge. However, if you are boundless when it comes to the number of plugins you use, this can majorly slow your web speed. Not to mention, choosing to use plugins that aren’t optimised can be detrimental to your website.

Server/ Hosting

Your web hosting and server can have a direct impact on how fast your website loads for visitors. If your server performance is poor, it will take longer to load. Typically poor server performance is caused by your web host and a shared web server. Although a shared web server can be good for small sites, it is not feasible for all websites. Due to the fact that your website will be in a queue, your website may be slow because of sharing this space with a load of other sites.

File types and sizes 

Typically, the larger the file size the more your page takes to load. Despite the fact that connection speed has made it feasible to load substantial files in a short time, it is still beneficial that you optimise the files you will be uploading to your site. 

What Speed Should Your Website be?

Here at Property Webmasters, we recommend that your website should take no longer than two seconds to load but ideally under two seconds. According to Google, 53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile takes more than 3 seconds to load.  This means that without your website being fast enough, over half your website visitors are lost. Think of all the different touchpoints that contribute to a website, all to be lost due to the website not performing as it should. Think of it like this; the longer your website takes to load, the higher your bounce rate will be and the less chance your agency has of obtaining quality leads. 

Below shows a screenshot of the speed performance for one of our websites. This has a great performance metric of 97.

How to Test & Improve Your Web Speed

Plugins

Google Analytics is a great place to test your web speed. All you need to do is navigate to ‘reports’ from the home screen, then select behaviour and site speed. In addition to providing a simple way of tracking web speed, Google Analytics also provides a range of functions and metrics to track. Overall, this is a fantastic tool to use that also allows you to track your user’s behaviour. If you don’t have a Google Analytics account, Pingdom and Pagespeed Insights are great tools to use when it comes to tracking web speed.

Server/ Hosting

In order to benefit your web speed, you should look into dedicated hosting so your site is hosted on a single server that is dedicated to your website and your website only. Another way to benefit your web speed would be to implement HTTP/2 . This would decrease latency to improve page load speeds.

File types and sizes

This can be done by minifying the code and optimising image sizes & formats to keep files as small as possible. The imagery should be the optimal size and resolution for your viewers. 

Lazy loading images is another good way of helping your web speed. Lazy loading is a bunch of techniques via application and web development. This allows the images to load images on the page at a later point when they are needed, as opposed to loading them all upfront.

Coding & minification

Removing unnecessary elements and DOM bloat is a great way to benefit web speed. DOM bloat is when there is too much HTML. 

CSS and JS minification is another way to dramatically improve website speed. This is because minification allows unnecessary characters to be removed from HTML, CSS and JS files, resulting in smaller files.

Property Webmasters

After reading our article, do you believe you could improve your website speed? Plugins, file types, file sizes and your server are all variables that could be majorly affecting your web speed.

If you are interested in seeing how your branding, imagery and colour scheme could look on a new AgentPlus website solution from us here at Property Webmasters, how about you take up the opportunity to receive a free website mock-up? Give us 48 hours and we will return you a fully functioning mock-up for you to take a look at, with all of your assets. Find out more here! With your website being your agency’s storefront, it is crucial that your web speed along with performance, SEO, accessibility and much more is up to standard. Not to mention, 61% of sellers typically visit a real estate website before enquiring about selling their property. With experience designing and developing websites for some of the world’s leading real estate companies, we have unparalleled knowledge of how to set up a website for success. Request your FREE Website Audit here!

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