Posts tagged speed

How to make speed a core part of your traffic and conversion strategy

Speed can make more of a difference to the success of your online business than anything else, yet very few people talk about it.

If you can increase the speed of your site, traffic can increase and conversion can double.

Here I won’t just be talking about your website speed, but the overall “speed experience” of your online business.

A 2015 Microsoft study that surveyed 2,000 people and monitored brain activity of 112 additional people with EEGs, revealed that the average human attention span has reduced to eight seconds, from 12 seconds in the year 2000.

Interestingly, declining attention spans is affecting online transactions as well. Here are some interesting statistics on what happens when you delay people’s access to your website:

  • A one second delay in page load time will result in a 7% loss in conversion.
  • 40% of people will abandon your website if it takes longer than three seconds to load.
  • A study that monitored real time data from 33 major retailers found that improving a site’s load time from eight seconds to two seconds boosted conversion rates by 74%.
  • Slow loading sites cost the U.S. economy over $500 billion every year.

The above statistics point clearly to the impact site speed has on conversion and traffic, but it doesn’t end there. It isn’t a secret that Google now uses site speed as one of its ranking factors.

If you run an online business, making speed a priority can single-handedly double your traffic and conversions. Here are some tips for you:

1) Optimize your site load time

The very first step towards ensuring a faster experience with people who interact with your brand online involves optimizing your site load time.

As established by some of the stats listed above, website speed plays a core role in whether people stay on your website or buy from you.

In fact, an Akamai study found that 47% of people expect a web page to load within two seconds. Here are some ideas to make your site load faster:

  • Get a better host: Really, the foundation of your website is important; if you’re on a poor host, everything else I suggest here is useless. First ensure you’re on a good host. I created this comparison page to make it easy to compare web hosts based on speed.
  • Use a CDN: One of the core benefits of the internet is that it is universal. Someone from the most remote village in Bulgaria can access content from India as soon as it is created. Due to the distance and some other factors, this advantage can also be a disadvantage. Your site won’t load the same for everybody: Your website that is hosted in the US will be faster for people trying to access it in the US, but it will be slower for people trying to access it in China. Speed will vary based on the location of your users. Thanks to CDNs, however, your website can be distributed to servers in different parts of the world. This lets you serve the fastest version of your website to visitors depending on where they are trying to gain access from. This in turn results in a much faster website. CloudFlare and MaxCDN are great CDN options.
  • Disable unnecessary add-ons and plugins: Usability trumps being fancy any day. If you want a faster website, you should be ready to remove anything that is unnecessary; this includes plugins and add-ons that do not serve a purpose. If your website will work fine without a particular plugin or add-on, you don’t need it.
  • Compress images: When you take a picture, or download an image online, it is usually very large. This is especially true if it is a high resolution image. The issue is that the size of images displayed on your website adds to your site’s overall loading speed. A 2.4MB image could easily be compressed to 100KB, resulting in a significant reduction in page load time.

site speed images

  • Use caching: Anytime someone visits your website, their browser has to download files from your server before serving them your site. If this is done every time, not only will your site take a bit longer to load for users but it can result in a slower website if a lot of people try to access your website at once. With caching, however, the files is downloaded and saved by their browser during their first visit. Instead of requesting a new file from your server each time, unless you update your website, their browser will serve the version downloaded earlier. This makes your site faster for both old and new visitors.

2) Create a mobile (or responsive) version of your site

Many website owners focus only on desktop visitors and ignore mobile visitors. The interesting fact, however, is that there are more mobile internet users today than desktop internet users. This is why it is very important for you to create a mobile version of your website.

mobile friendly

Mobile devices do not have the same capacity as desktop computers, so websites – in the original form they are designed for desktop visitors – will take much longer to load on a mobile phone than on a desktop computer even with the same internet speed.

By creating a much smaller mobile site, or by optimizing your site to be responsive for all devices, you can deliver a much faster website to mobile users.

3) Use a completeness meter on your website

Research shows that 75% of people would love to have a progress bar, or some sort of indication of their level of progress, when using a website.

Even when you’ve done your best, you can’t control everything – issues happen when it comes to technology. Sometimes there will be a delay from your payment processor, or your website might just be unusually slow.

Regardless, people are more likely to leave your website – if it is slow – when they are uncertain of how long it will take for their issue to be resolved. The solution to this is to use a “completeness meter.”

A completeness meter, such as a progress bar, will let users know how much longer they have to wait before their issue is resolved; due to the fact that they are now certain about how long they have to wait, they feel a lot less impatient and are likely to continue with their transaction on your site.

4) Reduce your signup forms and pages

Most people think about site load time as the only factor to consider when optimizing a website for speed, but that’s far from it. Even your sign up forms and checkout pages matter.

If you want people to respond more to your offer, reduce the number of hoops they have to jump through; this mean you should reduce the number of form fields users have to fill, the number of questions you ask users, and the number of pages they have to go through. This will result in a much faster experience for your users, and less is more in this case.

5) Optimize your customer support response time

Most importantly, you should optimize your customer support response time.

Research shows that 53% of people expect brands to respond within an hour of reaching out to them on Twitter. Research also shows that people expect you to respond to their emails within 24 hours.

Usually, customers can still request a refund if they are not satisfied. Most importantly, disgruntled customers can do a lot of damage to your brand by spreading the word about their bad experience to others.

Speed optimization doesn’t just end with your website; it is important to maintain a quality attitude to speed even after people become customers.

John Stevens is the CEO of Hosting Facts. He’s a regular contributor to Entrepreneur, Adweek, Internet Retailer and SEW.

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myDevices and Arduino partner to speed up IoT deployment


myDevices and Arduino announced on Tuesday a partnership that connects Cayenne, a drag-and-drop Internet of Things (IoT) project builder, with Arduino’s large open-source hardware developer boards.

Developers are now able to use Cayenne to visualize sensor data and control components of the Arduino board. myDevices claims the partnership will expedite IoT deployments, because its project builder removes a lot of the arduous manual steps.

See Also: IoT and development platforms: Focusing on connecting the world

“The ability to build and manage IoT prototypes with Cayenne’s full-featured IoT Project Builder is as easy as drag, drop, and configure,” said the company.

Most IoT tool providers have partnered with Arduino, including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, and IBM. myDevices is coming to the party late, but it says that compared to the standard method, its project builder is six times faster and removes 27 manual steps.

“We are especially excited about this partnership with myDevices since it easily enables Arduino users to create a clean graphical user interface that anyone can operate,” said Kathy Giori, vice president of operations at Arduino. “Giving developers the tools to build prototypes and products quickly, without having to learn advanced programming, makes it possible for entrepreneurs to take part in the booming IoT market.”

“We’re seeing many projects turn into commercial business because of the democratization of these technologies. This partnership combines affordable hardware and intuitive software to help developers bring ideas to life,” she added.

myDevices entrant more “drag and drop”

Cayenne is more drag-and-drop than hard coding, so hopefully this partnership will also expand IoT developments in classrooms and for first timers that haven’t had programming experience. myDevices does provide ways for more experienced engineers to get more from the devices, but it is primarily aimed at novices.

“There has been an overwhelming response to Cayenne from end-users, industry media, and analysts since Cayenne’s debut at the beginning of the year,” says Kevin Bromber, CEO of myDevices. “Existing Cayenne users have just surpassed four billion IoT events on our platform utilizing features such as threshold alerts, sensor history and rules engine triggers.

“This release of Cayenne with Arduino support is yet another key milestone in our objective to expand availability and eventually make Cayenne the industry standard for IoT project building, similar to how AutoCad is the de facto software for architects and 3D visualization.”

Cayenne is available for Arduino developers today and it already supports other open initiatives like Raspberry Pi.

The post myDevices and Arduino partner to speed up IoT deployment appeared first on ReadWrite.

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Images: three optimisation tips to help speed up your site

People like fast websites and so does Google.

In fact, your website’s speed is a ranking factor in Google search engine results.

If your site loads quickly, it’s more likely to appear when people search for your brand. This along with the knowledge that a fast site provides a better user experience (UX), means that a faster website can lead to higher conversions.

If your website isn’t loading as quickly as you’d like, it’s very likely that your images are to blame.

Here are a few common mistakes people make regarding optimising images for their website.

Images are too big

Many marketers and publishers like to use big, high-resolution images on their site, believing that these images will provide a better user experience.

The problem is that high-res images often have a very large file size, and take a long time to load, especially when there are multiple images on the same web page.

We’ve seen many publishers uploading images in the range of 2Mb to 5Mb in their blog or content posts. This image size is way too large for the web, and is one of the most common mistakes that slows down websites.

If your image is larger than 500kb, something might be wrong, and the image could be compressed.

Before you upload new images to your web page or blog post, remember these tips:

  • Before you upload any image, double-check the file size (right click the image, and choose properties)
  • Keep image files sizes below 500kb (and below 100kb if possible)
  • There are many online tools that can help you compress your images to get a smaller file size, such as io, CompressJPG, and TinyPNG.
  • If you use Photoshop to prepare your images, keep an eye on the dimensions and make sure the DPI is set to 72dpi (Image/Image Size) and remember to ‘Save for Web’ in order to control the final outputted file size.
  • Convert your images to the proper file types. In most cases, you’ll want to use JPG. However, if your image uses transparency (such as an image with a “see through” background) you’ll need to use PNG. There are some rare cases when GIF is best, but, when in doubt, always use JPG.

A specific example: An exclusive online designer footwear brand uses a lot of large banners and products images on its fashion site that dragged the Google PageSpeed score down to just 20/100.

We created a daily cron job (automated task that runs daily) to automatically resize big images down to smaller web standards, while maintaining a good quality.

In the screenshot below, we reduced the file size of an image from 1.3MB to only 142KB.

metallics webpage

reduce page speed chart

Simply by reducing image file size, we increased the Google PageSpeed score from 20/100 to 58/100.

Auto-scaling images

Another common mistake with images, is auto-scaling large images so they display smaller than they really are.

Doing this is often more convenient for the developer and content creators, but can really slow down a website.

For example, a big photo banner in a post might also be used as a small thumbnail elsewhere on the site.

The developer, rather than creating multiple versions of the image (e.g. 1000×425 for the banner and 64×64 for a side column), uses code to auto-scale the same big image to display as a small thumbnail. So a big image is being loaded unnecessarily. This shortens development time, but the page speed pays the price.

Not to mention, auto-scaled images can end up looking distorted because they’ve been stretched with code. For example, the thumbnail below is auto-scaled from 1000×425 pixels down to 64×64 pixels, and becomes distorted.

distorted thumbnail

reduce distortion on thumbnail

Keep an eye out for times when the same image is used many times on your site. If your site requires 12 different size variations used in 12 locations (something like 25×25, 40×40, 200×200, 658×258, 56×56, 64×64, 92×92, 150×156, 110×110, 160×160, and 180×180) that’s probably too many, and you might want to limit that down to less than four.

Then create a separate image for each different size, and load the correctly-sized image version rather than auto-scaling large images to look smaller than they really are.

Lack of image caching

Even if you use proper image compression, and serve properly-scaled images, a page that’s very image-heavy can still take a long time to load. Since images are static content, a great way to speed up the load time is to use CDN caching.

Caching (pronounced “cashing”) is the process of storing data in a temporary storage area called a cache. For example, you’ve probably noticed that a website you’ve visited in the past will load more quickly than a site you’ve never been to. This is because the visited website is cached by your computer.

A CDN (Content Delivery Network) is a network of servers that delivers cached content (such as images) from websites to users, based on the geographic location of the user.

For example, if you’re in New York, and you’re looking at a website from India, you can load the images from a server that’s actually in New York, rather than loading images from halfway around the world.

A site using CDN caching can deliver images and other static content much faster, especially in peak traffic time, because images are not loaded directly from the web server, but from a cached server with much faster speed.

On top of this, a CDN also helps you serve more visitors at the same time. If your site experiences a sudden or unexpected spike in traffic, a CDN can keep your site functioning effectively.

Some of our favorite CDN providers are CloudFare, Akamai CDN, Amazon CloudFront, MaxCDN, and CDN77.

Mike Le is the Co-Founder and COO of CB/I Digital, a digital agency based in New York and a contributor to SEW. You can connect with Mike on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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Euro firms want EU to get up to speed on self-driving


European automakers and telecom firms have asked the EU Commission to fund a four-year driverless project, which will take place across several EU countries.

It is the first cross-country driverless project in Europe, backed by Orange, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, BMW, and Renault, alongside other firms associated with ACEA, CLEPA, ETNO, ECTA, and GSMA.

See Also: Accenture sees nearly half of cars autonomous in 25 years

The tests would focus on switching wireless networks, internet speeds, and conditions on the road. It could provide new data on how fast internet speeds need to be for an autonomous vehicle to function properly, and create a system for autonomous vehicles to work offline.

The consortium is hoping that alongside the funding, the EU commission provides regulatory advice for autonomous vehicles on the road. Currently, the commission has a few autonomous projects, and has gave mixed signals on what firms are allowed to do on public roads.

EU falling behind some of its member states

Some countries, like the U.K., have decided to skip the EU entirely and announce their own regulations. Germany may be looking to do the same in the near future.

EU oversight is necessary since a lot of Europeans travel by car on holiday to other EU countries. If the car suddenly cannot function outside of their home country, tourism rates may fall and accidents on the road may rise.

Most EU officials seem enthusiastic about the onset of autonomous vehicles as a way of lowering the amount of deaths of the road every year, but the lack of a concrete regulations from the commission has forced some firms to stick to a single test country, like PSA Groupe in France.

Currently, the EU permits autonomous vehicles at Level 3, or “hands off”, for road tests. Tesla’s AutoPilot, which had its first fatal accident last week, is available on the roads, but anything more advanced is illegal.

The post Euro firms want EU to get up to speed on self-driving appeared first on ReadWrite.

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SearchCap: Google’s internet speed testing tool, Landy Awards call for entries & more

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

The post SearchCap: Google’s internet speed testing tool, Landy Awards call for entries & more appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

View full post on Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

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