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Every Second Counts: The Culture of Web Performance

Page load time is not only an important part of any website’s user experience, it also directly impacts your search engine rankings. Every second counts in both mobile and desktop website load times. It is a major contributing factor to page abandonment.

In fact, 40% of users will abandon a page that takes more than three (3) seconds to load, and as page sizes continue to increase, slow load times will continue to be a problem. What to do?

For 20 years, Aristotle has designed thousands of websites, and we’ve found that the rules and best practices for Web performance change fairly often. So, let’s talk about what you can do in 2015 to decrease your website’s load time.

1. Audit your site with WebpageTest.org to see the load time of page elements and file sizes.

2. Optimize all images to be only as big as they need to be.

3. Optimize your site by combining several Javascript or CSS files into one (ensuring that too many files don’t keep the HTML from loading).

4. Optimize your code based on user-experience by ensuring that the content “above” the fold loads the fastest.

5. Make hero images and other photos responsive using the new HTML picture element.

At Aristotle, we built our own Javascript application to interact with Web pages in development. The application tells how fast pages load for individuals, overall average page load time, average page load time by country and average page load times for individual elements such as CSS, images and Javascript. This tool ensures that we are launching our sites at their very fastest.

Website performance affects behavior. A one-second delay in page responsiveness can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.  As you move more solidly into your 2015 plans, put website load time on your priority list.

Also check out Steve Souders’ “14 Rules for Faster-Loading Web Sites.”

Thanks to KISSmetrics and Sean Work for the stats.

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About the Author
Matt Shull

Matt Shull

Matt is the Director of Labs at Aristotle and is instrumental in Aristotle’s culture of web performance. Contact him at mshull@aristotleweb.com

Matt Shull
Matt is the Director of Labs at Aristotle and is instrumental in Aristotle’s culture of web performance. Contact him at mshull@aristotleweb.com
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