Is Your Website Speed Costing You Customers? Orchard Can Help!

May 9, 2024

5 minute read

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In today’s fast-paced digital world, website speed is no longer a luxury – it’s a necessity. Let’s dive deep into the world of page speed performance to understand why it matters and how we can help you optimize your website for lightning-fast loading times.

The Need for Speed: Why Every Millisecond Counts

Imagine clicking a link, only to have the content jump around as it loads, leading you to click the wrong thing. Or perhaps you try to open a menu, but it takes ages to respond. These frustrating experiences highlight the importance of page speed for user experience (UX).

But UX isn’t the only factor affected by slow loading times. Studies by Google show that every additional second of load time can significantly increase bounce rates and decrease conversions. This means potential customers are leaving your website before they even see what you have to offer, impacting your bottom line.

Furthermore, Google considers page speed a ranking factor in its search algorithms. A faster website is more likely to appear higher in search results, leading to increased organic traffic.

What Slows You Down?

Several factors contribute to sluggish page speed performance. The primary culprit is page weight, which refers to the total size of all the resources needed to load your website, including images, videos, code, and third-party elements. Additionally, user device limitations and insufficient hosting resources can also hinder speed.

Measuring Performance: Lab vs. Field Data

To effectively improve website speed, we need to understand how it performs. We use two key data sets: lab data and field data. Lab data comes from controlled tests that simulate user experiences and provide repeatable numbers. Tools like DeBug Bear, PageSpeed Insights, and Google Chrome’s Lighthouse fall into this category.

Field data, on the other hand, is collected from real user experiences around the world. Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX) is the dataset used by Google’s Web Vitals program to measure real-world performance. This data helps us identify areas for improvement based on how actual users interact with your website.

Unpacking the Metrics: What Makes a “Fast” Website?

While perceived load time is subjective, several metrics help us determine if a website feels fast to users. These include:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): Measures the time it takes for the largest image or text block to render.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): Tracks how often elements on your page unexpectedly shift during loading, causing users to click the wrong thing.
  • Interaction to Next Paint (INP): Measures responsiveness – how long it takes the page to react to user interactions.
  • Total Blocking Time (TBT): Simulates INP in a lab setting.

The Orchard Approach to Speed Optimization

At Orchard, we take a multi-pronged approach to optimizing page speed, focusing on both reducing page weight and utilizing robust hosting solutions. Here’s a glimpse into our toolbox:

  • Image Optimization: We optimize image sizes, utilize modern formats like WebP, and prioritize loading above-the-fold images first.
  • Content Prioritization: We implement lazy loading for content below the fold, ensuring users see the most important content first.
  • Script Management: We defer unnecessary JavaScript and minify code to streamline loading.
  • Third-Party Resource Control: We minimize plugin use and strategically pre-connect essential third-party resources.
  • Server Optimization: We allocate ample resources, keep software up-to-date, and leverage a Content Delivery Network (CDN) for faster global delivery.
  • WordPress Expertise: We champion a lightweight approach, favoring Gutenberg over page builders, and utilizing core WordPress functionalities whenever possible.

By combining these strategies, Orchard helps you create a website that not only looks fantastic but also delivers a blazing-fast user experience. This translates into higher conversion rates, improved search ranking, and ultimately, a thriving online presence.

Ready to Unleash the Power of Speed?

Contact Orchard today for a free consultation. We’ll analyze your website’s performance, identify areas for improvement, and craft a customized speed optimization plan to get your website flying.

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