In today’s environment, consumers simply aren’t willing to wait for more than a few seconds for a page to load before moving onto something else. With a multitude of other options at their fingertips, chances are high that they will be able to find what they’re looking for elsewhere – and that this content will load more quickly.
According to KISSmetrics, page load times can have an enormous impact on e-commerce brands, especially when it comes to its bottom line. Researchers found that 47 percent of shoppers expect pages to load in 2 seconds or less, and 40 percent will abandon a site that takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Slow pages can easily lead to a considerable amount of lost customer connections, along with revenue.
“47% of shoppers expect pages to load in 2 seconds or less, and 40% will abandon a site that takes longer than 3 seconds to load.”
So what can businesses do to speed up their page load times? Let’s take a look at some of today’s top strategies:
HTTP/2: The new standard in Web browsing
The industry as a whole has been working to improve the speed of the web, and at the beginning of 2015 researchers took a huge step toward faster browsing speeds with the finalization of HTTP/2.
HTTP/2 is the next installment of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol, and it represents the largest change made on this front in more than a decade when HTTP 1.1 was first rolled out. The Next Web contributor Owen Williams noted that HTTP/2 allows for numerous Web requests to be delivered simultaneously, so page load times won’t be as hampered by a flood of Web traffic.
“The new standard brings a number of benefits to one of the Web’s core technologies, such as faster page loads, longer-lived connections, more items arriving sooner and server push,” Williams wrote. “HTTP/2 also uses significantly fewer connections, hopefully resulting in lower load for servers and networks.”
Currently, HTTP/2 is in the testing phase, during which developers can perform trials with the protocol before it is rolled out across the Web. Williams is hopeful that it won’t be long until HTTP/2 is published and available in its final form.
Databases and content delivery
There are also approaches that businesses can take with their individual websites to help reduce page load times. Search Engine Land contributor Daniel Cristo noted that administrators can take another look at their databases and content delivery networks to speed up load times.
Optimizing databases through the use of an index can help information be found quicker, thereby shortening the time users have to wait for pages to load. Think of it like a table of contents in a book that makes details easier to locate based on their subject matter.
“Instead of having to scan millions of records, your database can rely on an index to narrow down the data to a few hundred,” Cristo wrote. “This helps the data get returned to the page much faster.”
Cristo also pointed out that using content delivery networks, which have servers all over the world, can help reduce wait times for users no matter their location. Without such a network of data centers in place, content is delivered from wherever the brand’s main servers are located. So, for example, if the company’s servers are situated in a facility in Texas, users in that area will see faster load times than those in other locations that are farther away. With multiple data center locations at its disposal through the CDN, the brand’s content can be delivered from the server closest to the user, cutting down on the time it takes for information to travel across the web.
“One of the best ways to improve page loading times is by identifying the areas of the website that might be causing delays with performance and load tests. “
Performance testing in the cloud
One of the best ways to improve page loading times is by identifying the areas of the website that might be causing delays with performance and load tests. With performance and load testing solutions from SOASTA, organizations are able to pinpoint any issues that might be causing their websites to load slowly, allowing for the opportunity to address these problems and increase their speed.
Best of all, SOASTA’s testing solutions leverage the cloud, which ComputerWorldUK noted, is one of the most ideal ways to test a website’s performance.
“By allowing test teams to instantly deploy existing performance test scripts to cloud-based load generators, the load is created on pre-configured systems provisioned in the cloud,” ComputerWorldUK stated. “This eliminates the effort and cost related to extending the on-premise test infrastructure which only the highest load scenarios would need. In addition, these cloud-based services also provide a diagnosis of any performance problems which are encountered, giving teams the detailed diagnostics they need to identify the nature and location of the potential problems.”
To find out more about how performance and load testing can help reduce page load times, contact SOASTA today.
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