So you’re looking for something on a search engine. Maybe you’re looking for a car for your wife. You’re looking for a hatch in blue with a built in entertainment system and satellite navigation system. So you type the following phrase in your favourite search engine: “blue hatchback built in entertainment system sat nav.” The search engine duly responds with a list of sites proclaiming that they have the very car you’re looking for. Now, psychology suggests that most people associate the site in position one to be the most relevant. Why else would it be there? So you click on that result. What you are expecting to happen is that the page will load up with some info on the car, a few images of the interior and exterior along with a price. But instead it takes 30 seconds for the page to load. You’re on a 16mb DSL line with nothing else happening so you know it isn’t your machine.
That can only mean that the page load time on the site you are accessing is ridiculously high. Now, if you are the owner of that site, you just lost a sale as the average user will only wait around for 15 minutes maximum before bashing that back button and going somewhere else. How gutting is that if you have spent money making sure you’re in position one? Luckily for you, the guys at BlueHat Marketing have put together this very quick guide looking at how to reduce page load times.
Images are one of the main culprits behind slow page load times. In the modern era of fiber based broadband, you might assume that a better quality image can come at the price of a slightly larger file size which, while slowing the page load right down, will allow a better user experience owing to the high quality of the image. This is not recommended, however, as not everywhere has fiber and not everywhere is likely to have fiber in the next ten years. So for the mean time, keep your file size small and use one of the better file types for displaying a good quality image at a reduced size such as jpg or PNG. JPG and PNG files can be optimized for web pages in a tool like Photoshop and even MS Paint can be useful in this scenario.
There’s no doubt that video is slowly killing the textual star, to paraphrase one Freddie Mercury. Video is taking over as the de facto presentation medium as people are more engaged by audio visual content. Before you go running off to grab your digicam however, it’s worth noting that there are video formats that were developed solely for the web. The most commonly utilized format is MP4 with H.264 + AAC encoding. This will happily play in the standard HTML5 player, will also load in the now almost antiquated Flash player and doesn’t slow down a page like a WMV video or equivalent would.