In today’s Tech News Tuesday episode, we’re going to talk about testing that Google is doing with Chrome to start identifying and labeling slow loading websites.
Links in this episode: Google Chrome to identify and label slow websites
Welcome to the Get Digital Marketing Results podcast where we give you information and actionable tips to grow your organization.
Bob: Hi, I’m Bob Clark.
Donna: And I’m Donna Botti. We’re with Delos Inc and we make the web work for you. In today’s Tech News Tuesday episode, we’re going to talk about testing that Google is doing with Chrome to start identifying and labeling slow loading websites.
Bob: That’s right Donna. Google, when they tend to do something, move the web along behind them, like when they decided in 2018 they were going to start putting “not secure” on sites that were not using https. That’s the little lock icon that shows in your browser.
All the sudden the percentage of sites using https increased dramatically. The majority of websites are now actively use https and it is a search engine ranking factor.
So now Google says they’re going to start experimenting with labeling sites which are slow to load.
Donna: Now they haven’t determined exactly how they’re going to do that yet, but they’re looking at some different options, like a loading page that includes a caution warning and words saying “usually loads slow”.
So why is this important? Well, we are impatient people and Google has found that people click away instead of waiting for a slow website to load. There’s also been studies that show one extra second of loading time causes a 25% decrease in conversions, and that means lost customers. (How 8 Different A/B Testing Tools Affect Site Speed (Original Study)).
So what can you do to make sure that your website doesn’t get this slow loading warning? A lot of it is foundational as to how your website is designed and where it’s hosted. We do a lot of WordPress websites for example, which are very popular. WordPress powers about ⅓ of the web. There are some really speedy WordPress sites and some that are super slow.
The number and quality of the plug-ins you’ve added to the site can have a dramatic impact on speed. There’s a plugin for just about everything you want to do on your website, but resist the temptation to try them all out if you don’t really need them as it can definitely impact your performance.
Bob: The theme you use can also determine performance. Does it have a lot of features you’re not using? Is it well coded and does it conform to the WordPress standards? Different themes have dramatically different performance profiles.
Another baseline factor is your hosting. Are you on a shared server that has eight hundred other websites? It’s all well and good when you see you can host your website for $1.99 a month, but typically you’re not going to get the response time or the performance.
We use hosting specifically tuned for WordPress performance and also make use of CDNs and other caching mechanisms that are making the loading of the site faster.
So a lot of this is baseline setup that once that’s taken care of, you should be good to go.
But, there are other things you can consider with your updates to the site to avoid making individual pages slow.
Donna: And one of the key things here is images. Just because you have that great 500 megapixel super camera, you still have to be aware of file size of the image that you’re putting on your website. If most of your audience is on the phone, they’re not going to see that million pixel resolution anyway.
Images add a lot of value to your content, but make sure you are aware of their size.
WordPress will make several sizes of a picture when you upload it, so don’t always choose the original largest size if that’s not how it’s going to be displayed on the screen when you view it.
Chrome also has added native lazy loading of images if your site takes advantage of it. Lazy loading images means that images that are further down the page are not loaded until they come into view on the page. So if a user doesn’t scroll all the way down, images placed at the bottom of the page won’t even be loaded.
So the bottom line is to pay attention to the speed of your website. We’ll add a link to a couple of speed tests you use to test your site, but remember that getting a perfect speed score may not always be possible, especially if you are loading things like the Facebook pixel and Google Analytics or other tracking code. Your goal is to make the site as fast as possible, while you’re giving your visitors a great experience. (Think with Google – Test My Site)
Bob: That’s it for today’s episode. You can find a link to resources and a transcript of today’s podcast at DelosInc.com/112.
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