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Need for Speed

Why You Need to Perform Website Speed Optimisation Today

“Bloody Millennials!”, a friend of mine groaned in exasperation as we caught up recently over coffee.

“What about them?” I inquired, interest piqued.

“Attention spans of gnats, and about as much personality. Not to mention flakey as a Phyllo Pastry! They reckon the world owes them a living, but they’re not prepared to work for it!”

Apparently, my mate was having trouble hiring someone to fill a position in his small print business, and it was this particular demographic that was giving him the most grief.

“I hear you, mate. We were looking for a developer a while back and ran into similar issues”, I sympathised.

It’s a Millennial World

Say what you want about Millennials, there can be no denying the fact that they are driving the agenda in so many facets of today’s world. Millennials are cashed up, online, mobile and, yes, have short attention spans. Complain all you like, but if you’re in business, you’re not going to beat them. Your only option is to join them.

What does that mean? That your branding and marketing need to adapt to meet the needs and behaviours of a generation unlike any that we’ve encountered before. Firstly, it means that marketing is moving online faster than anyone could have predicted. Well, almost anyone. Visionaries such as Gary Vaynerchuk saw this coming years ago, and predict that within a few short years, the $80B TV commercial industry will effectively be dead, replaced by online advertising. Secondly, it means that to grab the attention of history’s most fickle and chronically distracted consumer, you need to deliver your message fast. Let me run you through a couple of sobering statistics:

  • You have no more than 2.6 seconds for your website to grab a consumer’s attention.
  • 47% of users expect that a website will take no more than 2 seconds to load.
  • 39% of users will immediately stop interacting with a site if they reckon it’s taking too long to load. Just like that, gone.
  • Slow loading websites cost online businesses over $2.6B per year, and that number is growing at a staggering rate.

Hopefully, I have your attention now, even if you are a millennial!

It gets better, though. The great oracle of our time, Google, recently rolled out an algorithm update that gives preference in search rankings to websites with fast loading speeds on mobile devices.

Race You to the Top

Think about that for a second. Do you see what’s happening here? This is not just another announcement. This is arguably the latest and greatest symptom of an accelerating shift in online marketing, particularly the world of SEO. Once upon a time, SEO meant a race to the bottom with spammy websites stuffed to the brim with as many keywords as you could possibly shoehorn in and tens of thousands of crappy, meaningless backlinks with no purpose or value. It got you ranking, but when users arrived on your site, they turned up their noses at the garbage that they found and went elsewhere.

This latest announcement of Google’s is the latest in an accelerating trend to ensure that they serve up the most relevant, engaging and useful search results by prioritising websites that give the consumer what they want and need, rather than those that employ dodgy tactics to game the system.

This is what has got us so excited about SEO recently. What has traditionally been a bit of a dirty word has now turned into a drive towards delivering a fabulous experience for end-users. As a creative branding and design agency, this aligns perfectly with our fundamental ethos.

Pulling a Swifty

Which brings us to the all-important question: what can you do to ensure your gorgeous website is fast enough to grab users’ attention and hang on to it? The truth is, website speed optimisation usually involves addressing a few main categories:

  • Compress images – heavy images take time and resources to render. Reducing image size while preserving quality can make a significant difference to how quickly a page loads
  • Clean up the use of Java, CSS and HTML scripts – just like a book, the fewer words, the quicker it is to read. Minifying and in-lining and combining code wherever possible will allow a page to render with higher speed.
  • Enable browser caching – this allows the browser to store a static copy of your assets for a specified length of time so that they load much faster on a return visit.
  • Server speed – no matter how fast your site loads, of the hosting server on which it sits, is slow, you page speed will suffer.
  • Reduce redirects – these create additional HTTP requests that take time and resources away from rendering your content.
  • Fix broken links – any bad URL on your site will trigger a 404/410 error that will slow the train down.
  • Utilise a CDN – this ensures that content is saved on multiple servers in different locations so that content can be delivered as efficiently as possible from the closest and most direct source.

There are, of course, many more technical aspects of your site that can be optimised to eke out greater loading speed. However, most websites will fly if these big-ticket items are looked after.

The Time for Website Speed Optimisation is NOW!

If that all sounds a little bit complicated for you, then perhaps it’s time to give Jalapeno Creative a call. Every website that we create hits the internet running faster than Usain Bolt after his third double espresso for the morning. If you’re looking to turbo boost your existing site, you might be surprised at how affordable a Website Speed Optimisation package can be. Given the undeniable importance that the speed of your site makes to organic search results, it’s an absolute no-brainer to recognise that website speed optimisation is pound-for-pound the best value investment you can make in your digital presence today.

The Millennials have already pretty much taken over. They’re going to be running the world one day, so we may as well get on board with that fact and give them what they want. After all, they’re expecting us to anyway!

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