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One second is no amount of time at all, right? Just say the word one and you’ve burned through most if not all of a second. Yet when it comes to affiliate marketing, online sales, and anything else on the web, a single second is a big deal. If your website is slow to load, it could be costing you visitors and conversions.
In fact, a one second delay could reduce your page views by 11 percent, and more importantly, result in a 7 percent drop in conversions. The metrics get worse as time goes on. Most people expect a website to load in no more than two seconds. 40 percent of web users report clicking away from a website after just 3 seconds.
Just imagine if you’re paying for those clicks but people simply click away. Many affiliate marketers rely on ads through Google, Facebook, Outbrain, and more. Those clicks rarely come cheap. And if you’re paying for your audience and they leave your website before you even get to pitch them, you’re just throwing good money after bad.
Slow website speeds can also affect organic traffic. According to Google, the page load “threshold” for ecommerce sites is just 2 seconds. This is the bare minimum and Google is far more ambitious, aiming for half a second or less. Owing to this, it’s possible that a slow loading website will affect your search engine rankings. For affiliate marketers, poor search engine rankings result in a smaller audience.
No matter which angle you look at it, every millisecond your website spends loading, you risk losing viewers, and most importantly, conversions. Having a slick, fast, and responsive website isn’t just a luxury, it’s vital for every ecommerce business and website.
That’s why we're going to go over 5 tips on how to speed up your website.
1. Slim Down Your Website
So you should try to slim down your website. See if there is an extraneous code or unnecessary elements on your website. Say you have a comment section, but no one uses it. Perhaps it’s best to simply cut the comment section then? Also pay attention to plugins, deleting some of them may also speed up your website.
2. Get the right host
Your website host can have a huge impact on your speed load time. Budget hosts and shared hosting plans can quickly be slowed down by traffic, with the servers becoming overwhelmed, and struggling to process requests. As a result, website speeds can slow dramatically.
By selecting a premium host, you may be able to increase your page load time even without changing your website. Virtual private servers, for example, offer more bandwidth and dedicated resources. This can ensure fast, consistent performance.
In fact, Elegant Themes conducted a test, comparing shared plans and virtual private servers to measure page load times with servers located in the US. They found that users in New York saw an 82 percent decrease in load time, while users in San Jose saw a 17% percent decrease when accessing the VPS hosted site.
When they put websites under stress with full loads, they found that the VPS did even better. This is important because ecommerce websites can quickly be overwhelmed viral social media posts and the like. Having a site that performs well under pressure will ensure that users are able to consistently access your website.
3. Host Local
Elegant Themes uncovered another interesting (but unsurprising) bit of data in their tests. The location of the hosts and users trying to access a website makes a big difference. Users accessing the website hosted on the shared plan had to wait 2.57 seconds in New York and 1.83 seconds in San Jose. Users from Melbourne? 3.73 seconds! Why? Because the server was located in the U.S.
The same was true for users access the website on the virtual private server. Users in New York and San Jose were able to load the website in about 1.5 seconds, while users in Melbourne had to wait 2.13 seconds.
Ecommerce websites should thus use hosts that are near to their audience as possible. Say your company is incorporated in India, but sells a lot of goods in the United States. In that case, you could set up a VPS in North America. Having servers closer to the user will naturally speed up the website for them as less hops are required.
Struggling to register a VPS in a foreign country due to local laws and regulations? Fortunately, there are ways around that. Services like Bitlaunch make it easy to register VPS’s in many countries using cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin.
4. Check Your Media
Media, including images and video, often eat up a lot of bandwidth. Ten years ago, many web pages were only 1 mb or less. Now, large websites might require 10 mb or more, with much of the demand being generated by media. These bigger sites take longer to load. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to reduce how much bandwidth media is taking up.
First, pay close attention to images. While it might be tempting to use a huge 4k high resolution image, doing so could slow your website down. Instead, pick a smaller, lower resolution image. You can even use compression software to shrink images and other bits of data. Further, you can specify image dimensions. By doing so, browsers will be able to create a placeholder while the image downloads.
Also, while videos are proving to be very effective for affiliate marketing, you should consider disabling autoplay. Make sure you give customers the option to select resolutions and set the default resolution to standard rather than HD as well.
5. Use a Content Delivery Network
A Content Delivery Network, or CDN, is another great option for media rich websites. With a CDN, your website it cached in a number of global servers. Once a browser makes a request, the CDN will automatically route the data through the nearest server.
One of the most popular CDN’s is Cloudflare, but there are several competitors out there as well. A good CDN will be able to deliver lower latency (the delay in sending information), meaning sites will download faster. In fact, one study found that using a CDN increased speeds by as much as 51 percent.
Remember, Page Load is About Conversions Not Convenience!
There are various other steps you can take to speed your website up. However, by selecting a better hosting, using a CDN, trimming your website and optimizing media, you’ll be off to a great start.
Just keep in mind that you’re not optimizing your website for convenience but instead conversions. A fast, clean, and easy-to-use website is not a luxury for affiliate marketers these days, but instead a requirement.