The vast majority of businesses have a web presence. Sometimes the purpose is e-commerce, sometimes to generate inquiries, and sometimes, merely for the purpose of product, service or brand promotion. If any of your prospective or current customers, clients, followers or fans are finding by means of search engines (and many of them are, in increasing numbers), you will be judged, without any chance of appeal or explanation, within less than one and one half minutes of a person's clicking on your link or hitting the "GO" button once your website or blog address is in his or her browser.
This crucial bit of business information actually came from an article written for another one of my blogs, but it has become applicable to virtually every business. Your landing page, opening page, or home page is going to be either your door to glory, or the road to ruin. Read why, and what you can do to make this work in your favor.
There are a number of reasons to be very interested in accelerating your blog or website's load speed. Faster Download Time has become increasingly important in a multi-tasking, overworked and increasingly impatient world.
Firstly, you should constantly have user (i.e., prospective site visitor) experience in mind when optimizing your website. A fast, full-screen download, especially for the home page of your site, is crucial to capture and keep a prospective visitor's attention.
If your site is very slow to appear (leaving the prospective visitor to look at a blank screen and to wonder whether his or her browser or internet connection is working properly), or is slow to fully download (it comes down in disjointed pieces, with entire graphics, or other dazzling effects to fill in boxes which remain blank or empty for quite some time), it is likely that your prospect will go back to the search engine results (or to wherever he or she received your url from) and look at the next site following or before yours on the list. In either way, you will have reduced your SEO prominence and lost a possible friend, member, follower, or customer.
Secondly, search engine rating algorithms give some credence, i.e., credibility ranking as well as prominence in positioning, to how fast your page loads. Faster is considered to be better.
With this Website Speed Test provided by JAYDE B2B and Directory Listing Services (http://www.jayde.com/) a superb site search engine listing service and resource provider for SEO tools, tips and strategies, you can discover the speed of your site:Douglas E. Castle for Blogging Tips, Tricks And Tools. It is not intended to be complete, nor is it warranted or otherwise guaranteed to produce favorable results for any individuals blog or website. I will say, that some of these have certainly been helpful for me.
1. Minimize the number and placement of high-resolution graphics Use clickable thumbnails instead, if possible) on your home page. Limited the number of any embedded videos to as few as possible, and position the video between the header and the "fold" at the bottom of your page.
2. Use the smallest number of lines of java script or HTML code, and use a code shrinking program if you can to compress these even further.
3. Avoid the use of pop-ups, pop-overs, modals, and especially long iframe forms in the body of your content.
4. Minimize your use of flash effects or remotely hosted buttons or text effects.
5. If you have graphs, charts, PowerPoint displays, slideshows, galleries and the like, just show the first frame, and give the viewer the option as to whether or not to see the presentation.
6. Avoid ambient music playing in the background. In my opinion, you should especially avoid the theme from "Hawaii Five-O" (even though I really like this one myself), heavy metal music in general, and the repetitive theme song from David Bowie's "Under Pressure." They slow download time, can be highly distracting, and can occasionally be offensive enough to the fatigued ears of the viewer that he or she feels that your sight is going to be a pure advertorial nightmare.
7. Break large paragraphs of copy into numbered or bulletized lists -- if further explanations are required, either put them into mouseover balloons, or into mouseover tooltips. Keep them brief, and never, ever, set them up so that the viewer has to click on an "x" or "Close" cue to to make a balloon or tooltip disappear. Everyone HATES this.
8. If a portion of your site will take a longer time to load, or will require some element of scrolling, make a note of it, and apologize in advance to your reader.
9. Avoid excessively large or florid fonts or designs. Elaborate wallpapers and borders are a waste and a distraction. They also can slow your downloading time significantly.
10. Keep your opening or home page as lean and mean as possible -- you can then direct your viewer (once you've captured his or her attention) to see the site in its entirety by using a clear, simple navigation bar under your header. Once you've caught his or her interest, then it's merely a matter of leading him or her around your site to see what you have to offer.
Douglas E. Castle
p.s. The little "click on me" birdie which follows actually slowed the downloading speed of this article (as it appears on the blog) by 6.67%! You might click on it anyway, just to learn from my negative example...
Related (And Occasionally Dated) Articles For Your Further Reference:
- Guest Post: The Great Debate: Are Meta Keywords Worth Your Time? (socialwayne.com)
- 7 Clear-Cut Reasons Why You Cannot Ignore Deep Links Anymore! (directorymaximizer.com)
- When Good Optimising Goes Bad (redguerrillaweb.wordpress.com)
- 20 Free Online Tools for Website Speed Testing (sixrevisions.com)
- Latest Stats Say We're Building a Fatter, Slower Web (webmonkey.com)
- New Web Tool Promises to Double the Speed of Your Website (mashable.com)
- Pingdom: Test the Load Time of Your Website or Blog (123beta.com)
- 12 Step Program For Improving The Load Speed Of Online Stores (searchengineland.com)
- Need for Speed: Google Adds Load Time to Algorithm (hubspot.com)
- How Speedy Are High-Speed Internet Lines? (blogs.wsj.com)
- Whiteboard Friday - 7 Ways to Take Advantage of Google's Site Speed Algorithm (Pop-Up Video Style) (seomoz.org)
- Site Speed For Dummies Part 1 - Why Bother?.. (distilled.co.uk)
- How to Audit Your Website (roundpeg.biz)
- Google Is Focused On Site Speed (searchengineoptimizationjournal.com)
- The Need for Speed: a Webmaster's Reflexion (famousbloggers.net)
Do everything possible to make your home page or first page download as rapidly as possible in order to increase site rankings, SEO prominence and to offer the overworked viewer the quickest aspect to your most important message. This is one of those exceptional cases in marketing where substance actually means more than form.
In dealing with viewers, both human and algorithmic/robotic, it is crucial to first capture their attention before you can deliver your words of wisdom. As my great grandfather once said (this is purely anecdotal, and likely a lie, but is a "politically expedient lie" because it cannot be verified one way or another), "If the letter don't arrive, they ain't gonna read it." - DC