Site Speed – Does It Matter?

| 6 December 2013

Website speed

It’s well known that page load speed is a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm, albeit probably quite a small factor.  Nevertheless, it does count, but how much time do we need to spend in trying to make our website pages load faster?

The idea behind this post came from my friend David who’s a wedding photographer in Malaga.  David takes absolutely stunning images and he obviously wants to show them off to visitors to his website.  In his field images are everything.  His business is all about creating stunning looking photos and his website needs to reflect his skills and creativity.

David create blog posts for weddings that he photographs and uploads several large photos to each post.  It makes each post load quite slowly as the images are quite big, and it makes the main blog page painfully slow to load.

I understand why David is averse to posting smaller images to his blog posts but it’s not just frustrating for users, search engines may also be “concerned” about the amount of time the pages take to load.

It’s important to consider mobile users with pages like these too.  People with limited data plans could find that loading heavy pages consumes a lot of their data allowance.  On mobiles the pages may take even longer to load.

My recommendation with pages like these is to use nicely laid out thumbnails which when clicked display the larger images which can then be cycled through in a lightbox type set up.

It’s not about being fussy and spending ages trying to speed up page load.  The important thing is to always try and make pages load as quickly as possible for users.  Web surfers are a lazy bunch and most don’t want to be sitting around waiting for a page or loads of images to load.

Make the simple fixes that make a big difference and don’t get too tied up in wasting time trying to make pages load a millisecond quicker.  Just make them fast enough to stop users clicking the back button on their browsers.

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