No matter how great your website is, if it’s slow to load, you’re going to lose traffic. Website load time has a significant impact on a site’s success; possibly most significantly, it’s tied directly to bounce rate.
If customers have to wait even two seconds, the average bounce rate sits at 9%. Raise that wait time to five seconds? The rate of customers abandoning the page jumps to 38%.
That means that slow sites can see more than a third of site visitors leave before even getting past the homepage, seeking out faster sites to meet their requirements. For eCommerce businesses, that translates to a direct loss of sales. With this in mind, improving site speed should be a high priority for any developer.
With every additional millisecond saved, you increase the chances of your site ranking more highly on search engines, picking up new customers and ensuring higher rates of return traffic.
Why is site speed important?
There are a number of reasons that site speed is a crucial factor in the performance of your website. Along with reduced bounce rates, site speed can also have an impact on your SEO performance; Google and other search engines use on-page signals (how users interact with your website) as a factor in determining how well your site should rank for relevant search terms (That’s because search engines prioritise webpages they see readers returning to – and spending their time on – as this implies they’ve found the answers they need there).
If your site loads quickly and performs well, users are more likely to spend more time on it, bounce less often, and engage with more content on your site. These positive signals can work in your favour when it comes to rankings and – as a result – traffic. If you can get your sites up-to-speed, you’ll see more traffic, better conversion rates, and a much higher level of customer satisfaction. Which means more return visits, more sales, higher SERP rankings, and more potential sales or conversions.
Given site speed is so key to the success of your managed sites, we’re sharing the tips and tricks you need to improve it and increase the performance of your sites across the board.
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How to improve your WordPress sites’ speed
A good load time benchmark is under two seconds. That’s how long it typically takes before the lag becomes noticeable, and you’ll start to lose traffic.
There are several things that can affect the load time of a WordPress site. Page size, bad or out of date plugins and the WordPress cache configuration are some of the biggest offenders – but don’t worry. Simply taking some of the following steps will soon have your WordPress sites loading faster:
1 Install the latest PHP versions
PHP is a popular, open-source scripting language used for web development. It undergoes regular updates to address bug issues and improve performance – including addressing file run speed.
As the majority of WordPress plugins support newer versions of PHP, you’ll be increasing their functionality with each update – which can shave valuable time from your load rate, and increase your overall site speed.
Ensuring that you keep on top of PHP updates is equally important for site security, as patches will address security vulnerabilities and strengthen your overall site safety.
On the Nimbus platform, actioning the latest PHP updates is incredibly simple: just select the latest version of PHP from a dropdown list and we will do the rest.
2 Enable full-page caching
Sites run more slowly when they have to request the content from the server each time someone visits the page. By enabling full-page caching, fully-generated pages can be read directly from the cache, which means you can cut down the time taken to communicate with the server.
This takes pressure from your resources which, in turn, means that content can be served up much more quickly, holding users’ attention better and boosting sales and loyalty.
Enabling full-page caching couldn’t be simpler with our exclusive NimCache tool. It’s just a simple flick of a toggle straight from your website dashboard. It works by saving snapshots of all your pages so they don’t need to be requested from your server each time someone visits. That immediately reduces load time and gives every user a speedier experience.
(You can activate this feature on a Neon package or above, along with a host of other benefits geared towards streamlining site performance.)
3 Use WordPress Tools
The customisation available with WordPress means that you’ll often end up running several themes, plugins, and versions across your site portfolio. If any of them are out-of-date it can slow your sites – but keeping ahead of all those various updates can easily get complicated.
That’s why we developed WordPress Tools. It allows you to manage your versions, themes and plugins all in one server view – and we’ll flag it whenever updates become available, ready for you to update everything (or just whichever elements you like), in just one click. It can do more, too. WordPress Tools makes managing themes super straightforward. Find, test, activate, maintain, update and deactivate the selections of themes you use on your server, anytime you like, from one server-level view.
Plus, combine the plugins and themes you love into a WordPress Recipe that you can apply en masse whenever you need it. So it won’t just speed up your sites, but your entire process too.
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How to improve your Magento sites’ speed
Ecommerce sites are in tough competition within a crowded market, so site speed matters hugely to their success. The highest eCommerce conversion rates occur on pages with load times between 0-2 seconds.
Just as is the case with WordPress, regularly updating your Magento sites and ensuring that you’re running the latest versions can help to make sure that site speed is optimised. But there are a few other things you can do to ensure that you’re not missing out on any chances to shave some seconds from your Magento load times. We recommend these two tips to help keep your eCommerce sites moving quickly:
1 Use Varnish Cache
Varnish Cache is a caching HTTP reverse proxy. In summary, that means that it works as an accelerator, storing a copy of each webpage the first time a customer visits your site so it can serve it up faster the next time that they visit.
Specifically designed for use with Magento sites, Varnish Cache is impressively scalable. It’s able to keep up with the demand of high traffic sites, so you can rely on it during sales, and peak times like Black Friday or Christmas. Plus, it caches content to everyone, even if your server is down temporarily.
Overall this gives you faster loading speeds for smoother shopping experiences, quicker conversions, and more returning business. It’s also super easy to enable from within the Nimbus platform. With the flip of a toggle, customers on our Oxygen (or above) packages can activate the feature on their Magento 2.4 sites – and start seeing the benefits.
2 Use Elasticsearch
Elasticsearch is a RESTful search and analytics engine that provides powerful search functionality throughout your eCommerce sites. It allows customers to easily navigate your product database by storing data to influence your site’s search bar performance.
With rapid and advanced searches throughout your Magento sites that put the right products in front of customers, no matter how complex or vague their search terms, you can more quickly serve up the results they’re searching for – which means they’re more likely to complete their purchases. And if you’re an Oxygen (or above) customer with Nimbus, this feature is applied automatically to Magento 2.4 sites, so you don’t even have to lift a finger.
Improved site speed is within reach
With every additional millisecond saved, you increase the chances of your site ranking more highly on search engines, picking up new customers and ensuring higher rates of return traffic. And while making these small changes can make a huge difference, it’s also incredibly important to make sure your sites are set up for success with web hosting that can handle busy periods.
The right web hosting partner will be able to manage your traffic spikes, to keep you from suffering any downtime, and empower you to easily make effective changes throughout your portfolio. At Nimbus, we’re proud of the ways our intuitive platform supports agencies and freelancers get the best results for their clients’ sites. From improved speed to stronger security – there’s a lot we can do for you.