How to enhance your mobile web pages without slowing them down
If your mobile site is slow, you’re going to lose visitors – more than half of them, according to Google who found that 53 per cent of mobile sites are abandoned if they take longer than three seconds to load.
Speedy load times are critical if you want your mobile site to be popular, but so is publishing cool, visually appealing, interactive content that tends to slow down a web page. Is it possible to have both?
Is your webpage overweight?
The bigger the web page is, the longer it will take to download. Web page size is measured by ‘weight’ and it’s safe to say that the majority of pages have been inching up the scales for some time.
According to httparchive.org, the average webpage in 2010 weighed in at 702kb. In 2016, this number had jumped to 2232kb – that’s a 317 per cent increase over six years.
For content marketers, this is a good trend – it means web pages are getting more interactive and attractive. In terms of load times, however, it’s not ideal.
This is particularly true because in the time web pages have been getting heavier, we’ve also tacked on a number of different devices that can be used to access the web. While a heavier page may load fine on your PC, it could jam up on a smartphone or a tablet.
Understanding the weight of your web page and optimising it accordingly is critical if you want your page to perform across multiple devices, and this isn’t just a developer’s concern.
Web page performance is clearly tied to your marketing metrics, as faster pages enjoy a number of benefits including:
- Ranking priority
- Higher click rates and click-through rates
- Greater conversion rates
- Better ad integration
The question then, is how can we put our web pages on a diet without having to reduce the number of features we use? Here are some tips.
Tip: First things first, adopt AMP
Google is all about improving the speed and user-friendliness of mobile pages. To this end, they’ve backed Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), a series of open-sourced codes any web publisher can use to create pages that load quickly on mobile devices.
Perhaps you’ve noticed AMP yourself. When you search for something using Google on your mobile phone, your results will include a series of headlines or boxes. Sites that have adopted AMP technology will be marked with a small grey lightning bolt icon and the letters AMP.
According to Google, AMP pages:
- Are four times faster than non-AMP pages
- Use ten times less data than non-AMP pages
- Experience higher clickthrough rates, according to 90 per cent of publishers
- Experience higher ad viewability rates, according to 80 per cent of publishers
Page load speed has long been a well-known factor in Google’s not-so-well-known algorithms, and there’s a good chance that AMP may also be added to the mix soon.
Getting started with AMP is an excellent step for advertisers who want to speed up their mobile pages without compromising on high quality content as AMP pages are built with careful attention to clarity and user friendliness.
Tip: Optimise your images
Your viewers want to see large, clear, high quality images that are easy to zoom in on. Unfortunately, this doesn’t go hand-in-hand with fast load times, particularly if your web page features several images (think online stores stacked with product photos).
Many graphics programs, however, such as Adobe Photoshop, will allow you to compress your images by using a ‘Save for web’ option. This shrinks images down so they load quicker without compromising on quality too much.
If you don’t have graphics software, you can still compress your images to an extent using an image quality slider like Kraken Image Optimizer and Tiny PNG. This allows you to play around with images to see how much you can shrink the file size without visibly hurting the quality.
Tip: GZIP your site
GZIP is a form of data compression that can optimise sites for faster access and downloads as well as reduced bandwidth. For publishers who are posting media-rich pages filled with images, videos GZIP is a great tool that can reduce file size up to 70 per cent without hurting quality.
You can see if your site is already GZIPPED by checking here. If not, ask your web host about using GZIP on their servers.