If it took you longer to read the headline to this article than it does for your website to load, then you may be in serious trouble, according to Phil Bray.
Websites must not only be aesthetically pleasing but fast in this day and age, Mr Bray said, yet many advisers often neglect to check how their website is performing and overlook things that can easily be fixed, the founder and director of marketing support company The Yardstick Agency, said.
He added: “Think back to the last time you abandoned a webpage because it was taking too long to load. You probably just went back to your search results and visited the next site instead. No big deal, right? Now imagine that the website was yours, and the person visiting it was a potential client you lost before they even reached your homepage.”
A slow website could not only deter potential clients but affect how highly the website is ranked on the Google search engine.
Mr Bray added: “Having a website that is a few hundred milliseconds too slow may seem like the ultimate first world problem, but the smallest of delays can have huge effects. Take Amazon for example.
“They report that for every 100 millisecond increase in load times, their sales decrease by 1 per cent. I dread to think what that equates to, but you get the idea – time being money and all that.”
The first step to improving website speed is determining just how fast it currently is. There are tools for this that also flag the loading time, page size and a detailed breakdown of potential problems.
Another tip is to focus on quality over price when it comes to selecting a website host, Mr Bray said, adding opting for a provider with which consistently high speeds can pay for itself.
Using correctly sized images is the third consideration. Mr Bray said: “They say a picture tells a thousand words, but if it takes a thousand years to load then nobody will stick around to see it. Adding a large image and then scaling it down will increase your loading times, but adding it at the exact size needed will improve efficiency.”
Other optimising tips include minimising excessive code and HTTP requests.
The latter is made for each element of a website. As a large portion of website loading time is spent downloading the separate elements of the page, streamlining the number of them can make a noticeable difference, Mr Bray said.
Enabling browser caching allows repeat visitors to temporarily store elements of a website cache on their hard drive – meaning that they do not need to download all of the parts each time.
Alan Chan, director and chartered financial planner at London based IFS Wealth & Pensions, said: “We strive to keep our website clean with as little clutter as possible. We find that this helps with the loading times. Web surfers are simply going to click on the back button if a website does not load within 10 seconds.”