5 Minute Read

Performance Budgets: How to Optimize Your Site Speed

We can’t improve what we can’t measure, right? Website performance, being a relatively new player to the business game, is often overlooked as a key piece to measure. Yes, we look at traditional KPIs like conversions, organic traffic numbers, unique visitors, most viewed pages, but we are missing a key component of site performance. Site speed is the subtle differentiator between a good site and a great site.

Struggling with a slow website? Check out these tips to speed it up: Click To Tweet


Why This is Important

A page loading in 3 seconds versus 4 can mean the difference between a revenue-producing shopping cart conversion versus an abandonment. Site speed can have a bigger effect than just ‘a minor user annoyance.’ From conversions to SEO rankings, site speed has a major play in performance:

  • A 1-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions
  • 51% of online shoppers in the US say that site slowness is the top reason they’d abandon a purchase.
  • With people spending more time on the site, along with bigger and repositioned ad units, the interaction rate on ads rose 108%.
  • People will visit a Web site less often if it is slower than a close competitor by more than 250 milliseconds.
  • Amazon researchers found that a page load slowdown of just one second could cost it $1.6 billion in sales each year.
  • When Google using its algorithm to rank pages, site speed is a factor. Slow page speed could mean that search engines crawl fewer pages, meaning lower index rank.
A 1-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. #WebDev Click To Tweet


How to Talk About It

Thinking about page performance in terms we can all understand is the first step in acknowledging the problem. Framing the issue using words like budget gives us a tangible way to talk about performance. Keeping our pages on budget can be a daunting task. Sites today are heavy, bulky and loaded with content. Using tools and treatments, we can reduce our page weights and increase our overall site performance.


What We Can Do About It

First, we can test. Using free tools like Chrome page speed insights and http://webpagetest.org, we can determine the page weight and site speed of any url, and what is slowing it down. Good key of reference? Pages should not exceed the budget of 300mg. A Yahoo report found that over 80% of load time is used for downloading things like images, CSS stylesheets, scripts and so forth.
Images: Images are usually our biggest problem. They carry the most page weight of anything else on the page. Using compression to minimize our jpgs can reduce file sizes and speeds. Vox designer and An Event Apart speaker Yesenia Perez-Cruz @yeseniaa shows us the performance effect images can have.

performance budgets

What to do about it? Compress. If using wordpress, optimization plugins like WP Smush plugin will automatically reduce the size of the images files in the library.

Fonts: Loading 6 sans-serif and 4 serif webfonts just to create that ‘unique typography look’ is having more negative effects than positive. Reducing the number and types of fonts used on a webpage can stay on-brand while still staying within the font budget.

—-Added Bonus? Hack your way around a certain font look with a better performing font weight with this guide: 7 Alternatives to Popular Web Typefaces for Better Performance


Does this Ring a Bell?

Web performance in the day where 100% of a company can exist online is not being talked about enough. Users are not going to wait around for sites to load when they could already be accomplishing their goal on a competitor site. Don’t believe me? Take a look at this infographic from SingleHop.


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