Without a doubt, website owners in 2020 have had to reassess the speed of their websites and probably more critically than any other year. Yes, the stay at home directive in force around the world due to COVID-19 concerns made a lot of people gravitate more towards the use of the internet.
During the lockdown, people from all over the world tended to spend a tremendous amount of time visiting various websites for both business and entertainment. During this period the flaw in loading speed of many sites were exposed for the whole world to see while those sites with impressive loading speeds were huge beneficiaries of the inevitable increase in traffic and conversions experienced by a good chunk of websites.
So in providing a quick answer to the question of how fast should a website load? A website should load very quickly. However, having a website that loads quickly is never easy and requires a good number of tweaks to achieve a fast website load time.
So how fast should a Website Load in 2020?
In 2020, a webpage on your website should load within 3 seconds (or less). No joke, this loading time is regarded as normal and it is even the standard webpage loading time recommended by search engine giant - Google.
As a matter of fact, Google now penalizes websites with a slow loading time and only those websites with a fast loading time that meets the recommended loading time of 3 seconds or better will get high SEO rankings.
When a webpage loads, say the landing page, the time it takes to completely load will be determined by the different elements that make up the webpage. These elements could include; text content, images, audio-visual/video content, adverts, online enquiry forms and so on.
The time it takes for each element to open will be dependent on the size of the element in question. For example, audio-visual/video content would normally take a longer time to load compared to text content which would most likely load at a much quicker pace. The overall loading time of a webpage is therefore a combination of the time that it will take to completely load all the elements that make up that webpage.
Why is Website Loading Speed Important?
As already stated, if you are looking for a high SEO ranking on search engines like Google, then having a fast website loading speed is absolutely crucial. Secondly, visitors to your website are an impatient bunch.
The attention span of a typical visitor is quite low and no matter how beautifully designed your website is, if it does not have a fast loading time, then very few visitors (probably your relatives and friends) would be patient with the site. Websites with fast loading speed attract higher traffic and a much better conversion rate.
To evaluate the loading time of your website, you can use a number of tools, but one effective free to use tool that you can try out today is PageSpeed Insights by Google.
Ways to Enhance your Website Loading Time
Consider changing your Web Hosting Option: If your website is being hosted by an average, low quality and cheap hosting provider, you are more than likely to experience a pretty slow loading time. In the world of web hosting cheap means slow and problematic. So, if you want to improve the loading time of your website, you may want to change your web hosting provider, one that is not cheap (although affordable) and offers a more dynamic hosting solution. By just changing your web hosting service provider, you can massively improve your website loading time.
Optimize website Images: If you intend loading high definition images on your website, then you better be ready to pay a high premium. However, you can actually optimize your website images for a faster loading time by converting your images to a PNG or JPEG format and reducing their overall size. The higher the size of your website image, the longer it will take to load on your webpage.
Limit Webpage Redirects: Try as much as possible to limit web page redirects on your website. This is because each time that a webpage redirects visitor to another webpage it takes up a good amount of loading time due to the new HTTP request. Instead of using redirects, let visitors go straight to the webpage that they want to go to.
Limit Video Content: As already mentioned, the video content you have on your website is an additional element that adds to the overall loading time of your website. You should only include video content that is absolutely necessary and even at that make sure the video is optimized for better loading time speed.
In addition to the ways of enhancing your website loading time highlighted above, you can also improve the loading time by limiting the type and number of ads on your site.
Apart from being annoying to visitors, online ads are also elements on your website that can greatly slow the loading time of your webpages. While ads are a good source of revenue, you really need to weigh up the benefits of having several ads running on your site in relation with the overall loading time. The goal is to strike a delicate balance between your site loading time and the type as well as number of ads on your website. You are good to go if the ads do not compromise the loading time of your website.