How to Improve Mobile Site Speed (and Why You Need To)

Big changes are coming to Google’s search algorithm. Called the Mobile First update, Google will soon rank sites based on their mobile version instead of their desktop version. Mobile optimization is quickly gearing up to be more important than ever before.

If you’re not familiar with this major upcoming change, I recommend checking out A Beginner’s Guide to the Mobile-First Update. This guide details everything a small business owner needs to know about how e-commerce sites will be affected.

While the best way to prepare your site for the Mobile First update is to work with an SEO professional, you’ll still want to know the basics of mobile optimization.

One of the most important aspects of mobile optimization is site speed. Let’s take a look what you need to know about improving the mobile speed of your site:

The Need for Speed

Over 50% of all internet users access the web via a mobile device. And those users want sites to load fast. Almost three-quarters of mobile users say they’ve had issues with a slow-loading site. A little under half of those users say they’ve abandoned a site for failing to load in under three seconds.

Aside from increasing user satisfaction, fast-loading sites are also favored by search engines. Google considers site speed when ranking sites. Optimizing your site will help increase your site’s position in the search results.

How to Optimize Your Mobile Site

So, mobile speed is pretty important. But before you can optimize your site for speed, you need to know where your site currently stands.

Google PageSpeed Insights lets you identify ways to make your pages load faster. You can also see the general mobile-friendliness of your page.

Now let’s look at how a mobile site can be optimized for speed:

Use Images Sparingly (or Compress Them)

Images are one of the biggest causes of site slowdown. As mobile sites continue to grow in popularity, the size of each mobile page has increased as well. Mobile pages today are roughly three times as large as they were just a few years ago.

In many cases, cutting back on images will negatively impact the look of your site. Instead of reducing the number of images, you might want to try compressing those images in order to reduce their size.

Compressed images have two benefits. First, compressed images load quickly. Also, compressed images allow Googlebots and other search spiders to index your site faster. This results in a more accurate and hopefully higher ranking in the search results.

Compressor.io is a tool I’ve used quite a bit, but there are also plenty of other compression tools available. Even if your site is fast, I still recommend compression your existing images.

 

Use Minimal Design Elements

Clear design is especially important on mobile. The small screens on smartphone favor simplicity and clarity.

Along those same lines, you’ll want to include just one call-to-action per page. Make performing an action as easy as possible. A sales funnel really only needs three steps: add the product to a cart, checkout and then pay. Quick sales are both easy for customers while also requiring minimal code.

Keep Coding Simple

First, you’ll want to avoid code bloat. This is when source code slows your site down. The most common cause of code bloat is excess design. While you obviously want your site to look great, you never want to sacrifice speed for appearance. Remember, design trends come and go – but a simple, clear design is timeless.

Avoid Custom Fonts

Custom fonts help your site and brand achieve a distinct look. But they’re often not worth the accompanying site slowdown. Most custom fonts either use CSS or JavaScript, which ends up with a lot of needless and extra code.

Google’s Web Fundamental has a ton of info on the subject of custom fonts. But the quick version is this: avoid custom fonts for the bulk of your site. If you must use a custom font, only use it on headings.

Stay Away from Redirects

Redirects allow you to control site navigation by automatically moving users from one site to another. They’re useful if you maintain a series of domain names which all connect to one brand.

Unfortunately, redirects also slow down loading times. A normal mobile link simply shows the document found on that link. However, a redirect must take an extra step and retrieve every site from somewhere else.

Some redirects are unavoidable. But you want to make sure every redirect you use has a clear purpose.

Speed Isn’t a Luxury

A fast-loading mobile site is a necessity. Sites which are slow to load will have a hard time connecting with an audience. Mobile will only continue to grow in popularity. The clock is ticking on mobile optimization -- don’t let your site fall behind the competition.

Is your site ready for the Mobile First update? Post your questions below or contact me today to set up a free consultation on the speed of your site.

 

 

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