Mobile Page Speed: Is Your Business Ready?

7th September 2018

It’s no secret that mobile usage has grown exponentially in recent years. You just need to think about how you use your phone personally in your daily life to understand how dominant it has become.

Ubiquitous Wi-Fi access and the development of 3G and 4G networks mean that the internet is accessible to mobile users anywhere and (almost) everywhere.

Businesses of all industries have understood and seized the opportunities that come with it, by becoming as mobile-friendly and mobile-first as possible in terms of their websites.

Related article: Why Is It Important That Your Website Is Mobile-friendly?

An example of a good mobile-responsive website vs an unresponsive mobile website

However, as you may already know, consumer behaviour is always evolving, meaning that consumers have higher expectations than they used to. And you as a business need to be on top of these expectations to stay relevant and dominant in your sector.

Simply just having a mobile-responsive website isn’t enough anymore, you need to make sure that your mobile website is being regularly optimised to suit the needs of the ever-changing consumer behaviours.

And that’s where mobile page speed comes in, but first…

What is Page Speed?

Page speed (not to be confused with site speed) is a measurement of how fast the content of a specific page loads.

It is related to the site speed for the reason that if you have several pages with slow page speeds, it will affect the overall site speed, and consequently affect user experience and conversions.

Page speed can be determined by either the ‘page load time’ of the whole page’s content to display or the ‘time to first byte’ which is how long it takes for your browser to receive the first byte of information.

If you haven’t already optimised your mobile page speed, we’ve covered why it’s important to do so right away.

Why Does Mobile Page Speed Matter?

Mobile page speed is an important aspect when trying to adapt to mobile users.

According to Google, the average time it takes for a mobile landing page to load is 15 seconds. Now another stat to consider is that 53% of mobile site visitors leave a page that takes longer than 3 seconds to load… These two stats coupled together mean that most visitors leave the mobile website they’re visiting before it’s even loaded (in other words, they “bounce”). This is a very high bounce rate that needs addressing, hence why Google is trying to challenge this, and you should too.

Page speed is a ranking factor on Google

Page speed has been considered important for a successful website for a long time. In fact, it has been a ranking factor on Google for desktops since 2009. But for mobile, it has only become a ranking factor only as of July 2018.

What this means is that mobile sites with the slowest landing pages will be affected in Google’s search rankings. The page speed affects the quality score, which in turn affects your overall ranking.

As you may already know, Google continuously updates its algorithm to ensure that the best and most relevant content is available to its search users. By ensuring that you follow Google’s algorithms where possible, you can become more relevant, rank higher, and consequently gain more traffic.

Moreover, Google has mobile-first indexing in place which puts websites with good mobile sites as a priority. Even more of a reason to ensure that your mobile users are being looked after.

User Experience is Improved

Consumer behaviour changes over time, and with the constant advancement of better and faster technology, users have less patience and higher expectations.

In today’s technologically advanced time, everything is fast-paced. Users want to click, scan and scroll content efficiently without it ‘wasting’ their time.

By optimising your mobile site to your users’ needs and wants, you will be providing a better user experience. And mobile page speed is important for user experience and your business as it highly affects bounce rate and conversions.

Lower Bounce Rate

According to Google, as page load time goes from 1 second to 5 seconds, the probability of bounce increases by 90%.

That’s crazy to think how high the bounce rate is from 1-5 seconds when the average mobile page load time is a staggering 15 seconds, as we uncovered earlier.

This clearly shows that page load time highly affects your website’s bounce rate, making it imperative to optimise your mobile page speed to be as fast as possible. Users being able to access your content quickly and efficiently will create a better user experience, hence why they are less likely to bounce.

Improved Conversion Rate

Long load times have also been shown to negatively affect conversions on your website.

This makes sense as we’ve already clarified that a slow mobile page speed increases the bounce rate, which includes users that are genuinely interested in your offerings.

With users being deterred from your website due to slow mobile page speed, they aren’t even getting to the conversion stage.

You shouldn’t be putting obstacles in the way of users who are interested in your offerings, you should be making the process as simple and enjoyable as possible. After all, great user experience leads to conversions.

How to Work on Your Mobile Page Speed

So now that you know why mobile page speed is important for your business and your customers, we have some advice below on how to optimise your mobile page speed.

Check your speed

You first need to know the speed of your mobile landing pages to determine whether they need to be optimised or not.

There are plenty of tools available that allow you to test your mobile page speed, for example, Google’s mobile page speed tool.

Using a mobile page speed tool is far more reliable than trying to test your mobile speed yourself with your own device. The reason being that there may be other factors to consider in your own analysis such as the signal in your area at the time you test it.

The best practice for testing your mobile page speed is by using a few different sources, not just Google’s mobile page speed tool, as this will allow you to get more reliable results. You can, for example, find interesting metrics such as Page load time, Server response time, Page download time etc. in Google Analytics (simply go to Behaviour > Site Speed > Overview, create a new segment, Mobile Traffic or Tablet Traffic for instance, and choose a recent date range).

Tips to Improve Your Mobile Page Speed

  1. Remove or Reduce the size of your Images

Images play a big role in your mobile page speed. They can significantly slow down your mobile page, so being able to remove, reduce and compress images is an important step in improving your mobile page speed.

Firstly, remove any images that add no value to your page, as it’s doing more harm than good. Then, for the images that do add value, optimise them so that they are reduced in size to suit your mobile page.

There are WordPress plugins available that allow you to do this such as Smush, EWWW Image Optimizer, Imsanity and more.

They all have different features, so it’s worth taking a look at what would be most useful for your website, but they all have the same aim – to reduce and compress your images to suit your businesses mobile site, without affecting the quality of the image.

An example of how smush works in compressing images via a website.

2. Consider moving to another server

If you buy hosting space for 1 website, there are likely to be hundreds (or thousands) of other websites hosted on the same server. Sometimes this works fine with businesses, especially when you’re just starting out. But it does also mean that you are limited to space.

The owner of the server will give each website an allowance of space so that each website that is hosted on their server has the same amount of available space for their website.

If your website has a lot of traffic, if you have a lot of photos, videos, or if your website is complex (such as having e-commerce element) you should consider moving to a bigger server.

This allows your website to grow, and with more available space on your chosen server, your mobile page speed and your site speed overall should improve.

3. Update your software

If you use software such as WordPress for your website which hasn’t been updated for a long time, this should be looked into. This may sound like an obvious tip, however, it is still a valuable (and often overlooked) step to take into consideration for speeding up your mobile page speed.

Over time, developers write better, more efficient code, fixing a lot of previous issues and helping to speed up your page and site speed.

4. Minify CSS

CSS (cascading style sheets) are used to describe how elements such as font, colours, spacing for your website and so on will look on screen. CSS files are typically large files with thousands of lines of code.

Although everything on the CSS file is important and has a purpose, it can slow down your website. And there are ways to compress it.

One way is to keep a copy for the developers to work on and have them remove all the unnecessary bits. Whilst this is time-consuming, in the long run, it can really help your page speed.

There are also tools available to minify the files, such as CSSminifier.

Want to Optimise Your Mobile Page Speed?

We hope this article has been helpful and insightful about mobile page speed and the importance of optimising it.

If you are interested in working with a team of digital marketing experts to help you optimise your mobile page speed or your mobile marketing strategy as a whole, contact us via phone or email.

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Mobile Page Speed: Is Your Business Ready? - ACTA 201

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[…] Zara Taylor discusses how tactics such as removing or reducing the size of images, updating software and minifying CSS, can improve the page speed of your Mobile website. […]

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