Case Study

If you’re going to do one thing this year for your business, make sure it’s this!

Why?

This one change you can easily grow your business. The best part is that after you’ve done it once you’ll get the benefits year after year!

What Are The benefits?

  1. Improved Conversions.
  2. Improved SEO.
  3. Improved Visitor Engagement.

So how do you achieve this? You increase the speed of your website.

And how much more business can you generate? It depends on how well you do it but have a look at what you can expect…

What Does Industry Research Show?

  • Every 1sec faster your site loads results in a 7% increase in your conversion rate.
  • You lose 25% of your traffic if your website takes 4secs to load.

Take a moment to process this. These stats are why we’re so focused on speed at Lab41!

What Does Google Say?

Fast & optimized pages lead to higher visitor engagement, retention, & conversions.

The performance of your website is being measured by Google and one of the things that they LOVE is a fast page load time.

In fact, they asked visitors how many results they should show in the SERPS and the majority of people wanted to see 30 results. Google tried this but found that their traffic dropped by 20% due to the increased load time it took to show 30 results. They quickly abandoned this and reverted back to 10 results, with a faster load time.

If Google thinks website speed is vital, shouldn’t you?

After we increased the website speed on a site we found this to happen.

Ranking Change

You’ll see a nice increase in rankings for various terms. As with all things related to ranking there could be any number of reasons for the increase but it wouldn’t surprise me if Google likes a faster website!

Just How Fast Should Your Website Load?

In a study conducted by Geoff Kenyon way back in 2011, he determined these standards for comparing your website speed against the rest of the Web:

  • if your site loads in 5 seconds it is faster than approximately 25% of the web;
  • if your site loads in 2.9 seconds it is faster than approximately 50% of the web;

The golden question is: how fast should my website load?

In Google’s Site Performance for Webmasters, they state that “2secs is the threshold for e-commerce website acceptability. At Google, we aim for under 0.5secs”

Does your website load like this website that we boosted to increase it’s speed?

Website speed demo

That 535ms is fast! (The blink of an eye is around 400ms, so it’s just slower than a blink of an eye!)

When you click on any link in the website the page loads instantly!

The site visitors are just loving it and so is Google. As an added benefit we’ve seen a nice increase in rankings since we boosted it’s speed.

What About Performance Grade?

This is a metric that the tool uses and we don’t find it to be very accurate which is why we ignore it. At the end of the day, your website’s visitors care about the actual speed of the website not some random performance grade metric.

Note Performance Grade & Load Time?

Website sample before

Improved Load Time By 300% But Lower Performance Grade!

Website sample after nextgen

This is why we ignore the performance grade. It’s unreliable and doesn’t correlate to faster websites.

Improvement: N

How To Check Your Website’s Speed?

  1. Open up Pingdom Speed Tester
  2. Insert your website & choose a server closest to your average customer.
  3. Repeat the test 5 or 6 times.

Is your website speed above or below the recommendation for Google?

If you want more information, please review our article ‘3 Website Performance Tools‘.

How Do You Increase The Speed Of Your Website?

This is a complex field and it’s taken a lot of know-how to achieve.

These are the major factors:

  1. Clean Code
  2. Powerful Server
  3. Optimised Server
  4. Optimised Scripts & Media

Think of it like a computer. Even if you have a powerful computer if you’re running a buggy program it doesn’t matter how powerful your computer is, the buggy program slows everything down. It’s like driving with your handbrake on!

Or if you’ve got a great clean program, if your computer is old and unoptimised it will also be slow. Like driving a car where the engine is only firing on half power!

A server and a website are similar (just a little more complex).

Let’s address each in a little more detail.

#01. Clean Code

We use WordPress (they power 28% of the world’s websites) as a base since they’re very reliable and have amazing features. They’re also a growing platform which means they keep getting better and better. Our clients love it too!

A website is made up of 3 parts:

  1. WordPress Core
  2. Theme (Look & Feel)
  3. Plugins (Expanded Functionality. E.g. Social share features, etc).

Each of these needs tweaking and can give a drastic improvement. Since our sites are already optimised and we have great themes & plugins it’s not that easy to get a boost here. We have 2 types of websites at Lab41, Standard & NextGEN (learn more here). Our Standard websites all load in under 4secs. We’ve recently introduced NextGEN due to the speed increases we’ve found. Remember I said that better code gives you a faster website? Since the theme is a big part of a website an improved theme can give you a good boost!

Let’s look at a few real life examples.

Example #01:

Lab41 Standard Website BEFORE:

Website sample before

AFTER Upgrade To Lab41 NextGEN:

Website sample after nextgen

Improvement: Nearly a 300% speed improvement. A full 2.10secs taken off the load time by just upgrading it to our NextGEN!

Remember that it started with a great speed of 3.16secs! This makes this achievement even more amazing.

Example #02:

Lab41 Standard Website BEFORE:

Website 02 Standard

AFTER Upgrade To Lab41 NextGEN:

Website 2 Nextgen

Improvement: Nearly a 400% speed improvement.

Example #03:

Lab41 Standard Website BEFORE:

Website 3 Standard

AFTER Upgrade To Lab41 NextGEN:

Website 3 NextGEN

Note: This site already started out VERY FAST at a mere 1.04secs!

Improvement: Nearly a 175% speed improvement.

So you can see why we’re so happy with the results of our NextGEN websites. We have 11 other websites that have showed the same but I’m sure you’re tired of seeing speed test results by now. This case study took over 2 weeks to put together.

#02. Server

We offer our clients 2 options, standard and business website hosting. The difference is server power and optimisation. The sites in our sample were already on our business hosting. As you’ve seen they already started with a great load time. Just look at the last example where the site started out with a load time of 1.04secs!

So for our case study we’ve already optimised our server. If you haven’t done this make sure you do it! We’ve tried around 25 different hosting companies before we’ve finally settled on one that’s amazing. Our speed results speak for themselves.

#03. Optimised Scripts & Media

After you’ve made sure you’ve got a good base to start from (good server & clean code), it’s time to optimise each website. For this we use our website performance app.

There are 2 parts to this:

  1. Optimising Scripts
  2. Optimising Media

Optimising Scripts

Each function in a website has a script or section of code that makes it work. If you have a headings with one format and body text with another, that’s a font script for each telling the website what to show where. If you have any social media counters, that’s another script. It’s all run by lots of scripts that each perform a function.

Each script takes time to load. When you combine the many scripts it can have a massive impact on load time. How you load the scripts, the order you load them, all impact load time.

In this image you can see a few of the scripts that load.

Scripts

Optimising scripts is pretty advanced and takes a lot of testing!

Optimising Media

Have you ever been sent a message that has a link to a video and it takes ages to load?

Or watched a video on YouTube and found it buffering?

Or received a photo that takes ‘forever’ to load?

While at other times photos and videos load almost instantly?

Me too! That’s the difference between optimised media and unoptimised media! You see a photo that you print out and turn into a billboard or even a poster needs a lot more quality than one that’s only used on a screen. How much more quality in terms of filesize? It could be anywhere from 1000% to 10 000%!

A photo that’s used on a desktop needs to be higher quality than one that’s only used on a small phone. The same can be said of video.

So what we do is optimise media. It’s a slow painful task but it can make a MASSIVE difference.

So what do the test results look like after optimising scripts & media?

I’ll use the same sites so you can see how we improved them even further.

Example #01:

Website BEFORE Media & Script Optimisation:

Website 1 NextGEN

Website AFTER Website Performance App:

Website 01 After Performance App

Note: This site is already VERY fast to start at 1.05secs so it’s hard to get a big improvement!

Improvement: Almost an EXTRA 200% improvement! It now loads in the blink of an eye!

Example #02:

Website BEFORE Media & Script Optimisation:

Website 2 Nextgen

Website AFTER Website Performance App:

Website 2 After Performance App

Note: This site is already VERY fast to start so it’s hard to get a big improvement!

Improvement: Nearly 25% improvement! That’s amazing when you consider how fast it was to start with! You’ll notice it’s in the top 97% of websites WORLDWIDE for speed now.

Example #03:

Website BEFORE Media & Script Optimisation:

Website 3 NextGEN

Website AFTER Website Performance App:

Website 03 After Performance App

Note: This site is already VERY fast to start so it’s hard to get a big improvement!

Improvement: Nearly 25% improvement! You’ll notice it’s in the top 97% of websites WORLDWIDE for speed now.

As mentioned previously we have many more examples!

With a little bit of hard work you can achieve some great website speed.

Example Site With Full Optimisation

Let’s look at an example with BOTH website performance app activated and a NextGEN site.

BEFORE NextGEN & BEFORE Website Performance App:

Website BEFORE All

AFTER NextGEN & BEFORE Website Performance App:

Website 01 After Performance App

Improvement: Nearly 6X or 600% improvement in website speed!

Note: It was already fast to start with which makes this AMAZING!

How Do I Get Speeds Like These?

With a lot or hard work! It takes time, testing, optimisation, more testing, fixing conflicts, etc.

The Combo We Use Is:

  1. NextGEN Website Theme
  2. Great Website Hosting
  3. Website Performance App

If you’ve got an existing website and would like us to help you optimise it, please reach out to us. Each website is different but we’ve found the combo above works REALLY well.

In Summary

A faster website is a quick win to getting more business!

  • Every 1sec faster your site loads results in a 7% increase in your conversion rate.
  • You lose 25% of your traffic if your website takes 4secs to load.
  • Google state that “2secs is the threshold. At Google, we aim for under 0.5secs”
  • You can test your website speed here.

If you’re still not convinced to sort out your website speed for a quick win, read this article ‘The Importance Of Website Speed. How 1 Second Can Cost $1.6 Billion‘.

You probably won’t save $1.6bn per year, but you will benefit from increased conversions!

If you want a cutting-edge website that’s fast and built to convert have a look at our risk-free website trial.