It’s ironic that one of the reasons we stress over the time it takes for our websites to load is that we think that we have to please the mighty Google** and yet so many of Google’s extras that we think that we must have on our websites are the very things that slow our website down.
Are you using Google Fonts, Google Analytics and Google Adsense ads on your website?
Why are you using Google Fonts? Sure, they’re different, they may look more pleasing to your eye but do they actually do anything positive in the eyes of your site’s visitors?
Does the reader get the message that you’re trying to convey faster because you’re using a Google Font? Do Google fonts make your visitors more likely to buy the product that you’re selling or take some other positive action that you want them to take?
Do your site visitors even care that you’re using some font they rarely see on the Web or are they leaving because your site is slow to load and they can’t be bothered sticking around till something does show up on their screen.
The standard boring old fonts that have been around for years load fast simply because they are already found on everyone’s computer.
Your visitors’ web browsers don’t have to make extra calls for fonts that are already available on the computer but extra calls have to be made for Google Fonts and, in a system where milliseconds count, the last thing you need to be doing is increasing the time it takes for your website to load.
There was a time when Stuart and I were hardcore stats junkies. We poured over our stats every day because we believed that understanding how people were reaching our websites, interacting with our websites and what routes they were taking to leave our websites was vitally important to the success of our business.
But guess what? Now we know that we, and thousands of other people just like us, were sold a crock of the brown stuff when we were told that we had to know our stats if we wanted to succeed … and just knowing the basic stats wasn’t enough … we had to know every minute detail if we truly wanted to succeed.
Of course, it was easy to know all that information that was so vital to our success … it was all there in Google Analytics and all we had to do was add a snippet of code to our websites and we too could be in statistical heaven.
But do you really need all that information? Have you had a look at the way your website loads when Google Analytics is installed and just what a drag those few lines of code can actually put on the loading speed of your website?
Did you know that if you use cPanel with your web hosting there is a free analytics program that adds absolutely nothing to the loading time of your website but still provides a lot of important information?
It’s called AWStats and, because it runs on your server, there are no extra calls made to Google as your website loads … calls that add to the loading time of your website.
Sure, AWStats may not tell you what your website visitors had for breakfast or the last time they combed their eyebrows but it does give you the important information that you need and it doesn’t drown you in irrelevant stuff.
And it doesn’t slow your website down.
That’s what many experienced online marketers called Google Adsense years ago but, to be fair, many Webmasters have made some reasonable money from it … and many more have made almost nothing from it.
If you are running Adsense on your website have you bothered to take the time to look at how it impacts on the loading speed of your website?
If you haven’t then I suggest that it’s time you did and the easiest way to do that is to go to gtmetrix.net and run a test on any page on your site that has Adsense on it and print off the report. Pay particular attention to what is known as the ‘Waterfall” because it will give you a visual indication of how long each part of that page takes to load.
Then remove the Adsense from the page and run the test again … the results may come as a real surprise.
Stuart was running two graphic Adsense ads on one of his websites until he looked closely at the results of one of those speed tests.
A repeat of the test the next day again showed that Adsense was dramatically adding to the loading time for the page on his site and that was enough for him … it only took a couple of minutes to ditch Adsense and the time it took for the page to load decreased dramatically.
Straight text Adsense ads won’t be as big a drag as ads that include graphics but even text ads require calls to be made to Google’s servers … servers that are slower than the servers that deliver search results … and that will have a negative impact on your website.
So, there are three very important things that you need to be looking at and thinking about if you want to reduce the time that it takes for your site to load.
Of course, those suggestions fly in the face of what most “experts” recommend but then we rarely agree with “most experts” … we prefer to rely on our years of experience.
** Oh yes, there was this little note from further up the page. Google has been talking about the time it takes for a website to load and they are getting to the point where they want to see a web page load in under 2 seconds.
That is a scary number and, to make it worse, a lot of people have been suggesting that Google is using the loading time as a ranking factor … but that’s not entirely true. Google has said that it is using the loading time as a ranking factor in SOME verticals … but not all.
The main reason you should be focusing on the time it takes for your web pages to load is that the people who visit your website are impatient … they don’t want to be kept waiting.
If your web page doesn’t load fast then your website visitors aren’t going to stick around … after 2 seconds with nothing to see you’ll be bleeding website visitors and that’s the last thing you will want to happen.