How to Improve Your Page Load Time

For marketers looking to get more out of their websites, especially on mobile devices, page load time is often-overlooked factor that you should focus in on going into 2016.

Mobile web traffic is fast becoming the majority in the US. In some industries, it already is.

So we already know that mobile web design is important. We design our websites for the best mobile experience. And that means decreasing the amount of time needed for each page on your site to load.

Make Your Pages Lighter

Heavy pages take longer to load. What makes a page heavy and how can we fix it?

  1. Large image files – remove images or decrease the file size to allow for faster loading
  2. Large or external media files – videos, especially those imbedded from YouTube or some other third-part site should be limited or removed altogether on mobile sites
  3. Third party plug-ins – limit the amount of code you have your site coming from other sites or tools. In order for your page to load, it has to call each of those other sites. A common example of a third party plug-in that site owners will be familiar with is Google Analytics
  4. No caching – setting the cache on pages that are not regularly updated allows the browser to load what it has already loaded, bringing the page up much quicker
  5. Inefficient code – the best web developers do more with less when it comes to the actual code. By simplifying the code, you make your page much lighter.

Remember that what works on desktops and laptops does not always work on mobile. You want to be careful to choose an approach to your mobile site that decreases load time in order to improve usability.

What We Mean by “Mobile First”

You may be hearing a lot of people in the marketing world these days making use of the phrase, “mobile first”. We’re guilty of using it right here in a set of recent blog posts:

Mobile First Email Design & Mobile First Web Design

But what do we mean when we say “mobile first”?

We mean developing something first for mobile devices, and then making sure it also suits your needs on desktops and laptops, and not the other way around.

Sounds simple enough, right? But for most people this does not come naturally. Whole generations of people grew up in an age when the mobile web did not exist, or was still just coming of age. So when we are designing something for the web, we think of desktops. We automatically “see” the online world through a big monitor-shaped window.

But the mobile web is here. It’s growing rapidly. For many people, it’s the primary way they access the web. For many companies, it makes up more than 50% of total site traffic.

So in a mobile-first world, we need mobile-first design. When your designer begins to mock up a new page, or form, or tool, or ad for the web, they should do it on a phone-sized template. Design it for a phone, then adapt it for larger screens. It’s the only way to change how you think about your consumers and the way they are actually using the web.

And that’s necessary in order to create online experiences that really resonate with today’s audiences and consumers.

If You Only Do One Thing – Part 2

Welcome to the latest installment of our new weekly blog series, If You Only Do One Thing. Every Monday, we will discuss one thing that you can start doing today to improve your marketing performance.

With so much advice floating around from so many different sources, it can be tough for marketers and small business owners to know where to focus. This series aims to help you out. Last week’s thing was Collect Your Customers’ Email Addresses.

Today’s Thing = Create a Mobile Website

If you are using Google Analytics, take a look at what percentage of your traffic is currently coming from mobile devices. If you’re not sure how to do this, when you log into your GA account, under the Audience heading, click on Mobile, then Overview. Choose and representative time period, at least the last 30 days, and there you have it.

You can see total visitors broken down by Desktop, Mobile, and Tablet. Why does that matter?

Well, if you’re like most companies, the percentage of traffic coming from tablets and smartphones is on the rise. For some, it’s now more than half of all traffic. And unless you’ve invested time and money to create a mobile site, or use a responsive design on your website, you might not be capitalizing on all that mobile traffic.

By creating a mobile website, you can customize the user experience for someone visiting on a mobile device. Usually this means some level of simplification, determining what mobile visitors are most often looking for, and eliminating the fluff. Since the screen is much smaller on a mobile device, you will want to get rid of extra text, use buttons, have a click to call option rather than a long form, and generally make site navigation less complex.

When you do this, you will see that more of your mobile visitors stay on your site longer, and get what they need. If you have an ecommerce site, you should see sales increase. If you’re in lead generation, you can increase your conversion rate and lower your cost per lead.

There are entire companies that exist to help you create a mobile website. Take a look around and find a designer or design firm in your area that has experience building mobile sites and get an estimate. It will be an investment sure to pay off in the future, given how rapidly we are moving to a mobile-dominant world.

Share “If You Only Do One Thing” with all your marketing friends, and suggest future topics in the comments below or on Twitter @zheller. 

Little Things 18 – Go Mobile

Welcome to this week’s edition of “Little Things”, a weekly blog series covering the small changes that you can make to improve marketing performance.

Last week’s topic was free trials.

This week’s tip:

Offer a Mobile Website

Mobile marketing has made some fantastic strides over the past year.

We’ve seen traffic from smartphones and tablets begin to climb at even faster rates in the past few months. And business owners and marketers must realize that this traffic cannot be ignored. It’s a trend that’s likely to continue, and unless you take the necessary actions to cater to this audience, you risk losing potential customers to your competitors who already are.

The first step is an easy one, create a mobile optimized website. This makes for easy viewing and browsing on mobile devices, meaning you won’t be turning away web visitors just because your site is too difficult to browse on a mobile device.

  1. Visit your website on a smartphone and a tablet to see how it looks. Does it load correctly? Does it size appropriately or do you have to continually zoom in and out?
  2. Try browsing a few pages. Is it simple enough to do it? Will people not already familiar with your brand think so?
  3. If there is any question in your mind about the usability of the site, it needs work.
  4. Visit, Google’s free tool to help you start the process of creating a mobile website.
  5. Spend the money to create an easy to use, often shrunken down version of your site for mobile visitors.
  6. Make sure key pages, such as forms or landing pages, are also optimized so that any search traffic or ad clickthroughs that you get can take the necessary next steps.