Some things are better in slow motion: A water balloon bursting… a horse galloping… that face a dog makes when it realises it didn’t catch the frisbee…
But not your website. If you want high reader engagement and impressive conversion rates, your website needs to be fast. If your site takes longer than ten seconds to load, customers will be clicking away faster than you can say “bounce rate.”
And it’s not just reader engagement that suffers when you have a slow website. If your website doesn’t load quickly enough, customers may not even be able to find you.
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Why does web server speed matter?
You might have heard about SEO (Search Engine Optimization). If used correctly, you can get more interested readers to visit your website.
Having a slow website hurts your SEO ranking.
Whenever anyone types anything into a search engine, the search engine riffles through the websites that seem relevant. Then, it ranks these sites in order of relevance and presents them on a search results page. The more relevant the search engine thinks your website is, the higher on the results page your website will appear. Since most people don’t search beyond the first six results or so, the aim is to rank number one. Rank as high in the ranking – and on the results page – as you can possibly get it.
But relevance isn’t the only thing that affects reader engagement.
Page load speed can also influence how much time a visitor is likely to spend on your website. Because of the sheer volume of websites that currently exist, most people don’t open just one site when they perform a search; they usually open a bunch of them in different tabs. So, if your website takes a while to load, they’ll just click out of it and open one of the other ten tabs they’ve clicked on. Developers know this. That’s why page load speed is also part of the algorithm that helps the search engine figure out where to rank your website on the search results page.
And even if people do find your website, you don’t want them getting annoyed by how slowly your homepage is loading. Because then, they’ll probably end up clicking out of your website before they can really get a chance to look around.
Which means they won’t get to know your brand or your product, and they certainly won’t click any of your affiliate links.
Can a web server impact page load speed?
As it turns out, the answer is yes. If you have a slow server, you could do everything else you’re supposed to do to increase page load speed: You could optimize all your images (JPEG, not PNG); cache your most frequently used data; code so beautifully it makes angels weep…
And the minutes would still tick by while your webpage loads.
Why is website server speed so important to page load speed?
Your website server stores everything that comes together to make up your website – your carefully chosen images, witty sales copy, and funny videos – and makes them available when they’re requested (for example, when a reader clicks on a web page).
If the server takes too long to send data to the reader who tries to open your web page, your page load speed will slow to a crawl.
Website server speed isn’t just one of the important factors that affect page load speed – it’s the most important factor.
How to get a fast web server
Ideally, a web hosting service provider manages a web server.
To get the fastest web server, it goes without saying that you need the best hosting service. The best hosting service providers – the ones that give you the fastest server hosting – aren’t necessarily going to be the biggest companies.
So, look around. Make sure this hosting service really will give you the fastest server hosting money can buy.
Here are some things to consider.
1. The CPU your hosting company employs
What’s their CPU like? Is it powerful, like an Intel Xeon CPU, or did they skimp on their processor so they could pour all their resources into marketing? Underpowered processors mean stressfully slow page load speed and less visitor engagement for your website. A powerful processor means the server can execute requests (like opening a web page) more quickly.
2. How secure is your data?
Does your web hosting service provider back up your website, so your data is always securely hosted on their servers?
The best hosting service providers will make sure your data is secure and easily retrieved. Look out for this. Backing up your data is a pretty simple gesture. A web hosting service provider who doesn’t offer this service probably won’t care very much whether your website loads in three seconds or in three days.
3. Too many websites on a server?
Also, make sure they aren’t hosting too many websites on one server. This is another thing that can strain a server and slow down your website.
Speed is especially important when it comes to business servers. So, be extra vigilant about making sure you get a fast server if you’re trying to use your site to make money.
4. Consider an upgrade and get more resources!
If you’re really serious about page load speed (and you should be, in this age where everybody and their grandmother is an expert in SEO), you might even want to look into getting a Virtual Private Server. Because even if you choose a great hosting company, hosting packages will still vary. If you share a server with other people, you might cut costs, but end up having a slower website than you would if you chose a virtual dedicated server, which might lose you money down the line.
You worked hard on your website.
You must have, or you wouldn’t care so much about how quickly it loads. Do you know how many people don’t even think about that?
They’ve never tested their website by pretending to be a customer using it for the first time or stared anxiously at their own loading screen wondering if nineteen seconds was too long. But you aren’t satisfied with “good enough.”
You need your website to be fast, because your readers need your website to be fast. And, after all the hours, sweat, and – let’s admit it – tears you put in, it would be a real pity if you lost even one reader because of something as small as a buffering icon.