How Google says to improve the mobile loading time of CTVISIT.COM
13 December 2017 (Edited 13 December 2017)

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Source: David|13 December 2017

In a previous post I showed you the results of running Google's Mobile Friendliness Test on the home pages of the websites of the 6 New England state tourist boards.

Google found the Connecticut site to be slowest-loading (16 seconds), with an estimated 33% loss of visitors attributable to the long loading time.

Google offered to provide a full report with suggestions for reducing the site's loading time by about 3 seconds, and we took them up on that.

But stop a moment: a 3-second improvement would lower the loading time from 16 seconds to 13. And per Google, the 30% most mobile-friendly US travel and tourism sites have an average loading time of 5 seconds.

There's plenty of research showing that significant percentages of users will begin to abandon a URL after a 3-second wait. Opinions differ as to how much of the page needs to load within 3 (or X number of) seconds - but 13 seconds to get the page fully loaded is too long.

This page needs a design change.

It has too many images.

However, since every little bit helps, here are some of Google's recommendations:

Reduce page weight by:

  • Compressing images
    • Optimize images using a tool like the ImageMagick convert binary
    • Convert non-animated GIFs to PNGs
    • Use a video format instead of animated GIFs
    • JPEGs:
      • Reduce quality to the lowest acceptable level
      • Reduce chroma sampling to 4:2:0
      • Use progressive format for files >10K bytes
      • Use grayscale for b/w images
  • Enable gzip compression on your Web server
  • Minify static resources using:

Reduce number of server requests by:

  • Leveraging browser caching of data for 1 week to up to 1 year using:
    • the Cache-Control general-header field
    • the ETag HTTP response header
  • Eliminating render-blocking external JavaScript and CSS files in above-the-fold content
    • Put fast scripts with small content inline vs. external
    • Make JavaScript asynchronous
    • Defer loading of JavaScript until after initial rendering of the page
    • Use inline styles in lieu of small external CSS files
    • Don't put large data URLs inline
    • Avoid inlining CSS attributes on HTML elements
  • Avoid landing page redirects

Make a quick first impression by:

  • Loading visible content before CSS and JavaScript files
  • Reducing server response time to under 200ms

Wow! What's the poor Connecticut marketer supposed to do with those recommendations?

I'd say: armed with them, convince whoever has bottom-line responsibility for your organization to put Web developers and marketers in a room to work out together ways to make the website load faster - and thus retain, and sell to, all the prequalified leads your advertising and marketing brought to the site but who left while waiting for the site to load!

PS - No software vendor whose product was cited by Google and then by me in this post has paid me for the mention.

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David Boggs    - David
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