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How Google says to improve the mobile loading time of CTVISIT.COM

How Google says to improve the mobile loading time of CTVISIT.COM
13 December 2017 (Edited 27 September 2022)

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.

And if you have questions or comments, you can easily send them to me with the Quick Reply form, below, or send me an e-mail.

David Boggs    - David
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