Why Website Speed Matters for Mobile Users

You know that you need a fast site for visitors, but some website owners forget that much of their traffic is from mobile devices and smartphones. DoubleClick estimates that the average mobile site takes 19 seconds to load on a 3G connection. While a 3G connection might seem antiquated and unused today, it’s estimated that 2.1 million people still have a dialup AOL account. The numbers show that many users still have slow connections, especially people in rural areas.

When you live in a large city, it’s easy to forget that many people don’t have access to fast Internet connections, so 3G connections and even Wi-Fi users could still have issues loading your site on their mobile devices. You need a way to speed up your site for these viewers who could potentially make up a large portion of your readership.

To put it into perspective, Amazon estimates that a one-second delay could cost them $1.6 billion in sales.  Some other takeaways from the DoubleClick survey include advantages of having a fast site that loads within 5 seconds on mobile:

  • 25% increase ad viewability
  • 70% longer user sessions
  • 35% reduced bounce rate

There is no doubt that you should support mobile users, but how do you increase speed? Here are just a few ways that you can improve your site performance.

Switch to Responsive Designs

“Responsive” is the term given to sites that server different content based on the screen resolution. Your site detects mobile user connections and provides a responsive layout with lower resolution images, a layout that fits into a smaller screen, reduces assets loaded on the screen, and content that makes it easier to read on slower connections.

You could also create a subdomain and redirect users to your customized mobile site. This type of solution is usually less popular, because you must keep up two sites. However, this is an option should you find your site too difficult to make responsive using CSS.

Add a CDN

No matter what type of site you host, a CDN has several advantages that improve site performance. They have data centers across the globe that serve content from a faster, closer, cached connection.

CDNs have a few more benefits besides performance. It’s great for delivering large files for software that’s regularly patched such as games. It also caches your site content, which speeds up performance even though your original site might be slow. Should your site fail, it can use this cached version to deliver content while you work to restore your server.

Use Caching or a Caching Plugin with WordPress

Caching your site is done with a CDN, but you can also cache content on your own server. For WordPress site owners, this can be done using caching plugins. If you want to customize caching, developers have several caching functions that they can call from the WordPress API.

Whether you use a caching plugin or server settings, the goal is to deliver content faster by keeping it available in memory. WordPress programmers can cache large data sets so that your site doesn’t need to re-query the database for data. There are numerous ways caching can speed up your site, especially with static content that doesn’t change and doesn’t require a full round of queries on the database.

With a CDN, caching and responsive design, you can speed up your site and cut your load times in half. Speeding up your site for mobile users will attract more viewers to your site and ultimately build sales by offering a way for these users to purchase product and read your content.

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