How long do you wait for a website to load before you navigate away or hit the back button? If you’re like most users, you direct your attention and browser elsewhere after only five seconds. Speed is important regardless of the user’s mode of access; however, searches on mobile devices overtook desktop years ago, and understanding how to make your law firm website load faster on mobile—and any device—bears great weight in your law firm’s digital marketing strategy.
Why It’s Important to Make Your Law Firm Website Load Faster
A slow website can negate many of the benefits of otherwise solid digital marketing efforts. The impacts of slow website performance on user experience and search engine optimization (SEO) are just too great to ignore, even if the task of fixing website load time issues seems intimidating.
Diagnosing Slow Loading Web Pages
The first step in identifying and correcting slow website performance is to run a speed test on your site and its pages. This task can be performed through several paid or free websites and applications such as Pingdom.
Speed test websites and applications can identify potential causes for websites loading slowly and offer solutions for resolving website load time issues. Once you have learned that there may be issues with your law firm’s website running slowly, it’s important to take action before damage is done both to SEO opportunities and your brand.
Why Do Websites Take So Long to Load?
Understanding what causes websites to load slowly is the next step in addressing website load time issues. Once you know the underlying problems that create slow website performance, you can move forward with appropriate solutions or hire someone who can help.
Here are just a few of the potential problems that can cause website load time issues:
- Image file sizes are too large or images are too numerous.
- Video file sizes are too large and take too long to load.
- The overall size of the website or page is too large.
- Unnecessary plug-ins are delaying load time.
- The website is not responsive, or mobile-friendly.
- The website’s data is stored on a server too far from the user attempting to load the page.
- The website is hosted on a shared server that is overburdened.
This is only a sampling of potential issues that cause slow website performance. The solutions to these problems and others range from quick and relatively simple to lengthy and quite complex.
Why Website Load Time Issues Need to Be Addressed
Google, the most popular search engine in the world, has made it known that speed is one of the many factors taken into account when ranking websites and web pages for relevance. A website running slowly will, in effect, lose points in the race to rank higher on the search engine results page (SERP).
User frustration is also a problem for a website with load time issues. As mentioned above, users just don’t stick around and wait for a page to load. There are far too many options for content available to spend time waiting for one site. It’s bad enough that potential clients are leaving your site without seeing what you have to offer—and with a negative feeling about your brand—but there are also further implications related to SEO that result from this user activity.
When a visitor to your website leaves quickly or doesn’t visit additional pages, this affects your site’s session duration and bounce rate. These metrics tell search engines how helpful your content was to users searching for specific information.
So, in addition to the SEO damage that occurs up front due to slow website performance, your site’s track record can accumulate additional dings when your website doesn’t load quickly.
How Do I Fix Slow Loading Web Pages? Solutions for Website Load Time Issues
After you have tested your website’s load speed and identified factors that may be contributing to slow website performance, the next step is to implement solutions to the problems causing your website load time issues.
Simplify, Simplify, Simplify
Simplifying your website is one of the easiest and most highly recommended solutions for improving load times. Every element that is added to a website can make or break load speed. When designing your website or changing your design, take time to consider whether each page element adds value or just bulk.
Image, video, file, and general page size can each be a major factor in a website running slowly. Learning about file types and data compression can help you prevent and troubleshoot these issues. Images and code can often be compressed and minified, and unnecessary items can be removed to free space and make your site more manageable.
Custom fonts are another potential space-taker and should generally be used only for headings if at all. You can also seek out and remove any unused or unnecessary plug-ins or other features. Accomplishing the task with code is often the better solution.
A website that is not mobile-friendly is going to have an increasingly difficult time competing as mobile usage continues to grow. If your site is not mobile responsive, consider a new theme or a redesign that will make it easier and quicker to access via mobile device.
How to Make Your Law Firm Website Load Faster: A Checklist
Identifying the specific causes for website load time issues is critical to addressing these problems. However, here are some general tips for how to make your law firm website load faster:
- Adjust the size of or combine images;
- Compress content;
- Enable caching;
- Eliminate unnecessary redirects;
- Review and eliminate unnecessary or redundant plugins;
- Use a content delivery network (CDN) to place content closer to users; and
- Evaluate and reconsider your web hosting service or package.
How to Make Your Law Firm Website Load Faster: Where to Get Help
Abundant resources, articles, and videos on the Internet attempt to explain what causes websites to load slowly and offer advice on how to make your website load faster. However, it is easy to find yourself in over your head if you lack experience in coding and web design. Sometimes, the question “how do I fix slow loading web pages?” is best left to be answered by those who specialize in the field.
The SEO experts at TOPDOG Legal Marketing know how to diagnose and fix slow law firm website problems so you can get back to the practice of law. Call us at (844) HEY-T-DOG (439-8364) or complete our online contact form to learn more about how we can help.