Google’s Core Vitals update earlier this year emphasized the relationship between website download times and search engine optimization (SEO). Home Builders are notorious for having slow websites. Typically, home builders use a lot of images, have integrations with 3rd party platforms (e.g. IDX feed), and utilize site maps or floor plans. All of these elements weigh down a website’s download times. Page download speeds are not only important for SEO, it’s also essential to providing a superior user experience. But, increasing your website’s speed can be an in-depth project and cost $1,000’s of dollars. According to a study by Strangeloop, for every one-second delay in download times, it decreases sales by 7%, page views by 11%, and causes a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction.
Here are some simple fixes you can make that won’t break the bank:
Optimize Your Images – Selling a new construction home is a visual experience. Potential buyers want to see pictures of previous projects, exteriors, interiors, and the images of the community. Simply put, the more images you have, the longer it will take to load the page. Pictures are composed of pixels. Pixels are small dots or squares with portions of the image on them. Like a jigsaw puzzle. The better the resolution or bigger the image, the more pixels and the slower the download times. But, images can be optimized to speed up your website without losing quality. What does optimizing mean? Simply put, optimizing images is the process of compressing image files to the smallest point without losing quality.
Adding a Content Delivery Network (CDN) – CDN’s are multiple servers set up to respond to requests for information from your website based on geolocations. In other words, CDN’s can send information to your website from a server closer to your physical location. So if you are in Nashville and requesting information from New York, your information will be sent from a server closer to Nashville. This video from Cloudflare provides some further explanation of CDN’s:
RECOMMENDED READING: What is a CDN? How Do CDNs Work?
Removing Live Chat – Live Chat is a fantastic tool for capturing potential customers while they are thinking about your services. It accelerates conversions of visitors from prospects to leads by almost 15%. 75% of people prefer Live Chat over other channels. Unfortunately, Live Chat can slow down your website. In some cases, the decreased download times can be dramatic. Live Chat functions on a website through the addition of a plugin or widget. A plugin or widget is additional software that adds capabilities or enhances existing features. But, these plugins/widgets contain complex code. In most cases, the code will slow down your website.
So if you have Live Chat on your website and you aren’t using it, remove it. If you are pulling in leads, you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons of removing the feature.
Optimizing Video – Video is the easiest way to consume information on a website. Potential customers spend more time on your website and video increases your chances of turning a prospect into a lead. But similar to images, video files are large. Actually, videos are the largest files on a website.
If you have videos on your website, there are options. You can compress, sometimes called optimizing, the video. Also, you can move the videos to YouTube or other video services so the videos don’t “live” on your website and visitors are clicking on a linked video. Or you can move your videos to a CDN.
Website download speeds are becoming more important for SEO and the user experience each year. By making these straightforward adjustments, you will improve your chances of having more visitors to your website and converting them to leads. Any digital marketing agency should be able to perform these upgrades. If you would like to learn more about speeding up your website or receive a free website audit, contact Power Marketing.