Time waits for no man, least of all your average online marketer. The way in which content is consumed nowadays is almost as much about promptness as it is the quality. Users have developed lofty expectations over recent years when it comes to load times and Page Speed, as do the likes of Google, which means delivery of your online marketing efforts needs to be quicker, smoother, and more readily accessible than ever.
In other words, people are accustomed to getting what they’re looking for online straight away. For us marketers, that is why it’s vitally important we ensure our landing pages are – quite aptly – up to speed in this department.
Why Landing Page Speed is Important
Landing pages in particular are created for the purpose of giving users precisely what they want, as quickly and efficiently as possible, and Page Speed is a critical component to this. With so much emphasis on design and keyword optimization, landing page speed is often overlooked, but is equally important to the success of any marketing campaign – PPC or otherwise. Here’s why:
Perhaps the greatest aspect of any effective landing page is the overall user experience, and Page Speed plays a crucial part of this. If you’ve ever abandoned a webpage because of sluggish load times or constant lag, you can be sure that your users are doing exactly the same thing. In fact, you’d better count on it – that way you can avoid making the same mistake with your own digital output.
When it comes to landing page delivery, the best user experiences are those which remain consistent: transitioning seamlessly from your ad to your landing page, to wherever the user needs to click-through to next, without compromising the strength of your message/sales pitch along the way. Any interruptions to this process – such as poor load times between pages, elements struggling to load on the page, or general lag – is extremely jarring and can result in the user losing sight of what it was you wanted to communicate. The stronger your message remains throughout, the likelier your users will resonate with it, thereby improving your chances of conversion.
Furthermore, people don’t want to be left waiting around for content. Engaging your users and securing their interest as soon as they arrive at your landing page is fraught with enough challenges already, asking them to ‘bear with’ while your page loads properly is not going to help matters.
AdWords Quality Score
Many marketers are unaware of this, but Page Speed can actually impact your AdWords Quality Score – in more ways than one:
- Faster loading pages are more likely to yield a better click-through rate (see user experience, above) which consequently improves your quality score.
- Google takes Page Speed into careful consideration when it comes to assessing your Quality Score, as they believe it to be a key component of the landing page experience.
Regardless of whether the impact is a direct or indirect result of Page Speed, improving your AdWords Quality Score is always a good idea. This is what lowers the cost of keyword bidding, which means you can spend more efficiently on paid traffic and other areas of advertisement, thereby maximizing positive ROI.
How to Improve Your Page Speed
First things first, you’ll want to check current landing page speed. You can find this by inserting your page URL at Google Developer PageSpeed Insights.
Image: Landing Page URL placed into Google Developers’ PageSpeed Insights.
Keep Your Landing Pages Trim
Generally speaking, there is no ideal “weight” for a typical landing page, but this is the first thing you’ll want to bare in mind when shooting for a decent Page Speed. While it’s recommended that mobile landing pages (more about those later) weigh-in at a lean 20KB for the smoothest performance possible on portable browsing devices, traditional landing pages can tip the proverbial scales anywhere around the 5MB mark. It really depends on what elements you are filling your landing page with and how you choose to implement them. Just remember that the heavier your landing page weighs, the more it will suffer when it comes to Page Speed. Here are a few things you should try:
- The easiest thing to do when speeding up your landing page is to remove unnecessary content and elements. These could be images, text, videos or widgets (3rd party widgets such as Facebook Like Buttons can often slow down your page if not fully optimized).
- Optimize your images by Saving Them For Web in Photoshop. Keep in mind that PNG files often load quicker than JPEGs. Or if you don’t have Photoshop, you can always optimize images using Yahoo Smush-It.
Image: Image in Photoshop being Saved For Web as a PNG file.
Use Mobile Landing Pages for Mobile Users
This is something that you really should be doing anyway. The reason being, mobile web use has risen dramatically over the years, and more users than ever are currently accessing online content via their tablets and mobile phones. It’s a prodigious demographic.
Unfortunately, supporting cellular connections are slower and the devices themselves limited to what they can actually run on such smaller screens. Traditional landing pages intended for desktops don’t fare so well on tablets and mobiles, often failing to load properly, for example, and certainly don’t cater to mobile user behaviours – people who want to access content quickly on the go.
Mobile landing pages are are much lighter in comparison. Content is stripped to account for limited screen space and as a result, runs quicker and smoother on portable devices.
Overall, landing page speed is a critical factor in the success of your online marketing efforts. While Page Speed isn’t a significant contributor to rankings, it will certainly influence Google when assessing your Quality Score, and contribute vastly towards your conversion rate. Remember that for every second you shave off your load time, the more likely your users will stick with your landing page – with a clearer understanding of your memorandum in mind.
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