No, it’s not a new fad, not something to follow Atkins or the South Beach Diet. This is a diet for your website. If your visitors are experiencing long wait times in order to view any of the content on your site, then your web pages may be in need of a little weight loss. In fact, most sites out there today could benefit from a little trimming of the fat.
There are many estimates out there about the amount of time a website has to grab a visitor’s attention before they decide to go elsewhere. The average seems to be about four to five seconds, which isn’t a lot of time. If your plastic surgery website is still loading after four minutes, then you’re likely losing a lot of potential patients.
While good design is an important element of any website, it’s important that fast loading times not be sacrificed in the process. Though internet connections may be getting faster, there are still a lot of people out there with slower connections. Further, as connections get faster, people expect even quicker loading times.
If you find that you’re losing visitors before your pages have a chance to load, there are several things that you can do. Determine where the excess lies and what can be removed, such as lengthy video clips, unnecessarily bulky images, and background music. You don’t want to overdo it and wind up with lengthy pages of nothing but text. Remember, you need a good balance between design and fast loading times. It’s best to spread your media throughout your site. Of course, the exception to this is your gallery page of before and after patient photos, but even this can be slimmed down by using thumbnail images with links to larger ones. Even if these pages are slow to load, a message that says something to the effect of ‘Images Loading, Please Wait’ can go along way to soothe your visitors. Without any such message, a visitor may worry that there is something wrong with your site, the particular page, or even their computer. Lots of images and very large images can be particularly troublesome. Cut out some of the images or reduce their size. The image’s format is also important, with .jpg and .gif images loading quicker than .bmp images.