Some 80% of top travel sites take more than three seconds to load on desktop, longer than most users are willing to wait, according to a new study.
Radware, the group that carried out the research, noted how the findings made for alarming reading considering that the travel industry claims 75% of its bookings through online customers.
Separate studies suggest that 3 seconds is how long most web users are prepared to wait before they abandon a website.
With that in mind, Kissmetrics says that "for every second you shave off of load time, you'll tend to boost customer confidence and trust in your site".
What's clear is that speed matters when it comes to your travel website. TripAdvisor is well aware of this having notched a great score for its time to interact (TTI) – the load time needed before users can take action on the page – in Radware's study.
Use Pingdom's website speed test or a similar tool to decipher your site's load time. If it comes back that your site takes longer than the recommended three seconds to load, panic not. There are ways and means to make your website sharper which might not be as difficult you imagined. Here are three easy ways to help reduce your website's page loading speed for starters:
1. Optimise your images
We did say suggest that speeding up your website doesn't involve any dark arts. Simply ensuring your images are scaled appropriately will go some way to achieving the three-second objective.
As well as appropriately scaling your images, you should also look to compress them – just make sure they don't undergo a serious drop in quality in the process.
We have Zara4 integrated with our technology, which does the compressing for you, making your website much quicker and your images appear instantly.
2. Enable browser caching
Browser caching involves temporarily storing some data on your visitors' computers as a means to speed up their experience when they revisit your website.
You have a couple of options if you wish to enable browser caching: look to do it yourself, or pay a person who is technically minded to do it for you.
3. Compress your entire website
Compressing your website has the same effect as if you were to compress your images – it dramatically reduces your page's size and thereby increase its speed.
Compression can knock off 50-70% from your HTML and CSS files, according to varvy, saving your visitors from having to download a whole load of data.
Implementation depends on your webserver and its settings, so it might be worth having somebody with the right technical expertise take the lead, unless you're suitably equipped, of course.
If not, can we nominate ourselves? Visit Digital Trip.