Google first publicized site speed as a ranking factor back in 2010. Almost a decade later, in 2019, Google has evolved to apply the same standard to mobile websites which now account for the majority of internet usage. It’s no secret that attention spans have decreased while expectations for speed have increased and internet users aren’t going to wait around for a site to load. Site speed optimization offers the following benefits:
- Search Optimization: Google prioritizes websites that appeal to user needs (like fast loading times)
- User Engagement: Keeping user’s engaged increases conversion rates and contributes to SEO
- Website Performance: Engaged user’s improve performance metrics like bounce rate and time on page
Google prioritizes its users first and foremost and HVAC companies should do the same. In today’s mobile first digital landscape UX accounts for mobile experience primarily. Google has provided free tools to highlight the urgency of mobile speed. With their Speed Scorecard, and Impact Calculator, web developers can gauge the mobile usability of their website, and evaluate how much money it is making or losing their company.
How Fast Should My HVAC Website Be?
Research shows that users won’t wait more than 3 seconds for a web page to load, and the number is only likely to shorten with each passing month. The collective attention span of consumers is shorter than it’s ever been before. Being aware of this fact motivates HVAC contractors to capture their consumer’s attention quickly and urgently. One way to help is by speeding up your website. If you find that your mobile site, or even your desktop site, is slower than it should be, consider some of the following steps for improvement:
- Hosting: The slowness of your page might be originating with the company that hosts your website
- Image Formats: If your website images are not JPG compressed, they could be causing slow loading times
- Plugins: Too many plugins installed on your website dashboard can slow down the overall speed
Google launched its Accelerated Mobile Pages initiative as an additional way to increase mobile speed. These pages are constructed using a stripped down form of HTML which is more conducive to quick loading times. As a contractor in the heating and cooling industry it’s important to remember your purpose for being online. The object of your website is to secure leads from relevant consumers. The best way to do that is to market content efficiently and present it to interested users as quickly as possible.
When Do I Need a New Website?
If your website is particularly slow especially on mobile, designing a brand new one could be the best option. Perhaps your hosting plan is cheap and promotes slow loading or perhaps your HTML elements are obtrusive and bog down page speed. The first step to determining the health of a website is diagnosing its issues. If you do need a new site go for one that is customized to avoid repeating the same problems in 2019.
Many elements can impact site speed so the design itself will not be the only factor. We mentioned hosing which is indeed important and so is your content management system (CMS). If you’re using WordPress, make sure you don’t install too many 3rd party plugins. While plugins can be helpful in enhancing your website without a need for code changes it can also bog down loading time. Custom WordPress sites require less plugins because the code is tailored for your needs.