If you’re wondering why your landscaping website needs to be fast, think about what it’s like for you to browse a site that loads slowly. How often do you hang around and wait for it to load? Does a long loading time make you want to do business with that company?
If you answered “not often” to those questions, you’re not alone.
Load time may be the most straightforward yet overlooked SEO factor for your landscaping website.
Every day, more people are using their mobile phones and devices to search for services and the people who can provide those services (here’s the data from Google to back us up). Mobile devices are typically much less powerful and therefore slower than laptops and desktop computers. That makes a fast loading time even more critical for your landscaping website.
Google shows a direct correlation between slow loading times and conversions on a website. Shaving a few seconds off your load times could mean more projects closed, more leads, and ultimately more money. Here’s a handy rule of thumb for seeing what difference load times could make to your business.
Chances are 40-60 percent of your landscaping customers are going to be using their smartphone to look at your website and contact you. That percentage is projected to increase to 83% by 2023. It’s critical that your website loads fast for these people in order for you to have any chance to convert them to a customer. Because if a site loads slowly, they “bounce” (leave your site without interacting with the page).
Test your landscaping website speed using Google’s tool here.
As a side note, you should also have a mobile friendly site because there is no point in having a site that loads in under two seconds on an iPhone, that people can’t read.
So now you can see that it’s important for the growth of your business that your site loads quickly and that overtime there is a direct correlation between people leaving your site without converting to a lead or customer and load speeds. But where do you start?
Start with a good foundation.
The simplest way to ensure your site isn’t burdened with bloat and other loading issues is to start with a good foundation.
The frameworks, images, and other software used for your site should be configured to be as small and fast as possible.
If you choose to work with an agency like Wild Oak Media, ask them about site speed and see what software they are going to be using to build your website. Then do some research on the performance of those builders and software. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
One issue you may find yourself in if you’re building the site yourself is choosing simplicity over performance. Site builders like Divi or WPBakery are easy to use (compared to coding). But you pay for it later because no matter what you do, your website will never load as fast as another website built with Oxygen or Beaver Builder.
So if you’re going to go the DIY route, make sure you’re going with a framework that is simple to use but can also give you fast loading times.
How should I fix my slow landscaping website?
First find out how slow your landscaping site actually is. Use a free tool like GT Metrix or Pingdom to establish a baseline and see what needs improved. You can also see what these tools recommend to improve your site load speeds.
Once you’ve run a few tests you’ll have unbiased data to show you exactly what is wrong and if your site is really slow, or if it just felt slow a few times.
Letter grades on these sites are not concrete and very rarely will you see a site that gets an A or 100%. Instead of getting hung up on letter grades, look at Fully Loaded Time, Page Size, Requests, TTFB (time to first byte), and Contentful Paint.
These are the numbers that tell you how your server is responding, how long it takes for the images and content to load, overall size of your web pages, and how many requests are coming from your site.
Things to look out for:
Large web pages, pages larger than 1-2mb are probably too big and will take longer to load. Landscaping websites are often picture heavy, so it’s very easy to go overboard and hit this soft limit. Think about what images and videos can be removed, resized, or optimized.
Long load times for Total Time to First Byte (TTFB). If your server takes longer than .5 seconds (but should be lower than that) then you need to consider getting a better server. Consider a VPS or Cloud Server. Some good providers are Cloudways, WPEngine, Flywheel, or Siteground. If your server is slow, it doesn’t matter as much what you do to make your site fast. All those efforts will be undercut by a poor foundation.
A lot of requests. You want your requests as low as possible and typically anything over 50 is a sign that your site is sending too many requests. Each of those requests is a task that has to be performed in order for the site to load.
Tools like Asset Manager, Autoptimize, WP Rocket and many others, can help reduce your requests by combining them or offloading them on certain pages. But this can be a more advanced process and done wrong can break your landscaping website.
I would recommend that you first optimize your images for web and make them as small as possible, while still looking crisp and clear. This alone will often shave time off your load times and is just good practice.
If you need more advanced optimizations I would recommend you hire an agency that specializes in website design and optimization.
If you still feel like going the DIY route for optimization, then back everything up first. If you break your website and can’t fix it, you can always go back and start over.
With all this said, if your site isn’t built on a lean framework and is relying on bloated software to run, there is only so much that can be done. So, it’s always good to do a little research on your sites framework to see how much it can be optimized. Rather than spending hours just to find out it can’t go as fast as you need it to.
I hope this has given you some direction and shown just how important it is to have a site that loads fast especially on mobile devices to get more landscaping customers now and into the future.