Having a hotel website
is essential for attracting guests and allowing them to book conveniently.
Without it your target audience won't even know your business exists and your cost of acquisition will be high.
Although the overall aesthetic is important, it’s not all about how your website looks. Site speed can sometimes be overlooked when a business draws up plans for a new website.
According to research, 53% of visitors leave a site, not to return if it takes more than 3-seconds for the page to load.
There is little point in spending thousands on design
to attract guests if their first experience of your site is an irritating wait or an unresponsive page.
Browsers won't wait 5-10 seconds for the page to load, instead they are likely to exit and visit your competitor's website.
Early in 2020, Google announced it was making changes to its algorithm so that page speed will be added as one of the ranking signals.
In 2021, Google doubled down with the introduction of Core Web Vitals (CWVs).
The new CWVs consist of a list of technical SEO metrics including three new ways to think about and measure page speed.
Google's main priority is to provide your audience with the best content along with a great (fast) experience.
The higher the speed, the higher the conversion.
Let’s take a look at some of the main factors which affect site speed and how they can be optimised.
Server response time
This is the time it takes your site to begin to respond to the page request.
There are many factors that will dictate how quickly your server responds but some of the most critical are:
- Hardware resources available to your application (include hosting infrastructure): This refers to everything from the server's processor speed to its network connection. It's important that your host gets this right.
- Server site caching: Using a site cache will provide greatly increased performance. Instead of having to query your database or external web services for data every time a page is requested, the cache temporarily holds page data so that content can be quickly loaded again as required.
- Database optimization: There are many ways of optimizing your database for fast reads. By doing so, you speed up the loading time for your site as a whole not just the page the browser currently displays. An experienced database administrator can go much deeper into the optimization process but there are often some quick wins which can deliver huge gains.
Your web browser is a software application which also has a cache. As this application searches, identifies and shows us the websites your browser cache will save information, data, and images.
You can leverage browser caching by configuring your server to attach an expiry date to each resource (image page, stylesheet, etc).
The next time the browser requires it, it will check the local cache to see if the resource is within date. If so, it uses the local copy and there is no need to pull data from the server.
Avoid large image sizes
Over time more content will be added to your site. This will inevitably include photos and images which may not have been sized correctly.
These large files can use enormous amounts of bandwidth and often lead to an undesirable lag in page load speed, especially on mobile devices.
Resizing and optimizing images appropriately can reduce the image file size, and therefore loading times, by as much as 95% without any observable loss in quality.
There are many easy-to-use tools available for download online that will compress, resize, and optimize your images.
Avoid render blocking
When your web page begins to load it may display the header, then pause before loading the rest of the page.
This pause may be due to an issue called render blocking of the scripts. The site is having to load style and theme instructions before it can display the content.
The key takeaway here is that to the user it looks like your site has stopped loading. The more blocking scripts you have, the worse things look.
Good coding practice and techniques such as deferring script loading until the above-the-fold content has been displayed can minimize any delays.
As with any of the issues described in this article the key is to be aware of speed issues which on their own may not be a problem but when compounded can cause severe problems which will lead to higher bounce rates, less conversions and lower rankings from Google.
It is one of the reasons why working with a specialist agency such as Aró is so important. Every detail matters when there is a need for speed.