Improving the Speed of Your Radio Station Website

In this episode, we’re talking about ways to make your radio station website faster and how speed can impact visitors and revenue.

Countless research papers and benchmarks prove that optimizing your website speed is one of the most affordable and highest ROI providing investments you can make in your radio station website.

Why Speed is Important

Lightning-fast page load speed amplifies visitor engagement and retention. Every second delay in page load decreases customer satisfaction by 16 percent, page views by 11 percent and conversion rates by 7 percent according to a recent Aberdeen Group research study. It’s also important to note that Google now uses website speed as a ranking factor.

What is Page Speed?

Page speed is the length of time it takes a web page to be downloaded from the hosting server and displayed onto the requesting web browser. Page load time is the duration between clicking the link and displaying the entire content from the web page.

How Slow is Too Slow?

Most studies show that 1 in 4 visitors would abandon the website if it takes more than 4 seconds to load. 46 percent of users don’t revisit poorly performing websites. Website owners have a mere 5 seconds to engage visitors before they consider leaving. 74 percent of users accessing the mobile site would leave if it takes longer than 5 seconds to load. Strangely, visitors would rather spend excessive time browsing for information on a fast-loading website full of irrelevant information than waiting a few seconds for the right website to load.

Images make up for more than 60% of data loaded on web pages. So, image optimization is extremely important and perhaps the lowest hanging fruit, if you are looking to speed up your website.

Resize Your Images

This is a must-have. Resize your images to exactly what is required on your website before uploading it to your page or post.

– You have a 2000x1000px image for a news article.
– Incorrect resizing of images is likely the biggest area of optimization required on most websites. Unfortunately, most content authors tend to overlook it because Facebook optimizes and throws out.

There are many image editing programs available. One popular example, of course, is Adobe Photoshop. However, if you’re just starting out a free program may be a better choice. Here are a few that are free to use: pixlr.com/editor.

Optimize Your Images

The next step in speeding up your image-heavy website is to choose the right format and quality for every image on your website. (audio: think compression)

JPG, PNG, and GIF are the most common image formats being used and are each suited for different use cases. There is another relatively new image format called WebP that combines the best of these image formats, is 30% smaller in size and is supported on all modern browsers. Given the huge performance benefits, you should deliver your images in WebP format wherever possible. On the other browsers, you can continue to deliver the original image format.

Avoid Image Hotlinking

Image hotlinking, also known as “inline linking” is the act of linking to an image on another person’s website, instead of loading the image on your own server. On the surface, this seems like an act that will save you server space and a lot of bandwidth, especially if you have a high-traffic site, but it can actually make your website really slow if the website that hosts the image you hotlinked is experiencing a downtime or is slow.

(Another reason to NOT use RSS)

Minimize Your Ads

Tempting as it may seem, selling too much real estate on your radio station website drastically degrades its performance. Too many ads or slow loading ads will drive bounce rates and many of those visitors will never return.

External ad services like Google Adsense mean that you’re calling an external source to supply the ad. The more calls you have, the more you wait and the higher the load is on your own server.

The main takeaway is to optimize your images as much as possible so that they load as fast as they can. And look into WEBP format.

Use Caching

When you visit a website there are certain elements that are stored in the cache, which acts as temporary storage. This means that the next time the user visits the site there will be less time spent rendering all of the on-page elements. This helps to shave time off your website’s loading speed.
– Server caching – on the server
– Site caching – on the visiting computer
– Browser caching – within the browser

That’s all for this week.

Jim Sherwood serves as the chief creative, brand strategist, lead developer, meticulous project manager, and station collaborator for all Skyrocket Radio sites and projects. Jim is a 30+ year radio veteran with a resume spanning several small, medium, and large markets including roles as Digital Content Manager, Program Director, Production Manager, and Morning Show Host.