When it comes to digital marketing, there are a lot of metrics to measure and analyze: organic traffic, backlinks, social media engagement, etc. These metrics provide valuable insights into the customer experience and why they are (or aren't) converting.
What isn't discussed as often is page weight. Sure, there's lots of chatter about loading time. However, knowing your page weight can help you make informed decisions for improving your loading time, SEO, and ultimately, your customer conversions.
Here are some practical tips for shedding page weight.
What is Page Weight?
To learn how to reduce page weight, you must first understand what it is. In simplest terms, page weight speaks to the storage and usage size of your page. Back in the 1990s, websites were intentionally kept simple. Not only because the technology was different, but because loading time was a serious consideration. Remember the screech of the modem and how images would load pixel by pixel?
As the technology evolved and connections got faster, websites became more comprehensive. Videos, music, stunning graphics and transitions from page-to-page, you name it. The result? The transfer size kilobytes in use for desktop and mobile usage has increased by 314% and 1107%, respectively, since 2010.
Why Does Page Weight Matter?
The exponential advancement in technology over the last decade has been a double-edged sword. Yes, it's allowed digital marketers to create a content marketing strategy that makes an impact. It's also changed how people access the internet.
Keep in mind, the iPhone has only been around for a decade. Since 2011, mobile internet traffic has increased by 504% and now makes up half of all web traffic. This rapid development has caused a paradigm shift in society, from how we talk to one another to our diminishing attention spans.
While smartphones have evolved since Steve Jobs announced the revolutionary first-generation iPhone, they've presented challenges. Not everyone has the data capabilities to deal with the page weight of some websites while on-the-go. Pair that with a short attention span, and having a weighty page can send your audience straight to your competition.
How to Reduce Page Weight
Over the next few years, you'll see businesses and digital marketers scale back on fluff on their websites. Here are some changes you can make to reduce your page weight.
Optimize Your Images
Having striking, clear imagery is an important aspect of web design. However, compressing them and optimizing the size will make a huge difference in your page weight and loading time. While high-res photos are great for hanging on a billboard, they don't matter as much for your site.
Either manually resize and optimize your images before uploading or use a plug-in to compress them when you add them to your site.
Another consideration for image management is using CSS Sprites. On a typical website, there is a separate request put in for each image to load. When using CSS Sprites, all of your large, beautiful imagery is kept in one file. Fewer server requests means less page weight and quicker loading.
Clean Up Your Code
Experienced digital marketers know that simple is better when it comes to the customer journey. The same should apply to what's going on behind the scenes. If you don't have experience with coding, it's well worth the return on investment to hire a developer to clean things up in the back end.
Remove Archaic Plug-Ins and Widgets
Just because something is no longer in use, doesn't mean that it isn't taking up space and adding to your page weight. Conduct an audit of your plug-ins and widgets. If something isn't in use, remove it.
Depending on your platform, these additions may need to be removed from the back-end. If you use WordPress and have user-widgets installed, the process is as easy as uninstalling and deleting. If you have custom code, working with a developer is ideal. Depending on the process or tools you use to clean up your code overall, you may be able to kill two birds with one stone.
Reducing your page weight doesn’t have to be difficult. It starts with creating a streamlined digital marketing strategy that focuses on delivering great content with simple, compelling visual elements. From there, have the technology meet the creative process for a website that will convert now and in the future.
Further Reading: Top Tips To Optimize Page Load Speed