Squarespace has become the go-to solution for business owners who want a professional-looking website but lack the skills and knowledge to do it themselves. Its premade templates, easy drag and drop function, and pre-coded assets make it possible to get your brand website up and running in a matter of hours. While this is a great start, it is only your first step towards presenting a professional website to your audience.
Consumers Don’t Like Waiting
Today’s online consumer has certain expectations when they land on your website. If they are not met, they will quickly navigate away to one of your competitors. The number one thing they are looking for is a fast-loading website. Due to lightning fast services such as Amazon and Netflix, today’s consumers operate in an instant gratification environment. If your website does not load fast enough they will leave before getting to consume any of your content.
Page speed is also crucial when it comes to your SEO rankings. Google’s main objective is to provide its users with results that are aligned with what they are searching for. Their secondary objective is to present websites that provide a favorable user experience. Therefore, they will often test your site to determine your average page loading times. Long load times will result in a drop in your search rankings. In today’s post, we will provide actionable advice on how to decrease loading times on your Squarespace site.
It’s All About The Images
For a new website owner or someone without a seasoned marketing background, it’s understandable to overlook your image sizes when creating your first website. Images generally make up the majority of the data on any given website page¹, so they can make or break a fast page load.
Luckily, this is a common problem with several easy solutions. First, make sure that your images are saved in either a PNG or JPEG format. Images that are saved in these formats will end in either .PNG or .JPG/.JPEG.
It is also key to resize your images before uploading them to Squarespace. Again, you want to adjust these images so they are as small as possible for their intended use on your site without compromising quality. The standard Squarespace sizing recommendation is a width between 1500 – 2000 pixels. It is important to point out that resizing an image is not the same as compressing an image. In some cases, taking your newly sized image and running it through image compression software to further decrease the size of the file can be beneficial without sacrificing significant image quality.
Even after resizing and compressing, a page with lots of images can still take a little too long to load, especially for your viewers with slow or spotty connections. Preloading images on your website with a service like Padeo cuts loading times even further by pre-downloading images and other resources that a user will likely need in the near future while the user is browsing.
- Images make up the bulk of the data on any given webpage and can be preloaded effectively.
- Image Preloading via Padeo cuts page load times dramatically, especially for mobile users and those with slow connections.
Watch Out For Those Fonts
While some may know the loading issues large images can cause, most non-developers would be surprised to learn the impact fonts have on your page loading speeds. The more fonts you have on your site, the longer it will take the server to load the pages. In a perfect world, you would have only one font for your entire site. However, we understand from a branding perspective this might not be reasonable. Per best practices, make sure you have no more than 3 different fonts across your entire site.
When you select a premade template on Squarespace, you are essentially inheriting several fonts already. Typically, your brand already has fonts as a part of its branding guidelines. Just because you change the fonts yourself does not mean the default fonts are gone forever. Before launching, go through your pages to make sure you have removed all template default fonts. If not, you could experience significant delays in your page loading and struggle to understand why it is happening.
Invest In A Proven Solution
Image and font-related issues are easy to diagnose and resolve regardless of your background. However, several technical issues could be causing your site pages to load slower than you would like. This includes enabling your SSL certificate, decreasing page sizes, and issues with installing custom code. As a business owner, you do not have the time to spend learning what all of this means and troubleshooting your website to fix the problems.
This is why we suggest investing in a proven solution such as Padeo. Padeo is a website plugin for any site that speeds up your website using predictive preloading. Padeo intelligently predicts the next page that a website visitor will need, and preloads (meaning, pre-downloads) the resources (images, fonts, CSS, scripts, etc) on that page. This results in a dramatically faster load because the bulk of the loading work is already done in the background before the user clicks to go to the next page. Padeo has a free option, so you can try it out and enjoy a faster website without having to invest anything. Installing on Squarespace takes about 3 minutes.
Pages that load fast and are mobile responsive are key to a professional and impactful branding website. By focusing on key elements such as your images, fonts, and scripts you are increasing your search rankings and creating strong relationships with your website visitors. If you are serious about running your own business and pushing your brand to the next level, you should strongly consider investing in a predictive preloading service like Padeo.