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Understand and Optimizing Your RV Park Website Speed

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What is Page Speed?

Page speed is the amount of time it takes for the content on a website’s page to fully load. In a world where people have come to expect instantaneous results, faster is better.

 

In fact, almost half of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less, and they tend to abandon a site that isn’t loaded within 3 seconds, according to surveys done by Akamai and Gomez.com.

 

So, how long do most websites take to load?

 

Many have been using standards for page load time that come from a study by Geoff Kenyon where he compares website speed against the rest of the web:

  • if your site loads in 5 seconds, it is faster than approximately 25% of the web
  • if your site loads in 2.9 seconds, it is faster than approximately 50% of the web
  • if your site loads in 1.7 seconds, it is faster than approximately 75% of the web
  • if your site loads in 0.8 seconds, it is faster than approximately 94% of the web

 

So, how can you determine how your website stacks up?

 

How to Determine Your Page Speed and Score

Here’s how to measure how your campground or RV park website is performing:

  1. Head into your website’s Google Analytics Site Speed reports. This will give you an idea of how your site has performed over various time periods. You can also see the load speed of each of your pages.
  2. Enter your site’s URL into Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool. This will give you a report card on your website’s speed performance on both mobile devices and desktop. The report comes with some recommended actions you can take to improve your site’s speed.
  3. Check Pingdom’s website speed test to find out the speed, rank, and percent faster than the average of Pingdom’s tested websites
  4. Use GTMetrix to receive a comprehensive look at your site’s speed optimization status.

 

Note: Don’t worry when you see different speed timing in Pingdom and GTMetrix. Pingdom will show you load time (the time it takes to show the first result of your website—that’s what google counts and you should too), and GTMetrix will show you full load time (the time it takes to show the full page with its full functionality running).

Use both tools to get a better understanding of how your campground or RV park website is performing.

 

Why Does Page Speed Matter?

Bridging the gap between user expectations (2 seconds) and average website load time (5 seconds) is the goal of page speed optimization. But why exactly does page speed matter? It comes down to 3 main interconnected reasons:

 

1. Speed Kills UX

User experience is probably the most important reason you should care about website speed. People don’t have the patience for slow loading websites anymore. These aren’t the days of dial-up when connecting to the internet required patience; that doesn’t exist anymore.

 

Today, people are constantly online, and you’ve got less than 3 seconds maximum to display your campground or RV park page, or they’re gone. More than 3 seconds creates a poor user experience, and the bar is only going to get higher in the future.

 

2. Speed Kills SEO

User experience is the driving force behind the SEO implications of site speed. While Google has been slow to reveal whether slow websites receive ranking demotions officially, it appears that those days are coming. Make sure your website is ready.

 

3. Speed Kills Conversions

Your site speed’s effect on conversions is what should really catch your attention. How can you move people through your funnel if each step takes forever? Your super-fans will probably stick around, but those new, hesitant people who are prone to buyers-remorse will bounce.

 

8 Tactics to Make Your Campground or RV Park Website Load Faster

Speeding up your site isn’t always easy. If you have a small, light site, you may only need to try a couple of tactics on this list.

 

However, large, older sites with a lot of code and content may require some persistence and the implementation of several tactics.

 

Here’s where to start:

 

 1. Leverage browser caching:

When you visit sites, your browser often caches pages on the site to speed up load time for the future. Browser caching stores webpage resource files on a local computer when a user visits a webpage, so in order to leverage browser caching, you have to instruct browsers on how their resources should be dealt with.

 

Things can slow down when the response from your server does not include caching headers or if resources are cached for only a short time. Leveraging caching will load your pages much faster for repeat visitors.

 

Here’s how to do it.

 

2. Optimize images:

If images load faster, your campground or RV park site loads faster, period. Google notes that “…images often account for most of the downloaded bytes on a page. As a result, optimizing images can often yield some of the largest byte savings and performance improvements.”

 

When you optimize the images on your pages to reduce their file size without impacting the visual quality, you can get some significant improvements in site speed and efficiency.

 

Here’s how to do it

 

3. Minify HTML, CSS & JavaScript:

Minifying removes any unnecessary characters that are not required for the code to function.

 

Sources of redundant data that you can remove include code comments and formatting, unused code, as well as using shorter variable and function names, and more.

 

Here’s how to do it.

 

4. Enable gzip compression:

Gzip compression drastically reduces the size of files sent from your server when someone visits your website.

 

According to GTMetrix, “The reason gzip works so well in a web environment is because CSS files and HTML files use a lot of repeated text and have loads of whitespace. Since gzip compresses common strings, this can reduce the size of pages and style sheets by up to 70%!”

 

Here’s how to do it.

 

5. Reduce server response time:

Server response time is the amount of time it takes for a web server to respond to a request from a browser. This is a crucial issue to address because if your server response time is slow, your pages will have a slow display time, no matter how optimized they are for speed.

 

Google says you should reduce your server response time to under 200ms.

 

Here’s how to do it.

 

6. Avoid landing page redirects:

Your campground or RV park site can really slow down when you have more than one redirect from the given URL to the final landing page. This sets off a redirect loop that takes time to process.

 

Here are a few examples of redirects that can slow things down:

example.com → m.example.com/home – multi-roundtrip penalty for mobile users.

example.com → www.example.com → m.example.com – very slow mobile experience.

 

Here’s how to do it.

 

7. Prioritize visible content:

This is the exact message you’ll get from Google’s PageSpeed tool when additional network round trips are required to render the above the fold content of the page.

 

This “above the fold” content is what you see on a desktop or device when you visit a page. So prioritizing visible content includes ensuring essential elements on your page load first (and quickly) for users and that you defer secondary page elements like social sharing plugins, analytics javascript, etc.

 

Here’s how to do it.

 

8. Eliminate render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content:

JavaScript and CSS resources often prevent your page from displaying until they’re fully loaded.

 

This is a common message you’ll get from Google about site speed, and addressing it can really take your page speed up a few notches.

 

Here’s how to do it.

 

 

Note: This is the hardest thing to fix for most people. There are WordPress plugins that just do it, but they can make your site look like Frankenstein on every load.

 

If you need help, the entire team at Insider Perks has years of experience making websites load as quickly as possible. In the end, you simply want the visitors to your campground website to have the best experience possible so they make a reservation and you secure another booking.

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