In a physical store, you know the line is going to move eventually, and that if you get desperate you can hop on another line. If a page hangs during an online transaction, it introduces uncertainty that you’ll ever be able to complete your purchase. (In one survey, 44% of respondents said that page slowdowns during checkout made them anxious about the success of the transaction.) And line jockeying isn’t an option on the internet.
How Website Speed Impacts Your Marketing
A slow website will force nearly half of your customers to leave with the vast moajority of them never returning again. Most mobile users find websites too slow and about half of shopping cart abandoners will tell their friends.
In a nutshell, website speed has a significant impact on sales, conversions, branding and reputation.
One study revealed 44 percent of online shoppers feel anxious if a website is too slow to load, proving that the online checkout process is strongly associated with uncertainty.
Site speed is a major factor determining the user’s experience and will ultimately affect your return visits and reputation. Nearly 80 percent of online shoppers that had trouble with loading pages will never return to the same website and 44 percent of those individuals will warn others about the poor experience they had.
This means you’re not just losing conversions from visitors currently on your site, but that loss is magnified to their friends and colleagues as well. The end result – lots of potential sales down the drain because of a few seconds difference.
As it has a profound impact on user experience, website speed is incorporated within search engine algorithms but is just one of the 200 factors Google takes in consideration. Slow site speed may not necessarily cause a serious drop in rankings but making a website faster will certainly have a positive impact on SEO, user expereince and conversions.
How Fast Should My Website Load?
47 percent of consumers expect a website to load in less than 2 seconds and 40 percent of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
- 73% of mobile internet users say that they’ve encountered a website that was too slow to load.
- 51% of mobile internet users say that they’ve encountered a website that crashed, froze, or received an error.
- 38% of mobile internet users say that they’ve encountered a website that wasn’t available.
- 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.
- 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
- A 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
- If an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1 second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5 million in lost sales every year.
Are you aware of your website’s speed and the manner in which it’s affecting user engagement and overall performance? Keep reading to find out how to track and improve your website speed.
The Best Tools for Tracking Site Speed
Now that you know just how important website speed can be, it’s time to take a look at some wonderful tools that you can use to assess the performance of your website.
- GTMetrix This free tool will give you an overall idea about your website’s current performance and provide suggestions about improving speed. You’ll get a grade (from A to F), data about how fast your website loads (in seconds), what total page size is and what’s the total number of requests. The recommendations will be ordered according to their importance and the degree to which each factor will affect website speed.
- Google Developers PageSpeed Tools This is an official Google Developers website speed assessment tool. It’s free to use and it will also provide recommendations about the most important problems you’ll need to fix in order to speed up your website.
- WebPageTest You’ll get data about website speed and six different grades that relate to load time with this tool. These include first byte time, keep alive enabled, compress transfer, compress images, cache static content and effective use of CDN grades. The tool will also provide a content breakdown and some suggested changes. WebPageTest enables users to select a country that they want to run the test from.
Five Actions to Speed Up Your Website
Some common mistakes stand in the way of optimal page load time and performance. In order to decrease the load time, ensure you’re doing the following:
- Minimise image size As already mentioned, the images will have to be loaded each time alongside other page elements. Too many images or excessively large pictures will make each page slower. Optimizing the image size can reduce the total page load size by nearly 80 percent! Some of the things you can do to address the problem include refraining from using TIFF images, resizing photos before uploading those, compressing the pictures and serve scaled images (like having thumbnail versions).
- Use an appropriate hosting service Which country is your website hosted in? Where is your audience located? Choosing a server that’s located in the wrong place can be detrimental to your site performance and SEO efforts. Use one of the site speed testing tools to figure out how long it takes for your audience in a particular country to view the content. If your website’s performance is poor, you may want to consider the selection of another hosting option.
- Use the server’s cache and compress capabilities Have you customized your server characteristics to speed up the website? If you’ve kept the settings set to default, you’re missing on a good opportunity. Make sure that you’ve enabled the server’s gzip compression and caching options. Both of these can reduce the transfer time needed to display your site through a browser, thus improving the audience’s experience and helping you do better in terms of search engine positioning.
Speeding up your website doesn’t have to be excessively technical or difficult. Start by using one of the test tools mentioned in this article. You’ll get specific recommendations that you can either follow on your own or work with a professional to execute.