Internet users are like children when it comes to their timeline of expectations. Make a child wait too long for something and it will lose interest and move on the next thing.
The same can be said of internet users who are waiting for a site to load. If it takes too long they will exit and try another site (likely a competitor’s) and you may never see them again.
User experience counts…down to every second
You may be thinking is page speed really that big of a deal?
The answer is yes, and that is because the way we are consuming media is changing.
Most of us are now browsing the internet while we are out and about, whether it’s when we’re in the car, or in the queue at the bank or coffee shop. We’re no longer at home with lots of time and less distractions.
We’re also making decisions on the go about who to buy from. If a prospect is browsing on their mobile looking for your shop address or phone number and your page takes too long to load, they will likely bail, right at the critical moment they were thinking about purchasing. Every user who navigates away from your site affects your bottom line.
According to research by the Aberdeen Group, a one-second delay in page load times results in 11 per cent fewer page views, 7 per cent fewer conversions and a 16 per cent drop in customer satisfaction.
Google will penalise slow page speeds
In 2010 Google announced a change to their search rankings policy, introducing site speed as a factor in how they rank webpages. It’s now part of Google’s ranking algorithm for both mobile and desktop.
Additionally, page speed can also impact your AdWords Quality Score, meaning that slow page speeds will increase your advertising costs, whereas fast speeds will give your company a better quality score, and lower advertising costs for a greater reach.
How can I get access to my Page Speed Scores?
Google Developers have a useful free PageSpeed Insights tool, which allows you to enter the URL of your site, and receive the speed score of the site for both mobile and desktop.
It will also give you handy suggestions on what is causing a slower score and how it can be fixed. Your page speed score will be a number between 0-100. A score of 75 and above means your site speed is performing well, lower means that you need to make some improvements.
You can also access Site Speed reports within Google Analytics under the Behaviour Section. The reports provide data on: average page load times, domain lookup, server response and connection, and download times.
Website elements that impact speed
Your website hosting provider or technology can also be at fault. Always opt for dedicated hosting as opposed to shared hosting, as with shared hosting your website speed is throttled by all the other websites on the same server as you.
Additionally, investigate using smaller image files to improve website speed, and review your analytics regularly to see if widgets, for instance social media sharing buttons, are impacting your speed.
Ecommerce sites rely on page views and conversions to make money, both of which are affected by slow load times.
The more you can boost your site speeds, the more turnover and sales you will generate. Amazon.com recently investigated how much revenue they would lose if their site loaded just one second slower. The answer? They would lose $1.6 billion annually.
Your company might not be as massive as Amazon, but I hope this shows just how crucial load times are to your revenue.
Don’t forget to go to Google’s PageSpeed tool, enter your URL and see how you are performing. Then commit to taking action this week based on the recommendations they make. I promise you it will be worth it in the long run.