High-speed internet is so important when it comes to business, especially when it comes to your website. Your website needs to impress new or returning customers, and in today’s modern world it needs to be quick and perform well if you want to convert leads into sales. As buyers’ behaviour becomes even more essential as competition increases, in order for your business to grow you need to be assessing your website load speed and keeping a close eye on any factors that may affect it.
We take a look at why internet speed is so important:
Reason 1: Your website is your first impression
First impressions are vital online, and if you visit a website that takes ages to load, how do you react? People are time-restricted and impatient when it comes to web browsing, so if your website is slow they are more likely to feel frustrated and leave for a competitor site. In fact, research has shown that on average half of us wouldn’t wait for more than a couple of seconds for a webpage to appear, and that 53% of mobile users leave a site that takes longer than three seconds to load- speed really is everything.
A slow website= a decrease in visitors, more bounces and fewer purchases. Oh, and search engines (like Google) will penalize sites that load slowly.
The solution? Get ahead of the game by using a speed checker such as Webpage Test and use Page Speed Insights by Google to check how fast your site loads (on both desktop and mobile) but also utilize the breakdown of how to improve it. Average websites take around 8-11 seconds to load, which may not seem long, but shaving a few seconds of this could make all the difference in ensuring customers stay on your site and view your business as a professional, reliable service.
Reason 2: You need to keep up with demand
In today’s fast-moving world, everything happens quickly: we expect, and demand fast loading times. Whether that be via mobile when we are on the move, or on a laptop or tablet- we want results almost immediately. This is even more key for start-ups and small businesses as you are still trying to establish a name and build credibility.
Research suggests people tend to be a little more lenient with established sites like Facebook and Twitter, but new businesses should be loading with lightning-quick speed to ensure they aren’t missing out on potential customers. For every second you managed to reduce your loading time, you’ll not only increase customer confidence and build trust in both your business and your site, but you will also encourage people to mention or recommend your site to other potential customers- you can’t buy that kind of organic growth.
Reason 3: Focus on user experience
It’s not enough to have a pretty website, killer copy and an amazing product or service- obviously, all these factors are essential when creating a successful business, but if you have all of this but a slow internet connection… nobody will find you. This is why website load speed should be your number one priority when it comes to focusing on user experience. People are looking for something from your site. Make sure you give it to them as quickly as possible.
Reason 4: Slow-speed effects your Google ranking and SEO
We mentioned earlier that search engines like Google will penalize sites that load slowly. They started doing this back in 2010, using site speed as a ranking signal in their algorithm. To this day it continues to be one of the factors that determine where your website shows up in the search results. It doesn’t carry as much of an influence as say relevance of a page, but it could mean your latest product launch or blog post is lost because a slow site speed means Google reduces the number of crawlers it sends to your site.
For these reasons, speeding up your website is super important to remain visible. Google is aware that sending people to slow loading websites is counterproductive for user experience, so it is likely they will always take this into account. Their mission is to ensure the internet is speedy, accessible, and above all: useful. A slow website because of a poor internet speed jeopardizes this.
Reason 5: Conversions are key
Studies have demonstrated that internet speed affects conversion rates. As mentioned earlier, more users will stay on your site if it is fast-loading, but did you know that high-speed sites also convert at a higher rate when compared to slower sites? Even a decrease in page loading time by a few seconds has the power to improve site performance and increase conversion rate optimization.
Reason 6: Slow loading times can increase the bounce rate
Google Analytics defines the bounce rate as the percentage of visitors that leave your site after viewing one page. This isn’t solely influenced by website speed of course- a number of different factors including poor website design, too many pop-up adverts and a lack fo CTA’s (call-to-action) can all affect this.
However, the link between bounce rate and page loading speed is still key. In fact, a bounce rate can increase by up to 50 per cent if your page takes just 2 extra seconds to load. What is even more interesting, is that the probability of a bounce rate can increase by 123% if a mobile page takes up to 10 seconds to load- and considering more and more consumers are viewing websites via their smartphones, it is crucial for your business to not fall victim to this. Having a poor performing website increases abandonment, impacts your ability to achieve sales and retain customers… or even attract new ones.
SEO experts have also claimed that just like website speed, the bounce rate is also measured and considered by Google as a ranking signal. Which means sites with a lower bounce rate will rank higher in SERPs.
So how should I increase my website speed?
Now we have discussed why your website speed matters, there are a few things you can do to improve your site’s speed both on laptop and mobile devices.
- Simplifying page templates
We are talking about unnecessary plugins, advertisements and on-page widgets which can all majorly slow down the average page loading speed.
- Compress large images
Large images take time to load, so try resizing images using a photo editor like Photoshop (this way images still retain their high quality.) Many web builders will have specifications on the size of images, and sticking to these will definitely help improve loading time. You could also try selecting PNG as the designated photo format for graphic files (infographics etc.) and using JPEG for photos or high-quality images.
Avoid using nested tables in your design
Nested tables (otherwise known as tables in tables) are often used for more complex web designs, but can really slow down your site. Avoid using them altogether, or keep to an absolute minimum. You could try using CSS for tabular layouts instead.
But how do I increase mobile speed?
Connectivity is key
It isn’t always possible to have a strong internet connection- especially if you have a worldwide customer base. This won’t stop mobile users from browsing though, who use data when wifi is absent. For this reason, if possible your mobile site should have any data-heavy features (like videos) disabled to take into account data usage and stop the page loading speed being too slow.
Think about a separate mobile site
If this isn’t possible, it may be worth building a separate mobile site that isn’t too complex. Nowadays you can choose a responsive design that can be adjusted to display and fit all devices. An effective mobile site should provide a fast service that is custom-built for offering a mobile-centric user experience.
Limit the number of redirects
Too many page redirects on a mobile site is a top way to annoy your audience and make them leave your site! So make sure that you limit any redirects to three in a chain (i.e a page redirecting to a page that redirects to another page). More importantly, each redirect counts as a separate HTML request, which will impact on your page load speed. This isn’t the kind of impact you want to create for the mobile user, who will likely be a high percentage of your potential customers.
And lastly… Image compression
As we mentioned above, image compression is definitely important to reduce page loading times. If you have already compressed the images on your website and have used a responsive design on mobile, you shouldn’t have to do this again. But it is always worth checking on a mobile device afterwards to make sure you are happy with the page loading speed.
How fast does your website load? If you’d like your website to be fast as lightning, order a “Speed of Light Website Tune Up” below: