I’m a big fan of minimising loading time for websites that I work on. A slow website is painful to navigate. I hate them. And I’m not alone.
Read on to see how a slow website will most definitely hurt your online business.
People don’t like waiting for websites to load. Take a look at these statistics by Akamai:
- How long it takes your website to load influences your users’ loyalty to your site. 52% of consumers agree that fast loading times is important.
- 47% of online shoppers expect a website to load in 2 seconds, or less.
- When your users are left waiting for your site to load, 14% of them will start looking at other sites. 23% will leave altogether.
It is clear from these statistics alone that loading time is of major importance to your website. Note, this data is from 2009. In 2017, the impatience of users will be even greater.
Faster Sites Rank Higher in Google
Google has been using site speed in their search algorithm for ranking websites for over 7 years now. How fast your site loads is therefore a major SEO ranking factor that you should not ignore.
Websites that load quickly provide a better user experience, as your users can navigate throughout your site more easily. A site that leaves a user staring at a blank page for 2 seconds on each page load results in a poor user experience.
Google aims to serve faster websites to its users since they are the most user-friendly. They don’t want to promote slow sites in their search results.
Reducing your loading time will result in a higher conversion rate, and so more revenue for your business.
Why is this?
Users lose patience with slow sites, and as a result are more likely to leave your site. This is referred to as a ‘bounce’, where a user visits your site and leaves without browsing around. A slower site results in a higher bounce rate.
If you are losing users because of your slow site, you are losing potential sales. These users aren’t even getting a chance to look at your products and have gone to your competition instead.
Online Tools for Checking Your Loading Time
To check you aren’t losing potential revenue because of a slow loading site, run your website through some of the following free tools:
- Pingdom Website Speed Test – my favourite
- GTmetrix – more in detail
- Google PageSpeed Insights
- Sucuri – good for seeing data from around the world
If your website scores poorly in these tests you need to look into hiring someone experienced at developing fast websites. They can help you speed up your current website, or create a new one that is properly optimised for speed.
A general rule of thumb is anything over 3 seconds is too slow.
Neglecting website speed is the biggest mistake I see far too often that small businesses are making. It’s not something that should be ignored.
A lot of the time it isn’t their fault. They’ve placed the responsibility of their website in the hands of someone who is doing a poor job.
When looking for a web designer or developer, ask them how seriously they take the speed of your website. Speed is key.