Slow load time is one of the key reasons people drop out during the checkout process, meaning it has a direct impact on business revenue. The modern-day consumer expects to have a seamless experience, and, through their website, there is what businesses need to deliver. Often frustratingly for website designers and developers, visitors care more about how quickly a site loads, than having all the bells and whistles that make it look beautiful.
In this post, we will take a quick look at what loading time means and the benefits of a fast website.
Website load speed is the time it takes for a visitor to see content when they land on your website. However, it isn’t always straightforward where sometimes content generates gradually, and users have variables browsers and connections.
According to Google, “load is not a single moment in time; it’s an experience that no one metric can fully capture. There are moments during the load experience that can affect whether a user perceives it as fast, and if you focus on one, you might miss bad experiences that happen during the rest of the time.”
The top-ranking sites on Google have an average load time of under 3 seconds. The opportunity arises from the fact that in 2019, as a whole, the average load speed of all sites is 15 seconds. If a business can increase the load speed of their website, there is every chance traffic will grow from outperforming the competition.
There are plenty of other benefits to having a quick loading website.
First and foremost, website speed is a ranking signal in the Google search algorithm. Faster sites tend to offer a better user experience, and therefore happy searchers. Google will put such sites nearer the top of search engine result pages.
In 2018, Google put the same load speed standards into mobile websites, as part of the mobile-first indexing approach to search. In fact, according to Kissmetrics, 85% of internet users expect a mobile site to load as fast or faster on mobile than desktop.
Google also says the amount of crawlers it sends to your site reduces if the server is slower than two seconds. In context, any new content you add to the website or blog is less likely to rank if it is slow to load.
A report from Unbounce shows that 70% of consumers say that the speed of a page influences how likely they are to make a purchase. Google research backs this up, showing that for every one-second delay in page speed, conversion rates suffer by up to 7%. Amazon did tests on their site that show a one-second decline would cost them $1.6 billion every year.
To test your website, you can use the Google load test for free. The analysis goes as far as telling you the potential revenue gains from increasing your speed.
At a purely psychological level, people consider fast websites to be credible and professional. We don’t have statistics to back this up, but a slow website feels less secure and safe. It will be very tough to eradicate that first impression and still get visitors to convert.
Website load speed is essential for search engine optimization (SEO), user experience, and bottom-line revenue. There are several ways to improve the speed of your website, such as optimising images and videos, analysing server response times, leveraging browser caching, and reducing redirects. You can learn more about improving the performance of your site here.