How Loading Times for Your Website Are Critical to the Success of Your Company

Business Advice

Push Group shares its tips and tricks to refresh one of your most valuable sales assets and be ready for the ever-changing digital environment

Consumers expect lightning-fast load times and a frictionless online experience. What’s more, these expectations only keep rising, as more and more people move online to shop.

The cost of a slow site 1) Conversion A slow website kills conversions. 47% of customers expect a website to load in two seconds at the very most. 40% will abandon it altogether if it takes longer than three. 2) Usability The load time of your site and its responsiveness to user requests directly impact customer loyalty. It’s pretty straightforward: better site performance → enhanced user satisfaction → increased customer base and brand strength. 3) Visibility Google uses site speed as a ranking factor. Load time therefore directly affects how easily search engine users can find you. This makes sense: Google wants users of its search engine to have the best possible customer experience. So what is a good load time?

According to Google, best practice is to aim for a three-second load time. After analysing 900,000 mobile ad landing pages spanning 126 countries, Google found that over 70% took almost seven seconds to fully display content. Mobile sites lag behind desktop sites in a number of key engagement metrics, such as pages per visit, bounce rate and average time on site. For retailers this can be particularly costly, because 30% of all online shopping now occurs on mobile.

There’s a lot to do to get your site up to scratch — but, if you put the work in, you’ll be way ahead of the competition. Why is my website slow? Site speed can be impacted by a myriad of issues, but it’s easy to understand the basics without indulging in (much) technobabble.

Page elements The typical webpage contains around 100 assets hosted on different servers. Many of these assets are, unbeknownst to the site owner, unmeasured, unoptimised and unmonitored. This makes page loads unpredictable and volatile.

Images Two thirds of the ‘weight’ of the average retail page comprises graphic elements such as logos and product images. The result? A cumulatively slow page load. However, there is so much you can do to fix this such as saving your images as .jpeg files rather than .png. This can cut file size by over 50%. You could also think about compressing your images. The trick with this is to balance size with quality.

Use a content delivery network (CDN) A CDN is a set of web servers distributed across several geographical locations, all of them providing web content depending on where each end user is located. Hosting your website on a single server means all user requests are sent to the same hardware, which often leads to a queue.

Simple steps Reducing load time can make a big difference, and you’ll see that, when you break down what you need to do into three steps, site slowness is not an insurmountable issue!

  1. Check and evaluate the key factors of site success, considering the following three key factors: conversion, usability and visibility. 2. Test your current speed, then prioritise the features and pages that require the most attention regarding these three factors. 3. Optimise the elements that are reducing speed the most, then focus on those pages that most define your conversion success.

Still not convinced that speed is important? In 2006, Google’s results page unexpectedly began to load 0.5 seconds more slowly — and traffic promptly dropped by 20%. Also, when Amazon ran A/B tests to observe the change in user behaviour caused by load delays of just 100 milliseconds, they found significant and costly decreases in revenue.

If the number of shoppers using two of the world’s most esteemed and reputable websites can drop by one fifth because of a delay of half a second — even a tenth of a second — chances are they won’t be hanging around for your site, either. So get your skates on!

Getting your load times where you want them is a challenging endeavour, but it can have a significant and positive impact on your overall site performance. Slowness will cost you money and damage your reputation. Improve your load times and you’ll see better-qualified leads, more return visits, increased conversions, higher engagement and an enhanced user experience

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