Gareth van Rensburg is the founder of Innzone Hosting - a reliable, fast and affordable web hosting company. He actively supports the relationship-building process and is involved in the technical aspects of hosting websites for customers, so that they can feel safe and secure that they are protected from hackers and can continue to run their online business.
Why Website Speed Matters For Conversions
How long are people willing to wait for a website to load?
According to statistics, most people won’t even wait two seconds! The importance of having a fast loading site cannot be overstated.
How a Slow Site Undermines Your Conversion Rates
Here’s a statistic that will best exemplify the massive impact site speed has on conversions:
"Slow loading websites can cost retailers a staggering £1.73bn in lost sales annually!"
This only goes to show that while a slow site can affect other key factors like search rankings and user experience, it is your conversion that takes the most blow.
To fully understand the impact of site speed on conversions, let's examine other statistics:
- Pages that load in 2.4 seconds will have a 1.9% conversion rate
- Pages that load in 5.7 seconds will have a conversion rate of only 0.6%
- One in five online shoppers will abandon their carts when the transaction process is too slow
- A staggering 79% of customers who are dissatisfied with a site’s speed are less likely to return
- Amazon calculated that a 1 second difference in their web loading time can cost them $1.6 billion in revenues annually
- Walmart discovered that for every 1 second improvement in their page load time, there’s a corresponding 2% increase in conversions
- Search engine giant Google loses at least 20% of its traffic for every 100 millisecond delay in page load time
- When Firefox reduced their average load time by 2.2 seconds, their downloads increased by 15.4% (with 275,000 daily visitors, this translates to 10 million additional downloads annually!)
- When auto parts retailer AutoAnything decreased their load time to half, their conversion rate increased by 9%
- Mobify discovered that decreasing the load time of their homepage by 100 milliseconds can increase their conversions by 2%
Website Speed - Why It Matters
When it comes to user experience, speed is key. To put things in perspective, here’s what a consumer study revealed:
The stress response to delays in mobile speed can be likened to solving a mathematical problem or watching a horror movie alone!
Website performance (otherwise referred to as site speed) is one of the foundational aspects of good user experience. Below are some of the reasons why site speed matters:
1. Website speed can create a favourable first impression
Just how important is site speed? Your readers, website visitors, and customers can make an instant judgment about your business based on site speed alone! In other words, if you have a fast-loading site, you’re going to make a strong and favourable first impression.
Any way you look at it, it’s a quick win for user experience. If your site loads fast, you will not only be able to make your visitors happy, you will also be giving people the impression your website (and business) is reliable and trustworthy.
Understandably, a slow website will make people think the opposite - that your site (as well as your business) is unsafe and unreliable. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to turn around a negative first impression.
When it comes to user experience, you often don’t get a second chance. A whopping 79% of online shoppers claim they won’t visit a website again if they have had trouble with its site speed. Imagine that!
2. People expect and prefer speed
People set the bar high when it comes to site speed. It’s safe to assume people expect and demand fast loading times. Here are some hard facts to support that assumption:
- 85% of Internet users expect a mobile site to load fast (or faster) on their desktop
- 47% of site visitors expect the site to load in less than 2 seconds
- 40% will leave a site if loading takes longer than 3 seconds
When people are on the move, they have a tendency to be even less patient. They want answers and they want them fast!
It’s very evident that people expect quick results regardless if they are using a laptop, tablet, desktop, or mobile phone.
When it comes to leading and established sites like Facebook or Google, people are willing to wait a little longer. Understandably, people are willing to wait since they are considered authority sites. If you are a startup or a small business, you unfortunately don’t have that luxury.
3. Fast-loading sites can create a wonderful user experience
There are just two basic factors needed to create a positive user experience:
- Give your visitors what they are looking for
- Give it to them fast
This is the reason why website load speed should be a priority when it comes to user experience. People who visit your site are looking for something. It is your responsibility to deliver it to them as quickly as possible!
4. Slow websites can kill conversions
Let's look at another interesting statistic:
"40% of people will abandon your site if it loads longer than 3 seconds"
Now, let’s say you have at least 100,000 monthly visitors. If your site slows down, you can end up losing 40,000 potential customers. Imagine the impact it will have on your conversions!
Simply put, slow speed will drive people away. More than anything, however, slow speed can kill your conversions. This is something one of the biggest companies on the planet can definitely attest to.
Amazon found out that if their site speed slowed down by just one second, they could lose $1.6 billion annually!
5. Website speed can affect your Google rank
Google loves speed.
If anything, they’re on a mission to make the Internet useful, easily accessible, and super fast. There’s no shortage of information available about Google, load speed, and search ranking. Some of it is true. Some of it not so much. But here’s an intriguing point:
“Google will reduce the number of crawlers it sends to your site if your server is slower than two seconds.”
In other words, if your site is slow, Google is less likely to pick up your most recent blog posts or any updates you may have for that matter. It’s safe to assume this can affect your site and business in the long run.
Top Tips To Speed Up Your Website In 2020
It is reassuring to know there are several techniques you can use to increase website speed and improve user experience significantly.
Let’s go over some of them:
1. Minimize image sizes
Reducing image size can have a huge impact on page loading time. In a recent study, simply resizing 22MB of web images to 300KB resulted in a 70% reduction in time to download and display for the user!
One of the easiest ways to reduce image file size is to crop your image to the correct size. For instance, if you want an image to appear as 570px wide, ensure you resize the image to that width.
Avoid uploading an image that is 2000px wide, believing you can just set the width parameter the size you want. What happens is the page will load the full image and will adjust it to the correct size. The process can impact load time dramatically.
You also have the option to compress your image files using various tools. If your site runs on WordPress CMS, WP Smush is something you can look into. You can also use non-WordPress tools like compressor.io.
2. Use a content delivery network (CDN)
You also have the option to use other server networks to minimise load times for your website visitors. For visitors who are physically farther away, load times are higher as information has to travel.
This happens even if you are not experiencing lots of traffic. A content delivery network (CDN) can help eliminate those issues.
When you use a CDN, you are caching your site on a global network of servers. When a user’s browser will request files from your site, the request will be routed to the nearest server to the visitor.
3. Pick the correct hosting solution for your website
Many website owners opt for a low-cost or cheap hosting option.
While it would often suffice for those that are just starting out, it is highly likely that you would need to spend more money on a better plan once your site starts getting more traffic.
My advice is to not skimp when it comes to your web host. As a general rule of thumb, opt for a hosting site you can trust. When it comes to web hosting, here are 3 options you can look into:
- Shared website hosting
- VPS website hosting
- Dedicated website hosting
Shared hosting - Shared hosting will likely be the cheapest option available. With shared hosting, you will be sharing certain resources such as disk space, RAM, and CPU with other sites that are hosted on the same server.
While it’s okay for sites with little traffic, shared hosting becomes a problem with high traffic sites or those with traffic spikes. Your site might also be impacted by traffic from those sites that are using the same server you especially if there are traffic spikes.
VPS hosting - Another option is VPS hosting, your website will still be on a server with other websites. However, you will have your own dedicated portions of the server’s resources. VPS hosting is considered a good half-way option.
Dedicated hosting - With dedicated hosting, the server is all yours, so you won’t share the server with anyone else. You will also have more space but it is more involved in terms of technical setup and configuration. This is the best options is you want total control over your website and hosting server.
By this stage, you probably know how important site speed is and how it can impact search ranking, user experience and online conversions.
Getting your website speed where you want to be can be a tall feat.
However, it will be worth it, as it will not only have a positive and significant impact on overall site performance, it can also take your conversions to the next level!
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