If you’re in a store and ready to check out but you can’t find someone to help you, chances are you’ll stick around. You may even wait quite a while since you’ve gone through all the trouble of going to a store and selecting which items you want. However, if you’re waiting a long time for a website to respond, you can be on another site making the same selections within seconds.
For this reason, it’s essential that your website runs quickly and loads within mere seconds. People have a large selection of websites that they can get information from or do business with, and you need to be sure that your site is providing what people want very quickly. Additionally, it’s not just sites that sell items that need speedy load times. Sites that generate revenue from ads also need to load quickly to prevent the loss of income.
It Can Lower Your Conversion Rate
Studies show that people are steadily becoming less patient when it comes to waiting for web pages to load; 47 percent of people expect a website to load in two seconds or less. For mobile sites, you are given about three seconds before more than half of visitors say they will leave. Even if you’re getting people to stick around, a slow load time can drop your conversion rate.
A study done by Amazon showed that just a 0.1 second slower load time resulted in a one percent decrease in sales. While Amazon is enormous and your website may not be able to generate that much traffic or sales, it shows that even tiny slowdowns can still have a tangible effect on your business.
Search Engine Ranking
If you run a business website, you’re probably at least familiar with the concept of search engine optimization, which involves signaling to search engines that people who are searching for particular terms or phrases would benefit from visiting your site. Google, and other search engines, include user experience as a metric when determining where your website will end up in search engine results.
User experience includes a number of things, including the quality of content on a site, if it’s easy to navigate and how quickly the website loads. Google doesn’t generally release specific information about how metrics are weighted, but a slow website can dramatically reduce your user experience score. With SEO being so competitive, the last thing you want is a slow website dragging your ranking down.
One of the reasons that user experience is a part of many search engine ranking metrics is because people tend to not return to websites that worked poorly for them. Research done by Statista indicates that a quarter of shoppers will abandon an online shopping cart if the website is too difficult to use.
Having a slow website can also make visitors do more than just wait. It can also keep certain parts of your site from working because scripts still need to load. Someone may fill out a form or attempt to add an item to a shopping cart and get an error or find that nothing is happening.
Additionally, when a website is slow, it may not load properly or things on the page may start adjusting themselves, changing the locations of images and text as people are trying to read or use the site. These types of frustrations can easily send someone away from your site with a commitment to never return.
The Need For Speed On Mobile
Mobile users can be even more impatient than people on PCs. With the number of individuals using mobile devices to both surf the web and make purchases, it’s essential that you’re not driving away customers and visitors with a slow site. In addition to needing to create mobile and desktop versions of your site, you need to be sure that mobile versions load quickly and aren’t just designed to fit on a smaller screen.
People on mobile devices often have data caps, and although powerful, smart phones have far less processing power than computers. Images need to be shrunk in terms of both pixels and file sizes, and scripts need to be kept down to the minimum required for the site to function. Along with rating user experience for desktop websites, Google also measures user experience for mobile sites. Furthermore, in the last year, they’ve started ranking mobile friendly sites higher when people do searches on a mobile device.
Loss of Ad Revenue
Depending on the ad network that your website is hosting advertising from, you may only get credit for ad views if the ad loads properly, if the visitor to the page has the ad show up on their screen or both. If your website is very slow, ads may not be loading properly, depriving you of revenue. Google found that 25 percent of mobile sites with load times under five seconds had higher ad revenue.
Resolving Your Speed Problems
Whether you have a slow site or would just like your site to run faster than it already is, one of the first things you should look at is cutting down on scripts and reducing the size of image and media files. Scripts can slow down even a bare bones site because they use a server’s bandwidth, processing power from the server and processing power from the computer they are being loaded on. Unless your site – and the page that someone is on – needs a script or function to run, consider ditching it.
Media files can also dramatically increase the amount of time that it takes for a site to load. Instead of eliminating image files, see if you can’t compress them or use another file type that results in a smaller image. A small loss in image quality can cut an image’s file size in half.
Another consideration is the server or hosting provider you’re using. You may need more bandwidth or processing power, and if you’re using shared hosting, it may be time to upgrade to a VPS or Dedicated Server solution.
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