Did you know that 47% of website users expect web pages to load in less than 2 seconds? Generally speaking, anywhere from two to four seconds is considered an ideal page load time for a business website—any slower than that, and you start losing traffic (and therefore customers). For this and many other reasons, website speed can have a big impact on your business. It affects how people find you online, how long they stay on your site, and even their overall opinion of your business.
Reduced Website Traffic
Slow websites can frustrate users, causing them to go elsewhere to find what they’re looking for. Today’s consumers would rather search for a different site than wait for a slow site to load. This is especially true for e-commerce sites. With speedy giants like Amazon around, there’s no way you can compete if your site is slow to load.
The numbers vary among different studies, but most agree that a page that takes longer than 3 seconds to load will lose more than 50% of mobile users. Studies have also shown that 79% of online shoppers who are dissatisfied with a website won’t return to that site.
If a slow website prevents potential customers from accessing your site or discourages them from returning, it defeats the purpose of even having a website for your business.
Lower SEO Ranking
Think about your own experience doing online searches. How often do you look beyond the first 3-4 results? If your answer is “almost never,” you’re not alone.
Generally speaking, only the first few websites on the search results page will attract visitors. To gain an audience in this competitive space, you need to rank highly on search engines—and site performance is one of the main factors that affects your ranking. A slow website can negatively impact your search engine optimization (SEO), making you show up further down the list on search results pages.
Google has stated plainly that site speed is a significant factor in their website ranking algorithms. This makes sense, since one of their main goals is to create a fast browsing experience for users. If your site is slow, it won’t rank as high as it should, no matter how great your content is. Google’s “magic number” for ideal page load time is 2 seconds—sites that take longer than that to load will rank lower in searches than faster sites.
Higher Bounce Rate
Bounce Rate is a measure of how often someone visits your website and leaves without interacting further by clicking on links or visiting other pages on your site. A low bounce rate means that the majority of visitors are looking at more than one page on your site—a high bounce rate means they’re not moving beyond the page they initially visited. You want to keep your bounce rate as low as possible.
If most visitors leave without looking at more than one page on your site, it’s a sign that something is wrong, and very often the problem is poor site performance. A Google report found that page loading delays as minor as 1-10 seconds can increase your bounce rate by up to 123%!
No matter the product or service you are offering, if your website has a slow load time or other performance issues, visitors won’t stick around.
Poor Customer Experience
Over the past decade, our average attention span has shrunk from 12 to 8 seconds. This means that a slow website can cause you to lose potential customers before they even have the chance to read anything about you and the product or service you provide. And for e-commerce sites, slow load times lead to shopping cart abandonment.
Liken this to the experience a customer has waiting in line to check out at a retail store. If lines are long and the customer is forced to wait, will they stick around or go to another store where the lines are shorter? In many cases, they’ll leave. If they do decide to stay, it’s likely they won’t consider it a positive experience, and may think twice before returning.
Whether you sell a product or offer a service, a fast website gives customers a better experience and makes them much more likely to return again and again.
If a customer has a bad experience with a slow site, it will affect their overall opinion of the business: Consumers perceive a slow, clunky website as a reflection of how a business is run and how much they care about serving their customers.
Research has shown that more than 40% of website visitors who have a bad experience with a site will share that experience with others. And as we all know, word of mouth is one of the most powerful motivators when it comes to choosing one business over another—we trust what our friends and family have to say. A quick-moving website can help ensure your visitors have good things to say about your site and your business.
How to Improve Your Website Speed
Luckily, if your website is slow you can do something to change that. Start with the following:
- Optimize for mobile. Just because your site loads quickly on a desktop or laptop doesn’t mean it will be equally fast on mobile devices. Since the majority of online consumers browse on their smartphones, it’s vital to make sure your site is designed to be responsive to different devices and screen sizes.
- Delete unused plugins. If you have too many plugins running on your site, it’s likely slowing things down. Go through your list of plugins and delete or deactivate any that are no longer relevant to your site.
- Host videos and other large files externally. Removing unnecessary images and video files can help improve the speed of your website. Instead of uploading videos to your website, consider hosting them on a site like YouTube and then embedding them into your site. Doing so will save you a lot of storage space, improve your site speed, and create another way for potential customers to find you.
Consider a New Hosting Provider
None of these fixes will amount to much of an increase in speed if your website doesn’t have a good server behind it. A lot of the cheap shared-hosting companies serve so many sites that their servers become overrun, causing slower load times. Switching to a premium site hosting company like PageCrafter can significantly speed up your site, resulting in improved SEO, higher traffic, lower bounce rate, and a better customer experience.
Ready to make the switch to premium site hosting? Contact us here or give us a call at 952-457-4746.