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Why the Speed of your Website is Important to your Customers
If you are old enough to remember dial up, you will know of the pain of waiting minutes to connect, a slow page speed was the norm. When you did connect after 3 attempts you would wait minutes for the page you wanted to view to download. Only to find it was not what you was looking for.
Not the best user experience, thankfully things have progressed. Instant access to websites, social media and video is now taken for granted with vast access to broadband and 4g connections. We don’t even have to sit at a computer screen anymore. Now we just take out our phones, search google and instantly access the content we are looking for.
A fast-loading website is essential for any business, as the above statistic shows nearly 70% of customers are weary of purchasing from companies with slow websites. 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load, that’s a hell of a lot of customers you could be losing because of slow website pages.
We now want instant answers to our searches on the web, following are some of the reasons why you should make sure you have a fast-loading website.
The User Experience
A sluggish website is a bad experience. We want the information now and don’t expect to have to wait seconds to access it. It does not matter how well designed your website is, if the information cannot be viewed quickly the user tends to go elsewhere.
Check googles website page speed test and see how your site performs. If you are in the red you seriously need to take action. Amber you may need to make a few tweaks. Green and you are all set.
A faster website will give a much better user experience to the website user. It gives them ability to move around quickly to access other information on your website.
A Slow Website will Affect your Google Rankings
Page speed is a major ranking factor when scoring your website for google inclusion in their index. Along with a secure website (https) and mobile friendliness googles core webs vitals will measure your websites page experience.
Speed will affect your bounce rate, this means users landing on your page and leaving without interacting with your website. Interactions can be clicking links, watching videos, filling in forms or downloading information.
A high bounce rate will affect your rankings as google can see that your website is not popular with viewers and rank it lower. All your hard work creating your content could be for nothing. A low bounce rate will help rank your website higher and increase your visitors.
If you want more information on how speed can impact your search engine placements have a read of the moz.com article on the subject.
We all want more visitors, conversions and business.
Slow Website Kill Conversions
Many website owners first objective is to get visitors to their websites. But what if your website page speed is slow? Even if your customer does wait for your first page to load, what happens on their journey when clicking on your links?
Think of it has going to supermarket. You go in looking for a bag of glutton free flour. You walk around doing the store with no luck finding the product you went in for. You look around the store for an employee to direct to the isle where the product lives, but you find it difficult to get past the hordes of other shoppers. When you do find someone, they are unsure, and you walk around for another 5 minutes through the crowds trying to locate the glutton free section.
Frustrating isn’t it. You will most probably leave and go elsewhere.
That’s the experience you are creating with a slow website, they can’t get quickly to the information they searched for. They leave and go to your competitor.
Mobile Website traffic is Increasing
More than 50% of internet traffic coming via mobile traffic, a mobile optimised website cannot be ignored. Mobile usage has increased year on year and with more people relying on their hand-held devices to surf the web. Having a fast-loading website can undoubtedly not be ignored.
Using a mobile device is now the norm. We pick up our devices to search for a business, product, or service while on the go. Using 3g, 4g and now even 5g connections now make making the internet much faster. Unfortunately, not all areas have such speedy connections, and can something be unreliable. Another reason why your website must load as fast as possible.
Your website may load in super quick time on a broadband connection, but Google expects your website to load within a reasonable amount of time. As mentioned before your bounce rate will affect your rankings as well as the interaction with your website.
As mobile usage increases a fast-loading mobile, responsive website ca not be ignored.
47% of people expect your site to load in less than 2 seconds – kissmetrics.com
What are your feelings when you land on a slow loading website? Do you think less of the company? Most do, it gives an impression of not caring about the end user, expecting them to have to wait to find the information they searched for.
We now live in a world where we expect next day delivery, a pizza to your door in 30 minutes or having the ability to listen to the latest Ed Sheerams new album on the minute of its release (OK, not everyone, including me listens to Ed. But you get the idea). A good customer experience includes a speedy, smooth non interrupted service at your fingertips. Nothing else will do.
Don’t lose customers, website rankings or conversions with a sluggish website.
How to Speed Up Your Website
The following are some simple tips to help you speed up your existing website, without any technical knowledge.
1. USE A CREDIBLE FAST HOST.
Cheap isn’t good. You may want to save a few pence by using a cheaper hosting company, after all they all do the same thing, right? Not at all. Hosting company’s use different services from shared servers where your website is hosted on one computer along with 100s of others. You can choose from an expensive dedicated server or a cloud based option. Depending on the size of your website and business may influence your choice.
2. COMPRESS YOUR IMAGES.
I have been given the task many times of upgrading and reviewing existing websites. Some DIY builds and even some created by website companies. One of the main culprits for a slow website were image sizes. Images that have been sized down within the website, creating a large file sizes and increased download times.
WordPress users can take advantage of plugins such as SMUSH. A plugin that will automatically compress your image sizes for you.
3. COMPRESS YOUR CODE
Again, if you are a WordPress user you can use a plugin to easily compress code your code. I recommend Autotomize and combined with a CDN will increase the speed of your website.
4. USE A CONTENT DELIVERY NETWORK
A CDN (Content Delivery Network) refers to a geographically distributed group of servers which work together to provide fast delivery of Internet content. This does not replace a hosting service but works alongside it to deliver your content faster.
5. REMOVE UNUSED PLUGINS
WordPress users do have access to 1000’s of plugins. Only install the ones you need and remove any that you are no longer using. Some WordPress plugins can increase your load time so test your website for ones you are unfamiliar with.
TESTING YOUR WEBSITE PAGESPEED
The simplest way to test your existing website is with google page speed test. You enter you URL to see your current result.