The Importance of Website Loading Speed

site-speedWhen you design and build a website for your business, no doubt most of the effort went into creating useable navigation, SEO friendly content and a smart overall image. But did you stop to consider the importance of the speed of the site itself?

Many factors can affect the loading speed of your web pages, from the speed of the DNS request to the server response time. Research has shown that slow-loading websites could cost your business dearly – so here are some key facts to absorb to help you understand the importance of your sites loading speed.

1. Customers expect pages to load in under three seconds

In a study by Akamai published in 2009, 47 per cent of shoppers were found to expect a website to load within 2 seconds or less, and a whopping 40 per cent demonstrated that they would abandon a website that took more than 3 seconds to load. 14 per cent said they would shop on another site if their chosen site was too slow and 23 per cent would stop their shopping activity altogether.

2. Customers will leave and not come back

In a similar study by Gomez in 2013, 75 per cent of shoppers said they would defer to a competitors site rather than wait for pages to load, and 88 per cent said they would not come back to that site again. Added to this, over 35 per cent said they would tell friends and relatives about their experience on a slow, frustrating website.

3. Just a one second delay could lose 7 per cent in conversions

A company called TagMan ran an experiment with a glasses retailer to see how slower loading affected conversions. They found that conversion rates peaked when pages loaded in under two seconds, dropping by 6.7 per cent for each additional second the customer was made to wait.

4. Google dislikes slow sites

Since 2010, Google has included site-loading speeds in the algorithm they use to give your site a ranking on the search results pages. Although they tend only to penalise very slow sites (those which take 7 seconds or more to load), they also take note of the number of ‘bounce backs’ in their ranking calculations. These are customers who visit your site and immediately return to the search results page. Sites which take longer than 3 seconds to load will have a high bounce-back rate, so whichever way you look at it, your SEO will be damaged if your site is too sluggish.

What can you do about it?

From your side of the fence, it can be difficult to know whether your site is performing well or not, and without knowing where you are right now, it is impossible to optimise loading speeds. The first step to take is to conduct a simple site speed test to see exactly how your customer perceives your pages. From here you can go on to analyse the things that might be slowing it down, and rectify any issues and to ensure you are achieving the optimum speeds for your customers.

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