3 Key Reasons Why Website Loading Speed Matters

3 key reasons why website loading speed matters feature image

You could be losing business because of your site’s loading speed. It’s a simple fact, but it’s a big mistake that business owners continue to make year on year. If you read last week’s blog you’ll have seen us identify it as a one of the five crucial factors in maintaining a well-designed and smoothly functioning website. There are lots of reasons why it’s a key consideration, but we’ve narrowed it down into three main categories.

The 3 key reasons your site’s loading speed matters are:

  1. It affects customers’ first impressions of your site.
  2. It could be losing you sales.
  3. It affects your site’s visibility in search rankings.

So – ready to find out why?

  1. It Makes A Poor First Impression On Your Customers

    man waiting for website to load

Your website’s loading speed is the very first impression you make on your customers, which makes it a critical factor in minimising your bounce rate. In case you’ve not heard the term before, your bounce rate is defined as the amount of visitors who visit your site and leave instantly, without viewing any other pages on it. A high bounce rate means that a lot of your customers are losing interest almost immediately in your website, so it’s a number that you’ll obviously want to keep as low as possible. Even the smoothest, most beautifully designed website in the world won’t have a chance to sell anything if your customers never make it past the first page!

Here are a few key stats:

  • It takes less than 3 seconds for users to decide whether to stay on a website
  • Patience for mobile sites is a little higher, but not by much. Most users wait between 6-10 seconds, and no more
  • 47% of users expect loading times of less than 2 seconds
  • 40% will abandon the site entirely if loading times are longer than 3 seconds

If your website isn’t loading fast enough for your customers, the sad truth is that many of them won’t think twice about going elsewhere. By ensuring your website maintains quick loading speeds, you can easily minimise your bounce rate in turn, preventing potential customers from being put off your site.

  1. Slow Load Times Could Be Losing You Sales

sales performance

Even for customers who decide to stay on your site, website loading speed is still a vital consideration. Lengthy loading times can make navigation tedious and frustrating for your website visitors, which has a negative impact on their overall user experience. As you might imagine, this has a big knock-on effect on the conversion rate of your site. We’ve talked in detail about conversion rates before, but a conversion goal is basically defined as a desirable action that you want users to perform on your website. Pages that are slow to load generally suffer from lower user engagement. This means that once a page has loaded, people spend much less average time on it, and perform fewer desirable actions while they’re there. (At Twentyone, we can generally identify issues like these through our Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) service.)

For a large-scale example of what we’re talking about, you only have to look at online giant Amazon. They estimated that a slowdown of just a single second on their webpages could end up costing them $1.6 billion in sales each year through lost customers. Those are some big numbers! It just goes to show that no matter how massive or successful a business is, it’s never immune from the damage that slow loading times can cause.

  1. It Can Affect Your Rankings In Google’s Search Results

 seo performance

So we’ve talked about your customers’ views on it – what about Google’s? Well, the company has made several public acknowledgements in recent years that they take site speed into account when assessing the quality of sites in their rankings. It’s not quite as crucial for them as factors like relevance or authority, but that’s not to say it doesn’t matter.

If your desktop site takes longer than 2 seconds to load, it can ultimately end up hurting your rankings in Google’s Search Results, resulting in gradually reduced website traffic. And when you consider that a good proportion of this already-reduced traffic will be bouncing off your site for the same reasons, it should serve as even greater motivation for you to keep your site’s loading speeds fast!

Google itself does seem to have a keen focus on delivering content quickly to its users. The Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project is one example of this. Essentially, AMP aims to speed up content delivery on mobile devices by providing users with a stripped-down version of a normal HTML webpage. These basic versions can be loaded much faster than normal, dramatically cutting down on waiting times for users and improving the user experience. If your site doesn’t already support AMP, at Twentyone we’d definitely recommend looking into it.

From the technical side of things, there are lots of possible factors that could be affecting your site’s loading speed, from redundant banners and graphics to outdated background processes.

If you think your site isn’t running as quickly as it could be, don’t hesitate to contact the studio here at Twentyone, where our team of digital experts can conduct a full technical audit of your site, as part of our SEO service. Give us a call on 01254 660 560 or email us today on hello@twentyone.co.uk, and find out how we can help you make it on the web!

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter: @twentyoneagency

By Michael Cain | SEO, Web Design, Web Development | 13th Oct, 2017

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