The Need for Speed: Why Must My Website Load Quickly?
Written by Stephen Scammell on Feb. 3rd 2022
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Your site taking a few extra seconds to load will have a negative impact on your ability to engage visitors and make sales. There's no getting around it. This means that having a fast site is essential — not just for ranking well with Google, but for keeping your bottom-line profits high.
Data shows websites that load within two seconds have an average bounce rate of 9%, while sites that load in five seconds see their bounce rates zoom out to 38%.
A fast-loading website leads to longer dwell sessions, improved engagement, and increased conversions. When people can access information fast, they're more likely to stay on your page. For those reasons, Google has made it a ranking factor. Hence, slow websites negatively impact search rankings.
It is important to understand that today’s buyer/customer/target audience is always online. This means that if they want to access information online, they will do it through their desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Also, this digital consumer is quite impatient. They do not give a second chance to websites that are not optimized for mobile devices or websites that take too long to load. If you want to make sure you don’t lose half your target market because your website takes forever to load, make sure you focus on your website’s speed.
Apart from the fact that your audience today is probably the most impatient generation of all time, you must understand that nobody likes a website that’s slow. Nevertheless, here are a few important reasons why website speed matters:
We’ve all heard the adage” the first impression is the last impression.” Well, that concept applies to websites as well. When a user visits your website for the first time, you can be sure that they will make a judgment about you, your website quality, and your business. It is highly recommended that you don’t botch this up because if your website is too slow or too difficult to navigate, that user is NOT coming back. So, if you want to make a strong first impression, make sure your website loads fast.
In-house testing at Amazon reveals that every 100-microsecond increase in load time translates into a 1 percent decrease in sales. Amazon showed they would lose $1.6 BILLION every year if they slowed down by just one second. If you have a slow loading website can your business really afford to lose revenue to a situation that can be fixed?
In 1999, two thirds of users were satisfied with download speeds of eight seconds or more. By 2006, one third of website visitors abandoned a site if it took more than four seconds.
If you’re wondering how your site speed compares to other businesses on the web, look at the following stats fromMOZ.com:
> 5 second load time: faster than 25% of websites
> 2.9 seconds load time: faster than 50% of websites
> 1.7 seconds load time: faster than 75% of websites
> .08 seconds load time: faster than 94% of websites
If you ignore the need for speed, you’ll lose customers, alienate followers, see an increase of bounce rates, and watch your conversion rates fall dramatically.
Did you know that approximately 80 percent of online shoppers rank quick page load times as the most influential factor in the decision to revisit a site? And an Akamai Technologies study reveals that unhappy shoppers are more likely to develop a negative view of a company if web pages are slow. These two facts alone demonstrate the importance of achieving the fastest page load time possible.
Google is considering mobile user experience more and more as the number of users who access the Internet on the move continues to rise.
What is the Google recommended page load time?
If you want a quick answer, the Google recommended page load time is under two seconds: “Two seconds is the threshold for ecommerce website acceptability. At Google, they aim for under a half-second.” For them fast matters, especially when it comes to customer service.
So now you're probably wondering, “How fast should my website be?”
Ideally, you'll want your website to load within three seconds, or two seconds if it's an ecommerce site. The two-to-three second mark is the turning point where bounce rates skyrocket.
How does website speed affect SEO?
The simple answer is that page speed is a direct ranking factor with Google's Algorithm and hence does affect SEO. However, speed can also affect rankings indirectly, by increasing the bounce rate and reducing dwell time.
A high bounce rate tells search engines that users don’t find the page content useful, so its rankings will slip. And ecommerce sites will inevitably lose customers if their checkout page is even a little bit slower than those of the competition. Your goal is to enhance the user experience because you want those users to keep coming back.
Performance must be a continuous goal to improve acquisition, discovery, and conversion rates as well as safeguarding the reputation of your brand.
Great websites make businesses more trustworthy. According to web credibility research from Stanford University, 75% of users judge a company’s credibility based on the quality of their website. Many factors contribute to a user’s positive or negative experience on a site like the way it is designed, load speed, content quality, ease of navigation, usability and more. Competition online is accelerating, so it’s important to ensure your website is performing optimally across all these criteria.
The goal of digital marketing is to attract people to try out your products or services. Never forget – website speed is important for good user experience.
What we’ve discussed above clearly establishes the importance of speed as a key requirement to achieve high e-commerce conversions, so it must be a priority for business owners to be aware of, monitor and seek to continuously improve.
In summary, speed is very important to a website’s success! Even the slightest improvements in page load time will help you slash bounce rates, boost conversion rates, and see your site climb the search engine rankings.