What are your online customers’ expectations, and can your website meet them? It is not going to be enough to have a well-designed website if your customers find your website speed too slow and frustrating to use.
“Surveys have shown that nearly half of web users now expect sites to load within two seconds or less,” explains Lucy Atkins, Creative Director of Infused Media. “If it gets to three seconds, they will abandon the site and move on to another.”
“Slow website loading speeds aren’t just an inconvenience, they can have a serious impact on business performance”
“You risk losing prospective customers, and damaging your online reputation, if your site fails to perform to expectations,” warns Lucy.
People dissatisfied with a website’s performance are less likely to return and make a purchase from it. Furthermore, bad news spreads like wildfire, which means one person’s dissatisfaction can soon become someone else’s disinterest.
“What has become clear is that online, seconds count,” Lucy says. “That one-second of waiting time might well mean a difference between a conversion and a lost sale. It can also mean losing potential visitors to your website if they get the impression it’s not worth their while.”
Is Website Speed a Search Issue?
When Google experimented with changing its search-engine results pages, increasing them to 30 entries from 10, the slower page loading time led to a 20% drop in traffic.
“The internet is all about instant gratification, for better or worse,” says Lucy. “Google’s own experience was that the longer loading time was only half a second, but this still led to significantly less traffic.”
“Load time is not a major factor in Google rankings – relevance carries more weight – but it is crucial in customer confidence”
“Think beyond rankings and consider the customer experience. You need people to trust your site. Conversion rates count, and this is where website speed matters.”
Is a Slow Site Fixable?
“Arrange to audit your website thoroughly,” proposes Lucy. “You want a clear picture of its current performance, and pointers to what you must do to improve it.”
Fixing a slow-loading site then means optimising its performance.
“Images, for example, may take up more than half of a website’s memory load. You must, therefore, make sure your images are properly optimised for the web,” suggests Lucy.
“From the evidence, even improving a site’s load speed by a few seconds may make a huge difference to conversion rates”
“Optimise your site with conversions in mind. Ultimately, it’s there to boost your business, so make this your main objective for it.”
“Finally, ensure your site is optimised for mobile use,” Lucy says. “Around 70% of people’s media time is spent on their smartphones. However, some sites still perform poorly on mobiles.”
“Businesses must meet their customers’ expectations,” Lucy concludes. “In part this should be achieved with websites that perform consistently, and that are accessible, intuitive and fast.”
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