You might have heard that “first impressions last” and believe me, it does most of the time.
If a person’s attitude or physical appearance leaves a big impression on us, the same goes for a website. For instance, your site’s speed can most certainly leave an impression on your customer when they visit your website for the first time. This factor, as early as the first few seconds of loading, could already determine if the prospective customer will convert or not.
Some businesses tend to skip optimizing their site speed as they are more focused on other stuff like putting in good content and having the aesthetics value that they think consumers would love. The other items they actually choose to invest in like all this other content could actually slow down their site even more. Big mistake! A site’s speed needs to be a top priority and one that needs to be fixed ASAP!
Google conducted a research on 11 million mobile landing pages and they found that 70% of those they tested took about 7-10 seconds for all the visual contents to load up.
These 10 seconds could cost you a lot, and you’ll know why in a bit.
Let’s explore why site speed is a factor we should give some attention to if we want to give users a great experience.
Site speed as a search engine metric
Site speed is a factor in giving great user experience and for Google, user experience is everything. They send out their crawlers to check pages on their relevance to distinct searches.
If their activities are slowed down by the site speed, it’s a big possibility that they’re only able to “crawl” through less of your pages, resulting in only a few of your pages appearing in relevant searches.
Google even considers a slow site speed as a negative factor when ranking websites.
Research has also been done to see if the site speed does affect a site’s ranking. After some thorough data gathering and analysis, they concluded that the faster the site speed, the higher their Google search results ranking is.
Some user experience metrics that also affect your rankings are tied closely to site speed. These include:
- Bounce rate – A slow website will cause people to leave immediately
- Average time on site – Slow loading page elements will cause people to leave sooner than you would like.
- Pages per session – Your website visitors will not hang around a slow loading website let alone visit multiple pages on it.
- Conversions – Slow site speed will drastically reduce your conversion rate due to reasons above and trust factors.
Be sure you are tracking metrics like these using this complete list of the best analytics tools essential for optimizing your online business.
User impatience and website competitiveness
Would you believe that a human’s attention span is lower than that of a goldfish? A study by Microsoft shows that an average human loses their attention after 8 seconds. On the other hand, a goldfish has a span of 9 seconds!
If someone is on your site and it is loading for 10 seconds where all they see is a blank screen, chances are, they will just leave and search for other sites that are faster than yours.
Those sites can be your competitors, and losing your customers to them means losing sales for you.
Site speed as a sign of niche authenticity
One of the impressions a fast loading site can give your customer is that it is authentic and secure – that you mean clean interaction and no monkey business at all.
We can compare it to slow service at a restaurant. If your food order takes longer than expected, you might leave a bad review and might not even go back anymore. Slow site speed could be just as bad too.
A sluggish site that takes forever to load seems to be a fraud and unsafe for people who visit the site. No one wants to stay on an unsecured looking site.
Being fast can be equivalent to being professional and being efficient. It can make your visitors trust your site and allow them to continue browsing, which would eventually convince them to buy your products. Those satisfied customers could even lead their family and friends to your business.
A big win for your business, just by simply providing a great user experience! Learn about more big wins for your business from this free digital marketing crash course for bosses.
Site speed as a main marketing factor
If being slow makes your site look like a fraud site, then it will definitely have an effect on your marketing and conversions. The lesser people that will visit your site, the smaller your sales opportunity will be.
Other sources even showed facts that 47% of internet users expect a page to load within 2 seconds or less, while 40% of customers abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. It’s crazy to think that 1 second makes such a difference, but it does. This much of a probability can lead to losing sales opportunities which is a downfall to your marketing campaigns.
Another study shows that a one second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. To solve this problem and lessen the delay, start optimizing your site’s images and files by using the right size images and file types.
Take note that you need to consider optimizing your site as well to load quickly on all platforms, not just on desktops but especially on mobile devices as a greater percentage of people who open their emails or do online shopping do it on their mobile phones.
Now that you understand better about site speed and its effect on your site, it is important to do some testing to know if your site speed is up to par or not.
Track down the causes of the slowness of your site and do the optimizations needed as soon as possible.
Always keep in mind that a great user experience is the key to your success. So long as your customers feel that they are offered the best experience, then you can be sure that your business will be generating income and a good reputation in no time.
About the Author
Steve Page is the VP of Digital Strategy for Giant Partners, a full-service data and digital marketing agency that accelerates leads and drives sales. Steve has been in the digital marketing industry for 10+ years and enjoys keeping up with the latest trends for the success of his clients. When he is not focused on marketing, he is enjoying the outdoors in one way or another.