How Important is Website Speed for Conversion

Takeaway:

In today’s world, people expect websites to load quickly. If your site is slower than expected, you are losing out on sales and visitors. There are many ways you can improve your website’s speed. In this article, you will learn two methods to increase the speed of your website and the benefits you will gain from it.

Table of Contents

The Impact of Loading Speed on Conversion Rates

Have you ever been in a situation where your website takes forever to load? Do you know that slow website speed can cost you $3.7 Billion every year? According to KISSMetrics, 54% of people expect a website to load in 2 seconds or less. If your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, you are losing visitors and sales. The speed at which your website loads has been proven to have a significant impact on conversion rates and sales. If you want to optimize your website for conversions, you need to make sure it loads quickly.

Speed is an underrated element of UX. While it may not be the most important factor in design, the impact it has on your conversion rates is a great one. This is because, as many studies have shown, people are becoming more and more impatient towards slow loading websites. According to a study by Akamai, the average load time of an e-commerce website was 2.7 seconds in 2016. In 2011, the number was 3.9 seconds. Faced with a site with slow loading times, Akamai states that 50% of unhappy users will go to a competing site and 35% of those users will have a negative perception of that brand. Even more worrying, Akamai’s research states that over a fifth or 22% of those dissatisfied users will never return to the slow site.

We’ve all heard that “speed is of the essence” but for ecommerce sites, this is especially true. A quick site equals a happy user, which leads to conversions. Google handles over 40,000 searches per second and has publicly stated that website speed is a ranking factor for search results and that speed is a key factor for conversions. Even if you’re not too concerned with SEO (Search Engine Optimization), it is important to optimize your website for speed in order to best serve your users. Matt Mullenweg (of WordPress fame) reminded business owners to remember the importance of how the user feels while interacting with their site: “My theory here is when an interface is faster, you feel good. And ultimately what that comes down to is you feel in control. The web app isn’t controlling me, I’m controlling it. Ultimately that feeling of control translates to happiness in everyone.”

When it comes to your website’s speed, you just can’t afford to be slow. In fact, a study by Akamai Technologies found that nearly half of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less. Many users will abandon websites that don’t load quickly enough. Research done by Amazon has discovered that 1 second of load lag time would cost them $1.6 billion in sales per year. The bottom line is that consumers today are more impatient than ever. If they don’t find what they want quickly, they will leave your site and look elsewhere.

The speed of your website is vital to its usability and functionality. Crazyegg has discovered that speeding up a page by just one second can boost conversions by 7%. That means if a site makes $100,000 per day, a one-second improvement would generate another $7,000 daily. Walmart tested this theory and at the end of their website speed optimization, they reported they experienced up to a 2% increase in conversions for every one second of site speed improvement, and for every 100 ms of improvement, they grew incremental revenue by up to 1%. If that is not enough to convince you, the results of these case studies provide real world numbers that show the benefits of making your site faster.

The Benefits of Faster Website Load Times

A slow website makes for a low conversion rate. Conversion Rate is the number of visitors that go to your website and fulfill a targeted objective. It’s calculated as a percentage, taking into account the overall number of site visits as well as the total number of visitors that completed the objective. Successful marketing and web design are marked by a high conversion rate. It indicates that people desire what you’re selling and can access it easily.

Enhance the User Experience

The primary motivation for speeding up a website is to improve the user experience. The majority of website owners go to great lengths to captivate visitors with their content and aesthetics, but the true first impression is the time it takes for their website to load. Since 1994, research has shown that speed is a critical factor in usability. Slow loading times contribute to a higher user bounce rate. Bounce rate is a phrase used in online traffic analysis in Internet marketing. It reflects the percentage of visitors that come to the site and then leave without viewing any further pages on the site. Would you stay on a site, or much more buy something from a website, that takes an inordinate amount of time to load? Slow websites indicate inefficiency and create a distrust in customers that have been known to result in a failure to acquire visitors’ confidence in sharing personal and payment information.

Meet Marketing Objectives

Optimizing your site’s loading speed will assist you in achieving your marketing objectives. Whether you want to increase conversions, decrease bounce rates, increase revenues, or just enhance customer service, there is plenty  of evidence that points to a quick website having a positive impact on all of these indicators, particularly on revenue.

Increase Sales

A fast-performing website is more important to your business than you may realize. According to a study by BrandPerfect, after polling 2500 online buyers in the UK, two-thirds of respondents (67%) said that a sluggish website was the top cause for them foregoing a planned purchase. The motivation to stay on a site dwindles quickly when people are frustrated. Studies show that people can become aware of delays as small as 1/10th of a second. One second is enough to disrupt a person’s conscious cognitive process, turning the experience into one of waiting for the system to catch up rather than feeling like you’re in direct control of the system you’re using. When a website takes more than three seconds to load, 40% of visitors will leave it. According to studies, 47% of customers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less. With this in mind, it’s clear that putting speed first and reducing website loading times as much as possible can have a big influence on your earnings and total conversion.

Improve SEO Positioning

Google is without a doubt the most popular search engine, with over 70% of the market share. Websites must achieve good scores according to the Google PageRank algorithm in order to be found in the online search results. To achieve a high ranking, Google takes into account the time it takes for a website to load, as well as other user experience-related factors such as bounce rate and page visits. As Google’s primary purpose is to meet the demands of its users, it penalizes sites that fail to provide this level of standard and value to their visitors by lowering their ranking, making the sites harder to find.

How to Improve Your Website Loading Speed

How can you increase website speed? This is a question many people ask. Your website is a digital representation of your business or brand. Whether you’re a business person or a blogger, things like your site’s performance and design play a big part in how professional and credible you are perceived to be. It is a large influencing factor of the reputation you will form and how much business you will bring in. Your site’s overall loading time makes the difference when it comes to a positive or a negative user experience. Given the importance of website performance, optimizing your site should be a priority for your company.

There are lots of things that can be done to improve your site speed. To start, use a program like Google PageSpeed Insights Tool or GTmetrix to do a website speed test to see where your website stands in terms of performance. The speed score and results you receive are thorough, and you also get a diagnostic and optimization options to help your website load faster. Beyond this, here are some simple suggestions that you can implement on your own.

Optimize Your Images

One of the options is to simply optimize your images. You can optimize your images by reducing or compressing their file size as much as possible without sacrificing their quality so that your page load times remain low. It is also about image SEO. Name your images descriptively and optimize your alt attributes carefully and in plain language so that they can rank on Google and other image search engines and come up more quickly. Studies show that by improving your page’s loading speed and SEO ranking, you can boost conversions and enhance customer engagement.

Use a CDN

Another easy option to speed up your website is to use Content Delivery Network (CDN). A content delivery network (CDN) is a highly-distributed group of servers that are linked together to provide fast delivery of Internet content. The servers are meant to minimize delays in loading web page content by reducing the physical distance between the server and the user. Today, the majority of web traffic is served through CDNs, including traffic from major sites like Facebook, Netflix, and Amazon. By using a CDN, your webpages will render faster, video buffering time will be reduced and your users will stay more engaged. Overall with a fast load time and quick website performance, online retailers and content providers get more business. Taking all of the above into account, it is clear that site performance is key to the success of your ecommerce site and is crucial for conversions.

Minify Your Coding

Remove spaces, commas, and other inessential characters from your code to make it more efficient. Additionally, delete any code comments, formatting, or unnecessary code. This can significantly improve the speed of your website. To aid you with this job, Google suggests using minifiers. These tools take your written code and run it through a series of focused optimizations to make the final result as minimal as possible for usage in a production environment. The phrase “production environment” is mostly used by developers to describe the stage in which software and other products are actually put into use for their intended purposes by end users.

Select a Good Hosting Provider

As we’ve learned, website speed is a key factor in how visitors perceive and interact with a site. The server you use has a significant impact on the time to first byte and the overall speed with which your pages load. While it’s perfectly normal to start with affordable shared hosting, once you start generating traffic, you need to be sure your hosting can keep up with the demands. There are several types of hosting available for you to learn about and choose from.

  • Shared Hosting — A shared web hosting service is one in which several websites are hosted on a single physical server that is linked to the Internet. A single server has the ability to accommodate hundreds of users. As the overall cost of server maintenance is spread over many customers sharing the one server, this is the most affordable option for hosting.
  • Dedicated Hosting — Dedicated hosting is an Internet hosting service in which a client rents a whole server that is not shared with anybody else. The consumer has total control over the single system, allowing them to tailor it to their own needs.
  • Cloud Hosting — Cloud Hosting is the fastest-growing type of hosting. It is based on a pay-per-use approach, which means you may utilize as much or as little processing power as you need. With cloud hosting, your website is hosted by a network of linked virtual and real cloud servers, allowing for more flexibility and scalability.
  • Managed Hosting — Managed hosting is a hosting model in which a service provider leases dedicated servers and related hardware to a single client and oversees those systems on behalf of that client. The provider handles the management and maintenance of the server, and is responsible for keeping their clients’ websites up and functioning at all times.

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