How long would you wait in line in store to make a purchase before feeling frustrated and taking your money elsewhere? Five minutes? Fifteen? The online experience should be fast, easy and convenient.
So when it’s not, it’s easier for your customers or audience to close your window and instantly move to your competitor’s website that’s faster and easier to use. Read why page load time matters, and how to fix it.
Does site speed really matter?
The short answer: Yes.
The long answer, however, is a bit more complicated. Regardless of your site objectives – be it lead generation, brand awareness or sales – a slow website can negatively affect your end result.
Surveys show that almost half of online users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less, and they’ll leave if it hasn’t loaded within 3 seconds!
Almost 50% of online shoppers said they wouldn’t return for future purchases if site performance was poor, plus they would talk negatively about a site experience to a friend. At the end of the day, a poor online shopping experience means 64% will take their business elsewhere.
Can you afford to lose your current and potential customers due to a few seconds’ wait time and bad word of mouth?
So how fast is my site?
There are a range of online tools that will help you gage your website’s speed. Keeping in mind that the industry standard is a 2 second load time, you’ll be able to see how long it takes for your site to load as well as how it compares to similar sites online. You’ll also be shown a range of areas to improve, although they can be quite technical and should be addressed by a professional web developer.
See how your website speed stacks up here.
How do I fix it?
There are a range of ways to decrease your site speed. Generally, your site will load slowly due to size, so there’s a number of ways to clean up your site and optimise page load.
Optimise your image sizes by using the Photoshop legacy tool ‘Save for web’ as you’ll be able to see clearly how the quality of your image will be altered as you adjust its size. Ideally, your small images will be under 100KB and larger will be abound 200KB without compromising on quality. Keep in mind that they’ll be double for retina.
Discuss with your developer the option of using a cache plugin on your website. Essentially, regular visitors won’t be faced with loading the entire site each time as the browser will have stored the latest version. Each time they visit, the site will load previously stored data rather than being forced to generate the page.
Before installing plugins yourself, do a lot of research into when the software was developed, if it’s compatible with your version of CMS and how often it’s updated. Sometimes a plugin can interfere with custom code and crash a site, so your best bet is to talk to your web developer first.
Update your server
Ask your host if they’re running the latest version of php on their server, as this can drastically increase your site speed. Keep in mind that your site may need a few tweaks to ensure it’s compatible with the server, so again – talk to your developer first.
Consider swapping over to a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A Content Delivery Network, such as CloudFlare, uses servers all over the world to deliver information to a potential user rather than sending all data from one single location. This cuts down on site lag as the content will be delivered to the user from a server that is geographically close to them.
What are some of the other reasons site speed matters?
You may have heard that a fast-loading site ranks better on Google, and this is unfortunately true. The reason being? Google loves making user experience as great as possible, and a slow-loading site is not a good user experience. So if they realise that your site loads slowly, or that too many people are bouncing before it even loads, you’ll rank lower and receive less traffic.
So there you have it: site speed matters to your bottom line.
Want to chat to an expert on site speed? Give us a call today to discuss optimising your site: 1300 66 99 58
Jess Kumanovski, JTB Studios Account Manager
JTB Studios, Digital Agency Melbourne