There are numerous factors a webmaster needs to take into consideration in order to improve conversion rates: from digital marketing efforts to search engine optimization.
One of the factors that can negatively impact a visitor’s impression of your business is slow website loading speed.
This article discusses how poor website performance – aka slow loading times – affect visitor engagement and overall user experience.
We will also take a look into several actionable steps to improve your website’s speed.
Page Load Speeds Affect The User Experience
As much as 75% of online shoppers will bounce if a page takes more than three seconds to load, while 47% of website visitors expect a website to load in just two seconds.
This major website abandonment rate was confirmed by Google: 53% of users will abandon a page if it doesn’t load within three seconds, according to their findings.
Websites that pass the ten second loading time mark risk the possibility of seeing a 123% increase in bounce rates!
It is evident how this can affect your website’s conversion rates – shoppers simply do not tolerate long website loading times.
For every additional second in loading times, customer satisfaction decreases 16%.
Your website risks negative results for every extra second it takes to load. It impacts the website’s ability to engage customers and provide satisfactory client service. It also impacts the customer’s willingness to buy from you.
Website Speed Impacts Your Sales
Potential customers as well as existing ones may feel demotivated from doing business with you if your website exceeds what they deem acceptable loading times.
In fact, 40% of these dissatisfied users will make sure they tell everyone about their poor experience with your website, thus impacting a wider demographic that may buy from you.
To add to this grim statistic, HubSpot’s study reveals that 80% of users will not buy again from a website with poor user experience, creating a massive loss in return sales segment.
Returning visitors and customer lifetime value are vital metrics for any online shop: they account for almost 50% of all eCommerce transactions.
Portend’s study provided findings that show how important page speed is for conversions and making sales: they found that the first five seconds of page load time impact conversion rates the most.
To improve transaction conversions, webmasters should aim for 0-2 seconds loading time. Websites that load this fast have an average conversion rate of 8.11%.
Mobile Website Speed Impacts Google Rankings And Online Visibility
In July 2018, mobile page loading speeds became a Google search results ranking factor.
This was in line with the trend that evolved only a year later: over 50% of all internet traffic is made over mobile devices.
It’s not enough to just optimize your desktop website’s loading speeds – in order to be recognized by Google as a trustworthy, quality website, you need to make the smartphone version of your website load quickly too.
In 2017, Google unveiled the mobile-first index that ranks mobile websites according to performance factors such as speed.
Any full service digital agency can confirm that improving your mobile site’s loading speeds is essential to capturing your prospects attention, getting in front of your potential customers and improving your online credibility.
4 Best Practices For Improving Your Website’s Loading Speeds
So far, we’ve established why website speed matters for conversion rates and how poor loading speeds impact user behavior.
Now let’s take a look at several essential steps for improving website loading times.
Reduce Image Sizes
The size of website images can negatively impact website loading speeds.
For eCommerce websites, images are a crucial aspect of the conversion funnel, so you need to be very strategic when optimizing them so as not to sacrifice their quality.
Use professional software and online image optimization tools that save images for the web and reduce their sizes. A significant reduction in image sizes can also reduce the amount of time a user needs to wait before interacting with the website by almost 70%.
Resizing the actual dimensions of an image as well as optimizing its “weight” provides the best and most effective results in this regard.
Eliminate Unnecessary Plugins
Excessive plugins and third-party components can slow a website down significantly.
Identify those that do not add valuable functionality and do not enhance your website experience in any way. Remove them and make sure to update outdated plugins in order to improve their performance.
Enable Browser Caching
Another common cause of slow websites is disabled browser caching.
Visitors who come to your website for the first time will download all the files that comprise your website, including HTML and JS files, and other documents and files.
This may take up to three seconds. Enabling browser caching will save these files so the device won’t have to download them again when the visitor comes back to your website.
However, disabled browser caching will require the same procedure to be repeated, resulting in slow loading times every time the visitor comes to your website. Enabling browser caching brings down the loading times for returning users.
Tidy Up Your Code
Too many coding files can slow the website down, too. It’s not just the amount of files that does it: it’s also the way the code is written.
The external file would only require for the document to be loaded one time for each website visit.
What Tools Can You Use To Measure Your Website’s Performance?
In case you are not sure how fast or slow your website is loading – that is, you have a vague idea, but need some exact data – there are online tools that you can use, free of charge, that will help you establish this.
There are plenty of website speed tests online, some of which include:
- Google PageSpeed
- GT Metrix
All of these tools work essentially the same way: simply enter your website URL and the software in the background will perform a detailed analysis of your website’s speed.
When facing a low conversion rate issue, webmasters and business decision-makers should not neglect the question of website speeds.
Although it may not seem like a big problem on the surface, it affects people’s perception of your business and their behavior in more ways than you may think.
The fact that slow websites are punished by Google and rank low in search results is a direct threat to your visibility, brand reputation and general business wellbeing.
If you recognize any of the symptoms mentioned in this article in your own website, address this issue by reaching out to web design and development professionals who will be able to diagnose your website speed issues and provide optimal solutions.