Website load speed is the time it takes to fully display the content on a specific page, and as user behaviour evolves and they become less patient, it’s becoming more important than ever to make sure it’s as speedy as possible.
Google, along with other search engines, penalise sites that have a slow load speed, as this correlates with poor user experience. Google doesn’t view this favourably, and so it is reflected in their rankings. Meaning that site load speed has the power to make or break your site.
Amazon says that one second of load lag time would cost them $1.6 billion in sales each year” - a drastic example of the impact website speed can have on your business.
First Impressions Are Lasting Impressions!
For an online business, your web load speed is your ‘first impression’, so, as with any first impression, you want to make sure it’s a good one! Quick web load speed gives the user a stress free experience, and makes them feel in control, which means they’re more likely to spend longer on your website, and return in the future.
However, if your page loads slowly it can signal to the user that something isn’t quite right which can, hand in hand, make them question the professionalism of your company, causing them to drop off.
This is also referred to as a bounce rate which is the percentage of visitors who come to your site and leave after only viewing one page.The bounce rate is impacted by a number of factors, including load speed. Those who bounce only view one page before abandoning the site, therefore the load speed of that first, and only, page they view is extremely important.
How Does Web Speed Impact SEO?
Back in 2010 Google started to use site speed as a ranking signal, and it’s now more important than ever. To Google, the user comes first, and therefore poor user experience will reflect badly on your rankings. So for a better shot at SEO success it’s important to ensure that your website load speed is as quick as possible to avoid high bounce rates. Research by Google showed that the chance of a bounce increased by 32% when a page load time went from one to three seconds, and by 90% when the page load time went from one to five seconds. If a site takes up to 10 seconds to load, then the chance of a bounce increases to 123%.
How Does Web Speed Impact Conversion Rate?
Website performance has a heavy impact on the conversion rate - the percentage of users that visit the site who convert. For example, if 100 people visit a page advertising washing machines, and 5 users actually click the buy button, then the conversion rate would be 5%. Studies have shown that the quicker a web page loads the better the conversion rate. Showing how important a smooth user experience is to reaching the business’ desired outcome.
So, How Fast Should A Website Load?
The magic number that Google is looking at is 2 seconds!
The shorter the load time, the more you’ll boost customer confidence and trust in the website, increasing the chance of them returning, and encouraging others to visit it. Research has shown that if the site takes longer than 3 seconds to load you can risk losing 40% of your visitors, which is definitely not a risk worth taking! Recognising the problem is the first step, the next is to understand why the site is loading slowly and what you can do to improve things to speed it up.
How Can You Make a Website Load Faster?
So, what can you do to make your web page load faster? There are many factors that contribute to slower loading times, so here are just a few things you can do to help optimise your website:
Images are a vital part of any website. However if they’re not added correctly they can hinder your websites functionality and increase loading times. Go through your website and assess every image - Is it fulfilling its purpose? Is it taking up too much space? Could it be cut out? If you can remove it, do.
Upgrade your web hosting
Although you may have originally kept to a low budget host, in order to keep up with traffic it’s important to update your hosting plan. The plan you choose, along with the website will impact your site speed.
Uninstall unused plugins
Use of plugins is a great way of improving site performance, however too many can weigh your website down and slow down your load times. So it’s important to only download plugins that you’re actually going to use, and make sure to have regular clear outs.
Use a cache
Having caching enabled will mean your site speed will be quicker for returning visitors. As when a user visits your site all of the elements need to be loaded, these elements are then stored in a cache (a temporary storage on their hard drive), shortening the site load time.
How can Wriggle Marketing help?
Here at Wriggle Marketing we offer a full web design service, so if you’re wanting to increase your site load speed or make any other improvements to optimise your website, then contact us today!