Did you know that a two-second delay in website load time can increase conversion loss chance by 103%?
If you’re aiming for a competitive edge, paying attention to website performance could be a key factor in securing a better conversion rate. Page load speed is a fundamental metric, and according to Google, if your page loads between 1-3 seconds, the probability of a bounce increases by 32%. Poor website performance can make or break your business, and in further text, we’re going to discuss how website performance affects conversion rates and what you can do to make your website faster.
Why is site speed so important?
It’s important to understand that no one likes a slow website. Website speed affects critical metrics such as search engine rankings, bounce rate, conversion rate, user experience, and total revenue, among other parameters.
In 2018. Google introduced a significant algorithm update where a website speed became a relevant ranking factor. Since then, you can notice more and more people and professionals talk about website performance and its importance for businesses. Here are a few crucial reasons for having a fast website:
A higher ranking on major search engines means more organic traffic to your website, resulting in more conversions and, ultimately, higher revenue.
Lower bounce rate
The bounce rate is directly connected with a page load speed, and the higher it is, the higher chance the user will bounce. Did you know that a bounce rate is one of Google’s ranking factors? It means the higher bounce rate you have, the Google algorithms could consider your page irrelevant to search query and decrease your rankings.
Higher conversion rate
If the user bounces from your website due to slow load time, you’re losing potential customers. Having a fast website isn’t a ‘one-fits-all’ solution for increasing a conversion rate, but it’s a solid base everyone should aim for. Did you know that a 100-millisecond delay can decrease conversion rates by 7%?
A 2-second delay can reduce conversions by 26%, which is enormous as just a tiny detail can drastically impact your revenue, user satisfaction, and a brand reputation. Even huge and established businesses such as Walmart reported a 2% increase in conversions for every decreased second in page load time.
Sustainable and cheaper website management
Every website has to be hosted on the server that holds all the websites’ data and serves the users’ requests. Fast websites use fewer server resources due to efficient optimization, which ultimately saves costs on website hosting.
Why your website is slow and what to do about it
Once you understand the importance of having a fast website, it’s time to measure the website performance and perform specific tweaks that will make your website stand out in terms of speed. Before doing any further optimizations, try running your website through a website speed tester to better measure your user experience around the globe. This can provide useful guidance on improving the overall website speed and performance.
Currently, the best website speed tools are PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom, and GTmetrix. It’s simple to use these tools as you input your domain and get results in a few seconds. Also, it’s worth mentioning these tools are free, but some of the implementations are complex and require specialized knowledge. Be sure to back up your website before performing any significant changes and optimizations. (Source)
In the picture above, you can see the website performance for a specific domain tested using Pingdom. The tool provides you with valuable tips on improving the website performance and detailed process of performing these optimizations. For instance, you can see that the website we’ve tested doesn’t use Gzip compression, which can reduce the page size by 70% and increase the website speed.
Once you’ve performed a website speed test using different tools, you’ll have a better understanding of what makes your website slow and how to improve it. Here are the main reasons why your website is slower than average.
#1- Website hosting
Website hosting is the first thing to check before doing any further website speed optimizations. Even if you optimize your website flawlessly, you may not achieve optimal speed and load times if your hosting is slow.
Shared hosting plans are very prevalent nowadays as it gives a good value for money invested, but if you’re managing a serious business, the shared hosting can only bring you problems. Shared hosting, as the name suggests, works on a principle that many users share the resources of one server, which can negatively impact the website performance.
For those just starting out, you can get reliable web-hosting for $8-$15 per month, depending on which provider you go with. When choosing, try to go for a host that includes a free domain, free CDN (content delivery network) access, and has servers located close to your customers.
Select hosts do make you pay for these features, as each of these will help to ensure your site is as fast and efficient as possible, while remaining economical. Picking the right web hosting is the base for building a fast website, so don’t forget to do your research and read web hosting reviews before commiting to a long-term plan.
#2- Excessive number of ads
People get tempted when they understand the potential of traffic monetization through ads. Nowadays, the ads use media-rich formats that create many HTTP requests the same moment the ad is displayed. Excessive HTTP requests will slow down your overall website speed and load time because it requires extra processing power and resources.
While some dedicated servers can handle the high number of HTTP requests without compromising the website speed, it’s not an efficient usage of resources. On the other hand, excessive ads and pop-ups can lead to lower conversion and higher bounce rates. Display ads only where it’s appropriate and never compromise the optimized UX with excessive usage of ads.
#3- Unoptimized visual content
Using unoptimized visual content on your website will drastically increase the page load speed. Almost every website that experiences a slow page load uses unoptimized visual content that’s too big in size. You should perform specific optimizations to avoid a slow load time if you’re planning to upload high-resolution photography on your website.
For instance, JPEG formats are smaller than PNG or other popular formats, so if your original photo isn’t in JPEG format, you can easily convert it. Once you have a specific image format, it’s time to compress the image. Every image that exceeds 1MB of size is not acceptable, so check the dimensions of all images before uploading. If you’re using WordPress, we recommend compressing images with Smush. Smush does everything for you, including format optimization, compression, and lazy loading, which drastically increase website speed.
#4- Flash content
Having flashy and interactive elements on your website can be great for your users, but these elements tend to reduce the website speed. For instance, flash files were relevant a few years ago when you were aiming for an interactive website.
Nowadays, Flash elements are bulky and take too much time to load, which increases overall website performance. You should find those Flash elements and replace them with HTML5 elements, which are way lighter and serve as an excellent alternative that will keep your website fast.
When it comes to your on-page content, it’s best to stick with just text and low file size images for the best results. Moreover, other useful features such as lazy-loading images, Minifying your JS and CSS, are additional ways you can increase page load speeds through optimizing the way you display and load content.
#5- Server caching and CDN
Caching your website is one of the most efficient ways to improve your website speed. Website caching stores the copy of your website files in the user’s browser, which serves a cached copy of your website to users instead of reloading and getting all the data again. If you’re using WordPress, many plugins enable automatic caching, such as WP Super Cache. It’s essential to configure the plugin before seeing website speed improvements.
Also, delivering your content through Content Delivery Network (CDN) can boost your website speed, especially if the users live around the world. CDN is a network of geographically distributed servers that store a copy of your website.
For instance, if the original server is located in NYC, and the user wants to access your website from Singapore, it takes time (milliseconds) to reach an original server. CDN, on the other hand, will provide the user with a website copy from the network’s nearest server. That way, you’re drastically reducing the page load speed and security, among others.
Website speed matters so never stop optimizing your website!
As you can see, the website speed matters, and it can make or break your business. Focus on constant improvement of your website speed to get a competitive edge, increase conversion rates, and overall revenue. Be sure to pick a reliable and fast hosting, optimize your visual content, use caching and CDN, and don’t overdo with ads.