Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Your Website Page Load Time

Thursday 05th, May 2016

How often have you landed on a website that takes forever to load? Quite often, isn’t it?

Have you wondered if yours could be that site? And perhaps your visitors are feeling the same frustration as you did!

Definitely you don’t want to be that site that’s slow to load – where people abandon it even before they can take any action.

Your website needs to deliver a good user experience that will leave people feeling great working with you. And page load speed is an important factor behind it.

So what is the good/proper/optimum page load speed?

Good Page Speed

Ideally speaking your page load time should be less than 2 seconds.

If it’s between 3 to7 seconds, it is pretty average and you’ll lose conversions and revenue if you don’t act on it. Anything above 10 seconds is considered bad and you need to fix the site immediately.

There are various tools to test your page load time – Pingdom is one such tool. You can fix your site by minimizing http requests, optimizing the images, removing the unused plugins in your site and many other tactics.

So what are the possible issues you might have with a poor loading website and why you should start paying attention to it? Let’s find out.

Affects Your Bounce Rates

Bounce rates are the best indicators of visitor interaction. If people immediately leave the site upon landing, you have a high bounce rate and vice versa.

For a slow loading site, the bounce rates are always going to be high – for people leave your site before it loads. You might have an out-of-the-world impressive content and great offers, yet people will abandon you, reason – high bounce rate.

Truth be told, bounce rates don’t describe the complete functionality of your site – yet they indicate whether people are sticking on your site or not – which is a direct indicator of visibility that gives people more chances to buy from you.

There are hard facts to support the claim. Load Storm says that a mere 1 second increase in load time could mean 11% fewer page views. Also, 25% of the visitors leave a site that doesn’t load in 4 seconds. 46% of the people never return to slow, poor performing sites.

Google Ranking Factor

Google has already announced that site loading speed is a ranking factor. Though it’s not a strong factor, it will give you the extra push to place you ahead of the competition in the search engine results.

In addition to it, slow loading pages affect the indexing of your site by Google. Naturally with less indexed pages, your rank won’t be competitive. Hence if you’re looking to increase organic traffic through search engines, you better fix the page load issues.

Impacts Conversion Rates

Slow loading site -> High Bounce rate -> Poor Visibility -> Fewer conversions

Slow loading sites have a cascading effect on your business goals. When fewer people visit your site, obviously your conversions take a hit, leading to poor sales – which is not a favorable situation to be in.

Also faster loading sites show up higher in the rankings, meaning more search engine traffic.

In terms of conversions, a second’s delay in load time could result in 7% fewer conversions and a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction.

Some examples that illustrate fast loading pages lead to better results:

  • Mozilla greatly benefitted from page load optimization. They reduced their page load speed by 2.2 seconds which resulted in 60 million more Firefox downloads each year.
  • Amazon reduced their page speed by 1 second leading to a 2% increase in conversion – indicating more profit!
  • Shopzilla got a 25% increase in page views when their page speed by 3 seconds. What more – a 7 to 12 percent increase in revenue and 50% less hardware to run their site!

Indicates Quality of Web host

Finding the cause behind a slow website may not be easy. You might have tried reducing the unnecessary plugins, compressing images, and still not able to find the problem. If that’s the case – the culprit might be your web host.

A user’s request has to connect with the server where the website is hosted and in most cases – shared. Typically, shared web hosting leads to slower sites because multiple sites use the same server resources.

Shared web hosting might not affect the performance of your site till it is small. Once you choose to expand your features and add new pages, you’ll notice the lacking elements.

Once it is established that your web host is a problem, switch to a better one. Good web hosts such as Blue host offer faster load speeds and better reliability. I’ve often seen site owners focus on attractive web design and copy-writing and completely ignore the important factor – page speed. Hence carefully research on your requirements and choose a better option accordingly.

Never ruin your users’ experience with a slow site – it will backfire !

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