about 31 GOOD REASONS 
YOU NEED A FASTER WEBSITE

Photo by Roger Burkhard on Unsplash

Of course website quality is important.  But read on to learn all the reasons why it should also be as fast as possible.



Of all the advice you'll hear today on the benefits of slowing down and taking it easy, I can guarantee that none of it will relate to your website.

It's the one area of your life that must be faster.  In fact, it can probably never be fast enough.

The number 1 reason people will leave your site in disappointment is that it's too slow.

If you like jaw-dropping statistics, read on ...

Too busy to read? 

Watch the video and get the gist in two and a half minutes.

How speed affects your website traffic

So, how can the speed of your website affect the number of people coming to see it?

There are two factors at work here.  

One is that site speed is a ranking factor; this has been acknowledged by all the major search engines; Google, Bing, Yahoo! and Baidu (these 4 search engines collectively account for 98.5% of global searches).  It's more important on some search engines (e.g. Baidu) than on others (Google), but it's still taken into account.

The second factor is more far-reaching.  Visitors who have to wait more than a few seconds for your website to load are very unlikely to return to your site, even if you've given them exactly what they were searching for in the first place.  

This is a vastly more important reason than the ranking factors as it's based on human reaction rather than secret algorithms. Very simply, a poor experience will stop people coming back to your site.  

First impressions last.  And since the first visit to a website is the slowest experience the visitor will ever have on your site (because there is nothing cached and all files must be downloaded), it makes it all the more crucial that this first impression is fast.

First impressions last.  When it comes to your #website, make sure this #firstimpression is fast.

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Way back when Marissa Mayer was still beloved by all, she talked about the experiments Google ran to get more people searching more often.  

People said they would like more than 10 search results per page.  They said 30 would be good.  So Google tested it and gave some users 30 results per page and others 10 results per page.  The results were surprising.

google surprising website loading speed result

Photo by 张 学欢 on Unsplash

Users who got 30 results per page searched a massive 20% LESS than those with 10 results per page.  Google searched and searched through logs, analysed the data and ultimately concluded that the reason was the page took twice as long to load with more results.  The difference in loading time?  Around half a second!

It turns out people don't know what they want after all!  Who knew?

"As Google gets faster, people search more, and as it gets slower, people search less."  said Mayer.  The same is true for your site; as it gets slower, people will use it less.

Some statistics, if you're interested in them:

  • A page loading time of more than 3 seconds means you will lose about 50% of your visitors
  • Google found that as little as a .5 second increase in load time can drop site traffic by 20%

How Speed affects your website Visitors 

This one is simple to understand.  Google also ranks pages by user interaction.  If lots of people leave your site before a page has fully loaded, this indicates a poor user experience.  

The faster your website, the happier your visitors will be.  Google will notice this.

As Shaun Anderson of Hoboweb says, "A fast site is a good user experience (UX), and a satisfying UX leads to higher conversions. ... Very slow sites are a bad user experience – and Google is all about good UX these days."

Some statistcis relevant to speed and visitors:

  • According to Akamai and Gomez.com, 47% of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less
  • 40% of visitors tend to abandon a site that isn’t loaded within 3 seconds
  • 79% of web shoppers who have trouble with web site performance say they won’t return to the site 
  • Sites that load in 5 seconds vs 19 seconds observed: 25% higher ad viewability (and) 70% longer average sessions (and) 35% lower bounce rates
  • 57% of consumers will leave a retail site if it’s slow
  • 67% of visitors cite slow loading times as the main reason they would abandon an online purchase
  • 33% of online consumers abandon transactions if they have a poor experience

How speed affects your online business

Obviously if your site is slow and your visitors are having a bad time while there, this will affect your business.  

Rankings will suffer, conversion rates will suffer, customer satisfaction will suffer.  These are all important parts of your business and so your business will suffer.

The fact that a 1-second delay in page load can lower conversions by 7% can have a huge impact on a small business.  On an e-commerce site making just $1,000 per day, a 1-second delay could potentially cost you $25,000 in lost sales every year.

Here's a summary of a few famous case studies involving speed tests (see the full infographic below):

Amazon

  • Reducing page load time by 0.4 seconds increased traffic by 9%
  • A 1 second delay in page load time could cost Amazon $1.6 billion in a year

Bing

In their test, Bing noticed that a 2-second delay meant:

  • 4.3% revenue loss per visitor
  • 3.75% reduction in website clicks
  • 1.8% drop in queries

Firefox

A page loading 2.2 seconds faster increased downloads of the famous browser by more than 60 million each year!

AutoAnything

This car and truck accessory site cut their page load in half and saw a

  • 13% increase in sales
  • 9% increase in conversion rate

(The full infographic is here.  Please keep in mind that although the graphic is less than a year old, the data it's based on is quite (very!) out of date.  The trends are still very relevant, however.)

Mobile

For those of you who still don't know it, mobile is big.  Although desktop searches still dominate, we can no longer look at desktop and mobile performance as two separate things.  Most people use more than one device.  It's highly likely one of them is mobile.

 Here are a few reliable statistics from Hubspot to impress on you

  • There are 2.6 billion smartphone users globally. By 2020, there will be 6.1 billion
  • Mobile commerce is now 30% of all U.S. ecommerce
  • One-third of people use their smartphone as their primary device to access the internet
  • 82% of smartphone users say they consult their phones on purchases they're about to make in a store​
  • 34% of online retail purchases now happen on mobile devices​
  • 35% of smartphone users check their phone more than 50 times per day​
  • 66% of Americans own at least two digital devices -- smartphone, desktop or laptop computer, or tablet -- and 36% own all three.​
  • 80% of millennials have their smartphone at their side, day and night  (I find this one quite sad.  I think everyone should use their off button from time to time)

Google have said "our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site"​

Check your site against Google's most recent mobile benchmarks:

google mobile speed benchmarks

So, your site MUST be responsive and load fast.  Period.

Here's a truth that can help you get ahead of the curve:

53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load.  And the average time it takes to fully load a mobile landing page? 22 seconds!

That's a big problem in 2017 but acting on it can reap big benefits for your business.

Word of mouth

Any and all of the above is guaranteed to increase your poor reputation by the most potent advertiser still in existence.  Word of mouth still rules and people will not hesitate to tell others of their poor experience with your website.  Millenials, in particular, will take to social media to share their distaste with your brand:

  • 44% of them would tell a friend if they had a poor experience shopping online
  • 51% of millennial smartphone users are likely to complain about poor online shopping experiences on social media

An Interesting Note

While researching for this article I noticed a surprising lack of research done on website page load speed in the past few years. Most references I found date way back to 2008-2009, an aeon in online terms.  In fact, most articles on how speed affects your online business are still quoting those sources 7 and 8 years later!  Proof positive that people are getting lazier when it comes to search and simply accepting what Google dishes up on page 1 of test results.

Maybe Google should take timeliness into account in relation to certain topics.  Returning 9 year old results for anything related to technology speed is quite meaningless.

Maybe Google should take timeliness into account in relation to certain topics.  Returning 9 year old results for anything related to technology speed is quite meaningless. #websitespeed #benchmarks

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Conclusion

If you've read this far and I still haven't impressed on you that your website needs to be fast then I've done a poor job.

We all know that 85% of statistics are made up but take this home with you:

Among all the statistics I've gathered above, there is not one that indicates a slow website is better than a fast one.

Thanks for reading and if you found this useful leave a comment or hit one of the share buttons.  It would mean a lot to me and it helps others find the article.

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  • November 22, 2017

Seán

Seán founded WPStrands to help ease the frustrations of everyone who runs their small business website using WordPress.

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