Getting people to visit your site is only a small part of the equation for success.
If you want to engage customers, let alone, convert them, the first thing you need to secure is your site’s speed. If users aren’t able to use your site or they click away out of frustration because of its slow page load time, you’re bound to a lifetime of bounce rates and good-for-nothing marketing campaigns. On top of this, there are many other problems you’re likely to face with a slow site.
Everybody says your website should be fast. But what are the risks of a slow-moving site? Let’s look more closely at why website speed is important to your overall website success.
How Website Speed Affects Traffic And Sales
Online users seek the fastest way to get things done in today’s world. A site that loads faster becomes highly desirable. As website owners, ensuring users will have the best experience on our website is not only ideal but expected.
The truth is that slow website speed affects our traffic level and bounce rate. People who encounter a slow website get frustrated and are more likely to leave your site rather than read your content or be enticed by your links or ads.
We want to keep users engaged and coming back. But if we don’t prioritize speed, our visitors will bounce off our site instead of returning to it.
1. Website Speed Is the First Impression You Ever Make
Your website’s speed is the first impression you make on potential customers. If your site is slow, they’ll likely move on to a competitor’s site that loads faster. Worse yet, if their internet connection is spotty or their computer has low processing power, they may not be able to view any of your content at all.
Strive to make your visitors feel welcome and appreciated by allowing them to experience your entire site without any issues and in a time that doesn’t feel like forever.
2. Users Want Speed!
The Internet is much more than just information retrieval. It’s also a potent tool that you can use to promote your business or organization in many ways. But no matter what your goal may be, you need visitors first. However, users are more likely to abandon a website if it takes longer to load.
In 2018, Google found that a half-second increase in load time leads to a 20% increase in bounce rate. A similar study showed that it takes up to 3 seconds for most people looking at SERPs on mobile devices to tap on a result before they abandon their search.
With this in mind, optimizing your website speed and ensuring you know what types of content slow down your site the most so you can keep them at bay.
3. Enhances User Experience
When your website loads quickly and works the way that users expect, it enhances the overall user experience. Most users have a specific goal when they come to your site. Maybe they’re looking for a specific fact, a specific product or they want to read the entire page. You want your users to be able to accomplish the goal they had when they came to your page.
Waiting for each section to load can be frustrating. If the website doesn’t function as it should because it’s too slow, it can become difficult to find information or navigate the page. Sometimes, a slow-loading page can also slow down the user’s computer because there are too many ads and pop-ups, which wastes the user’s time.
When a user experiences frustration with your site’s usability, they’re likely to move on to a different site with a better user experience.
4. Increases Dwell Time
Users will likely click away if a website takes too long to load or is difficult to navigate because it’s slow. Having a slow website speed increases your bounce rate, which is the percentage of visitors who leave your site after viewing only one page.
Not everyone is going to stay on your site or click on multiple pages, but having a high bounce rate means that your website is probably not doing what it was created to do.
What type of bounce rate should you aim for?
- 26%-40% is an excellent bounce rate
- 41%-55% is an average bounce rate
- 56%-70% is an above-average bounce rate
- 70%+ is a very negative bounce rate for most sites
A high bounce rate above 56% should be alarming for businesses because it indicates that people aren’t staying on your site because they’re either not finding what they want or they’re frustrated by your website speed.
5. It Boosts Page Views
Users perceive faster sites as being more professional and trustworthy. Slower sites give off the impression that you don’t care about what you’re selling or who you’re talking to, leading some users to go elsewhere.
The faster your website loads, the more often people will load it and see your content. Faster websites also encourage people to stay on the site longer by making them feel like they are browsing quickly. Users will want to explore other pages of your site because the loading time feels shorter.
6. It Helps Your Search Engine Ranking
Most sites rely on getting page traffic from keyword searches rather than advertisements for the majority of users to their site. Search engine optimization (SEO) is an important part of ensuring that people searching for specific keywords find your site at the top of their search results. However, if your site is too slow, you won’t rank as high in search results.
Google places a high priority on the speed of websites when ranking sites. A faster website means better search engine rankings and more traffic. Your page speed directly affects your Speed Index in Google, which affects your page ranking. However, your website speed can also indirectly affect your page ranking because a slow site will have a higher bounce rate and lower dwell time, which lead to lower page rankings.
A slower website means more people are likely to visit other sites, making your site’s traffic drop and its ranking fall on search engine results pages.
7. Impacts on PPC and Social Ads
Website speed is a significant factor in the success of your online campaigns, including your Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and social media advertising. Getting potential customers to your site is only the first step for a successful ad campaign. If your website loads slowly, potential customers are likely to click away before buying your product.
A slow website also means that your ads are less likely to be served to potential customers in the first place. Facebook, for example, has gradually rolled out updates to its news feed algorithm that sorts what users see, emphasizing website speed for a better user experience.
In addition, a slow website can negatively impact your quality score, increasing your costs per click and decreasing your ad’s visibility.
8. Improves Conversion Rate
A fast website creates a good user experience, encouraging people to stay on your site and keep coming back. If you want the best chance of success for your business, you must invest in the design, functionality, and content of your website.
When people spend too much time on your site, they are more likely to get frustrated and leave without taking action or even registering their interest in your product or service. Ensuring that your web pages load quickly will positively impact your conversion rates.
Ways How You Can Speed Up Your Website
As we’ve established, speed matters, and you should always consider it when you’re building a new website or looking to revamp an old one. Implement these crucial tips to improve your website’s speed and overall functionality.
1. Choose the Right Web Hosting
Hosting is one of the most critical factors in website speed. Shared hosting is the most popular option but also the slowest. If you choose a shared hosting plan, your site will share resources with other sites on the same server.
This approach can lead to slower speeds, especially during peak traffic times. If your site doesn’t need intense power, then shared hosting will work fine for you. You can always upgrade later on when needed.
A better choice for speed is to choose a VPS or dedicated server. This option will give you more control over your resources and can help improve website speed. It may be worth paying for a higher-end option for businesses that need their websites to be fast.
Any delay can hurt revenue and customer satisfaction levels if you’re running an eCommerce site that relies heavily on online transactions and customer interactions. In this case, investing in premium web hosting services might be well worth the cost.
When choosing a web host, consider the needs for your site, the ability to upgrade your server, host refund policies, and most importantly, your budget.
2. Optimize and Compress Your Images
Optimizing and compressing your images can be done in several ways. You can use online tools like ImageOptim or TinyPNG. Optimizing your images means they are quicker to load on your site, meaning visitors don’t have to wait as long for them to appear on their screen.
Plus, if you use an optimization service, you’ll save disk space on your server because the images will take up less space.
3. Enable Browser Caching
When users visit your website, their browser stores or caches specific files from your site on their computer, these cached files load your pages faster the next time they visit. However, when you update your site with new content, those changes won’t be reflected in the cache and may cause users to wait for freshly updated content.
That’s why it’s essential to clear out old cache files periodically so that users don’t get outdated content when they revisit your site. The best way to do this is by disabling browser caching via HTTP headers.
4. Reduce External Scripts
Scripts are often responsible for slowing down a website, so you can speed up your website by reducing the number of scripts. If possible, try to use one external script and load it at the bottom of the page or make sure it is as small as possible to reduce its impact on loading time.
6. Leverage a Content Delivery Network (Cdn)
A content delivery network (CDN) is an extensive distributed system of servers deployed in multiple data centers across the globe. The primary purpose of a CDN is to deliver content to end users with high availability and performance.
When you leverage a CDN, you distribute your website’s static assets closer to your visitors, improving page load times for those who use your site from regions close to the location of these assets.
The ultimate goal when choosing where to locate your CDN is to ensure lower latency times for end-users while delivering an optimal experience without geographical restrictions. Most CDNs also offer other services, such as TLS termination, which speeds up websites via encryption.
7. Reduce Redirects
A redirect happens when a user clicks on a link that takes them to a different URL than the one they originally intended to visit. It usually occurs when the original URL has been changed or is no longer active.
The problem with this is that every time someone visits your site, their browser will have to send a request for the new URL and wait for an answer before displaying any content. Redirects also make it difficult for crawlers like Google bots to find all of your pages. Reduce redirects by editing your .htaccess file and eliminating redirects from any unnecessary pages.
A best practice is to load external scripts asynchronously by adding this code to your HTML head: async attribute on script tags and defer=defer on link tags. Make sure that only one blocking request gets sent at a time from your server. Don’t allow parallel requests from AJAX or JS frameworks like Angular or ReactJS.
9. Limit the Number of Plugins You Use on Your Site
Every plugin adds code to your site and can slow it down. So only use the essential plugins. If you’re unsure if a plugin is necessary, ask yourself if you could accomplish the same thing with a few lines of code.
For example, you might be able to add social media sharing buttons using just HTML instead of installing a new plugin. Or you might be able to have comments disabled on your blog post without installing a comment plugin.
10. Lessen Server Response Time
Lessen server response time by optimizing your server for performance, using a content delivery network, and caching static content. Optimizing your server for performance means ensuring the correct configuration and that you are using the right type of hosting. A content delivery network can help speed up your website by delivering content from servers closer to the user’s location.
11. Test Website Performance
Test your website’s performance regularly to identify and fix any problems that could slow it down. A page speed test is one of the best ways to test your site.
The Google PageSpeed Insights tool offers suggestions for fixing any potential issues. You can also use tools like GTmetrix or Pingdom to give you an overall score and guide your improvement. Improvements include content optimization, load time optimization, caching, and server-side optimization.
Best Web Hosting for Upgrading Website Speed
Web hosting platforms house and maintain files to make your site available on the internet. Here, we highlight the best web hosting providers for your business.
WP Engine is a WordPress-specific hosting company that offers various plans to make your site run faster. The company has many developers who create software programs for site customization and safety. WP Engine also provides a content delivery network with its higher-tier plans.
To Wrap It Up
Speed affects your website’s search engine ranking, conversion rate, and user experience. Several ways to speed up your website include optimizing your code, using a content delivery network, and reducing the size of your images. All of which are supported by a good web host.
Taking the time to improve your website’s speed will pay off in the long run. Just remember that a website’s speed can only be achieved through using proper web hosting. See our full list and reviews of some of the top website hosting providers that compete for speed and performance.