Your website is where your customers go to research, get to know and trust, and even buy from your business. In a world where consumer attention spans are decreasing, it’s essential that they can get what they need and want quickly and as easily as possible. If not, they may leave your website and not return again. In fact, there’s a whole range of issues that slow, time consuming websites create for business’s that should be avoided at all costs.
It will harm your SEO
For several years now, search engines like Google have been using page load speed as part of their ranking. Due to their superior user experience, Google strongly values sites with fast loading times. This means that they will often promote them towards the top of search results pages, allowing them to show up more frequently for competitive search terms.
On the other hand, pages with slow load times are penalised for their poor usability and are consequently ranked lower on search results pages. With over 50% of all web traffic coming from search engines, this will drastically reduce your business’s online visibility and will harm your chances of securing keyword focused traffic. Especially when you consider that over 60% of all clicks go to the top three results only, this massively harms your chances of securing visits from potential customers.
If your business wants to remain on top of its SEO game, not only should you focus on on-page SEO tactics, but you should constantly be looking for ways to shave your page’s loading times. Although it’s unclear on how much of Google’s ranking system is based on speed alone, it is clear that it’s essential to staying on top.
Less website traffic
In today’s world, consumers are more time poor, and less attentive than ever. This means that mere seconds could cost your business huge amounts of money in the end if you fall outside of a customer’s expectations. In fact, 47% of web users say they expect your website to load in two seconds or less.
This means that even if you manage to secure a great SEO ranking, or people are searching for exactly what you offer, it won’t matter as you’re still likely to lose more than half of your traffic with a slow website (a site that take more than 3 seconds to load). If your site is really slow – taking more than 5 seconds to load – this figure becomes more like 80%. That’s a huge amount of traffic that most businesses could not afford to lose.
Conversion rates will also drop
Websites with a slow loading page will often have a high bounce rate. A website “bounce” is when visitors leave before they do anything on your website – no button clicks, page views, or interactions of any kind. Users bounce more with a slow website as they do not enjoy waiting around for each interaction they make – they want fast, almost instant functionality.
In turn, this will cause your website’s conversion rate to drop drastically as although you’ll still be getting website traffic, they won’t be doing anything after they arrive. I guess it’s like putting up signs to your shop to attract customers, yet when they get there, they have to wait for every customer to finish their entire shopping before they can go in. It’s just not worth the wait and they’d rather go somewhere else. Similar to your website, if customers have to wait too long to view products, add them to the cart and checkout, then they simply aren’t going to do it.
This unfortunate problem is only going to increase with time as user attention spans become shorter and shorter. With the insane level of information and competition in today’s online world, users want exactly what they need in the easiest, quickest format that they can find it. If you want to maintain solid conversion rates on your site, you’ll need to make sure that your process is smooth and flows quickly from page to page, or step to step.
You could end up boosting your competitors
Arguably one of the worst impacts of a slow loading website is the level at which you put customers off. Around 80% of customers who have experienced a slow-loading website are likely to never use the same site again, driving them away and forcing them to search for someone else. This again is due to heightened levels of competition, where online users expect the absolute best wherever they go. If they don’t get it, they’ll simply go elsewhere.
If your customers are being put off of your website, they’ll likely turn to your competitors to get what they’re looking for. Now you’re not just missing out on valuable traffic, but you’re actually helping out your competition by sending your traffic their way. In the long run, this could be devastating to a small business as they might lose the majority of local potential customers to someone else.
Preventing this from happening requires you to follow a simple guideline – keep your load speed below 2 seconds and you’ll find that your returning visitor rate will increase as customers start to actually enjoy the online experience you provide for them. What’s more is that this will keep you consistently above competitors, making your site the one that customers turn to after poor experiences elsewhere.
As you can see, website speed is crucial and should be a constant priority for all businesses. No matter how great your website is, or how fantastic your products are, if people are too frustrated to even load your pages, you’ll have no success as a business.
On the flipside, a fast website can provide a huge boost to your business that can have a long-lasting positive affect. One example of this was when Mozilla increased their site’s speed by 2.2 seconds – their number of browser downloads increased by 60 million per year!
If you need an ultrafast website, or if your current website needs to be optimised for speed, we can help you out. We’re experienced in building and optimising websites for ultimate load speeds that will give your users the best possible experience, helping you to keep a hold of those customers once they land! Feel free to get in touch with us or take a look at our website speed optimisation section for more information.
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We’ve been building incredible websites for businesses for a decade, it’s our absolute speciality. Before Dan started Webster Digital, he worked at an accountancy practice. While working there and studying accountancy, he picked up valuable insights into business that you won’t find with other website design and marketing agencies.
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