Every business wants their website to deliver a great user experience, regardless of their industry or niche. A website that delights new or returning customers is likely to perform better than one that does not. As your buyers’ behavior on the web continues to evolve, you can’t afford to overlook the importance of website load speed.
Here’s why load speed is still a bigger issue than you might think, along with some of the factors that can affect your site’s speed.
Today’s Buyers are Impatient
When you get to a website that takes forever to load, how does that make you feel? If you’re like most people then you probably experience an emotion related to anger or frustration.
And when you’re on a website that makes you feel angry or frustrated, do you usually stay on that website? Probably not.
Instead, you’d go to another website, right?
The people who are researching your products and services online right now are no different. They don’t have the patience to sit around waiting for a slow website to show up on their smartphone or desktop; they want everything immediately. The longer you make them wait, the more interest they lose in you.
In a 2012 study by Google, most smartphone users were willing to wait up to 5 seconds for a website to load before moving on to another website. Do you think people are more or less patient today than they were back in 2012?
Website Load Speed Affects Your SEO
Google started using site speed as a ranking signal in their algorithm way back in 2010, and it continues to serve as one of the many factors that determine where your website shows up in the search results.
Site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests.
Speeding up websites is important — not just to site owners, but to all Internet users. Faster sites create happy users and we’ve seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there.
Google knows that sending people to slow loading websites can wreak havoc on the user experience, so it comes as no surprise that the search giant still places value on site speed.
A fast loading website can help improve your SEO.
What Are Some Factors that Can Affect Your Website’s Load Speed?
Websites can get weighed down by a lot of unnecessary features and functionality that your potential customers may never use, and not all website design and development companies take this into account when creating a website.
Of the many factors which can affect your load speed, one of the most common is the decision to choose a template (theme) website or a custom designed website. While the cost of a template website may generally be less than the cost of a custom designed website, template websites often come with additional features built-in to the theme- features that are not actually integral to your website’s success. It takes more time to load these extra features, which means potential customers are forced to wait.
On the other hand, creating a custom website from the ground-up helps ensure that your new website is created with the absolute essentials. Your website can run faster when it doesn’t need to load any unnecessary code.
A few additional items to consider include:
- Carousels (sliders)
- Image sizing
- Hosting and Content Delivery Networks
Of course, this isn’t to say that a website should be stripped down to nothing in order to achieve the fastest load speeds. Instead, this comes down to prioritizing the features and functionality that are essential for creating a great user experience on your website and will help your potential customers find what they need in the shortest amount of time.
A slow loading website can cause buyers to lose interest in your business, jump back to the search results, and then click-through to your competitor’s website. Making sure that your website loads quickly is essential for helping potential customers interact with your company’s website while helping you grow your visibility in the search engines.
If you’d like to see your website’s load speed score on desktop and mobile devices, you can test your website for free using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.