Have you ever attempted to open a site and it took a long time to load? I bet you weren’t pleased with the experience. A slow-loading website can be frustrating to work with. In fact, based on data from March 2016, Google revealed that as much as 53 percent of users are likely to abandon a mobile site if it takes less than three seconds to load. According to the Google Webmasters Blog, the acceptable loading time for an e-commerce site is two seconds. Therefore, if your site takes several seconds to load, you may be losing customers.
In the quest to create the most stylish site, sometimes we sacrifice on performance. But this is a wrong approach and affects your business in different ways. Did you know that Google factors in site speed into search engine ranking? Yes, the American multinational added site speed into its metrics for search engine ranking in 2010. So, those few seconds that it takes your site to load could actually be the reason why your business is slacking.
Due to the millions of sites in the virtual world, people can be finicky. It doesn’t take much to push users away from your website today. Slow loading time is one of the reasons why people shun a site. There have been many studies to show the adverse effects that a slow site can have on traffic and user experience. Apart from slipping below on search engine rankings, let us look at some effects of a slow-loading website on businesses.
User experience is everything in the world of business. It can make or break your company. It is easy to assume that user experience only relates to the product or service you provide. Today, user experience also extends to your website and even response time on social media platforms. First impressions matter, and even more in the world of online business. Your website is usually the first point of call for people who are considering whether to patronize a company’s product or service. If you fail at providing an excellent user experience on your website, that same negative image will be extended to the products and services that your company offers.
A fast, highly responsive and easy-to-use site is an essential aspect of user experience. It adds to the overall positive image of your company. In the same way, a slow site puts users off and may prevent them from even engaging with your company to try your products and services. In fact, statistics show that one out of every four people will cancel a page if a site takes longer than four seconds to load. A fast-loading site presents an image of a professional company.
As indicated above, a slow-loading website can affect your conversion rate – this is especially true for e-commerce stores. No one wants to deal with a site that takes forever to load. Nearly 50 percent of Americans will give up trying to access an online store if it takes longer than three seconds to load. According to Amazon, a one second lag in the loading of its store costs the company up to $1.6 billion in sales annually. One second seems like nothing, but the effect compounds over time. Walmart was able to increase its conversion rate by two percent by increasing its loading time by just one percent.
In Akamai Technologies’ State of Online Retail Performance report in 2017, it was revealed that a 100-millisecond delay in the loading time of an e-commerce store could reduce conversion rate by up to seven percent. It is clear that a fast website is critical for success.
One of the most damaging aspects of having a slow-loading website is the long-term effect that it has on your company’s image. As indicated above, users are unlikely to take the time to engage with your site if it is taking a long time to load. What’s worse, this image lingers. Therefore, even if you realize the importance of rectifying the slow-loading time of your site and fix it, you would have an uphill task attracting visitors.
According to data from Akamai and Dynatrace, up to 79 percent of shoppers are unlikely to return to a site if they encounter issues like slow loading time. As many as 44 percent of shoppers will tell their friends and acquaintances about a website the bad experience they have with a site – even more disturbing they may do it on social media and reach millions of people. Also, up to 57 percent of people will not recommend a business with a website that loads slowly. But that’s not all. Your website is likely to rank low on search engine results and bloggers are unlikely to link to your content. Ultimately, this contributes to building a negative image of your business, nullifies your best marketing efforts, and keeping potential customers away.
There are many reasons why your website may be loading slowly. It may have to do with your server, the size and format of files on your site, the high volume of traffic you’re receiving, an old content management system or even too many file requests. Thankfully, there are ways to fix all of these issues. If you are not conversant with these things, consult a professional webmaster for assistance.
The advancements in mobile technology today means that smartphones are becoming faster. Therefore, you need a faster website to match that. The fact that your site was fast five years ago does not mean it is still fast today. You must make it a continuous effort to ensure the loading time of your website is on par with that of the top sites of the era. There are many tools to check the speed of your site including Google’s PageSpeed Insights, YSlow or WebPagetest.