Does Your Website Page Speed Harm Your Conversions?

Can the Website Page Speed make a big difference when it comes to conversions?

If I was to ask you what makes an effective website, you may talk about the value of strong Branding, Design, Copywriting, Testimonials, Offer and usability etc but what most people have not considered is the Page Speed. For every second that you are causing visitors to wait with slow page speed load times, you're losing conversions and profit. 

Website performance can play a part amongst those above, measurable effect on conversion rates. There are studies that have consistently shown that fast page speed will result in a better conversion rate. The quicker the webpage loads, the more likely a user is to perform the targeted action on that webpage. 

A research made by Akamai, a 2-second delay in page load time can increase bounce rates by more than 100%. That means you could be losing a lot of potential visitors without you knowing. 

If that isn't setting off alarm bells, research by the same source also found that more than 40% of visitors who had a bad experience with the website's performance will tell a friend or family member. That negative feedback will pass on to their friends and family and so on. 

Slow loading times don't only affect your incoming visitors but also deters future visitors from your shopping on your website.  

To help you iron these issues out, I have put some additional insights on what you could do to help you better understand what is involved to improve page speed.

The main problem that most users face with loading time is that most of them don't know the importance of the page loading time or how to reduce the page loading times. 

Most people that sell online often overlook page loading time in their priorities because they want to focus more on the "recognised" enhancements such as SEO, social media, paid ads or design.

The website speed can directly affect your sales

Research and data from industry giants and experts have shown that page loading time directly affects conversions, CPC, SEO, page views and direct revenues. 

Walmart Page Speed Stats
This is an case study report that Walmart came up with to demonstrate how important page speed is regarding conversions. This was from their online sales and how their customers behaved in comparison to the page loading times. 

A sharp decline in conversion rate as the average site load time increases from 1 to 4 seconds. 

The user experience is impacted by your page load time

Online shoppers hate long loading time and are very impatient when it comes to online shopping. The Benchmark for Success report can be found here at dotcom-tools.com. 

The ideal website load time is between 2 to 5 seconds, however, each second beyond 2 results results in greater bounce rates. 40% of polled users report that they leave a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. a staggering 47% of users expect desktop sites to load within 2 seconds or less

Adding just a few extra seconds to your loading time can have damaging effects on your visitors. 

Here are a few things to consider when looking at reducing page speed times. 

Hosting

The web hosting provider you choose and the type of plan that you have signed up with can have a huge impact on your website's performance. Many small business owners would choose to go with a shared hosting plan as it's both affordable and easy to use. It does the job as long as you only expect less than 1,000 visitors per day. 

If you are however, a thriving business that does attract a large number of traffic to your website and it requires a lot of data uses such as videos, custom apps then shared host will not be sufficient. The limited bandwidth and RAM that is supplied on a shared plan isn't enough to handle that level of traffic and will cause your website performance to suffer because of it and will add towards the poor user experience.

For myself, I use Guru Hosting as they use a LiteSpeed Web Server (apparently that's really great for hosting performance-wise along with a LiteSpeed Cache WordPress Plugin, that optimises the website to become even faster). 

The period between 23rd March and April 1st, I was testing around with W3 Total Cache Plugin to optimise the website to become faster, which it did but still wasn't where I wanted it to be. On May the 4th, I installed the LiteSpeed Cache plugin and optimised it with the website, which helped drop the website loading speed by 3+ seconds. 

Image Sizes

This is easy to solve as you just need to resize the images that are no larger than they need to be and another one is to format them into the right file format (PNG's are normally better for graphics with fewer than 16 colours, JPEGS are better with photographs), make sure they are both compressed for the web. 

reduce redirects

Each time a page that redirects to another page, your visitors will face additional time waiting for the HTTP request-response cycle to complete, what that means is that your website URL could look like this. "website.com -> www.website.com -> m.website.com -> m.website.com/home" and each time these additional redirects are made, it makes your page load slower.  

improve server response times

The server response time is impacted by the amount of traffic that your website receives, the resources that each page will be using, the software your server uses along with the hosting provider that you use. You could also look at performance bottlenecks that slow database queries, slow routing or lack of memory and fix them. The optimal server response time is under 200ms. 

minify css, javascript and html

If you know your coding then you can optimise your code by (removing spaces, commas, and other unnecessary characters), these small changes can increase your page speed dramatically as you could also remove code comments, formatting and also unused codes. (Alternatively, you can use plugins that do these). 

enable compression 

There is also a software application called Gzip that is for file compression to reduce the size of your CSS, HTML and JavaScript files that are larger than 150 bytes. 

Don't use these on image files, compress these images in a photo editing program instead so that you can optimise the quality of the image for the web. 

Ideal website load time

Google's studies show that visitors leave a site that takes longer than 3 seconds to load: so aim for anything below 3 seconds. 

Tools that you can measure your website page speed:

Here are 3 free tools that can help you get a quick overview of your website speed.
All you need to do is put in your website URL and you're good to go. 

1. Google PageSpeed Insight
2. GT Metrix
3. PingDom

If you looking into further page speed insights then follow Google's PageSpeed Rules as it gives you further insight about what you can do now. 

I also have a service that takes care of this issue for you if you would prefer to spend your time more wisely elsewhere. 

If you found this article useful then please feel free to share it with your network. 

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