Why page load time matters
You may not pay a whole lot of attention to your site’s page load time. As long as your site looks great and eventually loads, you’re good to go, right?
Unfortunately, that’s not actually the case.
You want more conversions and higher profits, right? The key could be a faster loading site, and it’s possible to speed it up by choosing the right web hosting and optimized site design.
Here, we take a look at why page load time matters to get a better idea of what a faster site can do for you.
The Effects of Page Load Time
Your page speed affects numerous aspects of your site and business. Some of the more prevalent areas you should be concerned about include:
Search engine ranking
Let’s break each of these down.
Search Engine Ranking
Google has said that they use page speed as a ranking factor. While it certainly doesn’t have as much impact as keyword relevancy, a slower than average site will mean a penalty with search engines like Google. That results in less traffic coming your way, which means fewer people can buy your products, and your profits will suffer!
The statistics are clear. People don’t like slow-loading sites, and many will abandon sites that take too long to load, increasing your bounce rates.
Exactly when should you worry? Well, according to research, just a one second delay in page speed can mean 11 percent fewer page views. Furthermore, just a 500 millisecond delay causes a 26 percent increase in user frustration and an 8 percent decrease in engagement. The more frustrated people become, the more they’ll abandon your site.
What’s crazy is how fast people expect your site to load before they’ll abandon it. Twenty-five percent of customers claim to abandon sites that take more than four seconds to load, yet 47 percent expect your site to load in under two seconds.
Furthermore, sites that load in three seconds typically see about 50 percent higher bounce rates compared to those that load in one second.
As we’ve seen, the slower your site is, the more frustrated users become. It’s no surprise then that conversion rates suffer on slower loading sites.
With an additional one-second delay in page load time, you’ll see 7 percent fewer conversions and a 16 percent decrease in customer satisfaction on average.
Given everything stated above, it’s clear that your profits will decrease as your site speed increases. That’s because you’re losing potential sales, either through less traffic from search engines or decreased customer satisfaction that results in fewer conversions.
How Fast Should Your Site Load?
In general, your site is doing pretty good if it loads between one and three seconds. However, you ideally want to keep your page load speed under one second to ensure you’re not losing customers.
If your site is taking four or more seconds to load, you’ll want to do what you can to decrease that load time. Test your site speed at Pingdom to see where you’re at.
Remember, every second counts.
How to Speed Up Your Site?
A quick-loading site all starts with a quality web host. If your site is hosted on a slow server, it means web visitors trying to contact that server will experience slow load times. In general, shared web hosting leads to slower websites because there are fewer server resources dedicated to your site. The alternative is a dedicated server, although that can get costly for small businesses.
That’s why the quality of your shared web host matters. A2 Hosting, for instance, averages page load speeds of 190 ms. Bluehost is another quality shared web host that’s known for page up-time.
Once you find a quality host and package, it’s important to optimize your site for faster loading. For example, you don’t want to have too many images or huge image files since this will take users longer to download them to view your site.
Likewise, you don’t want to have heaps of plugin files you don’t use as that will also take time to load. Other times, a single plugin may be causing page load time issues due to file errors or incompatibility with other plugins. If your WordPress site is slow, you can try deactivating your plugins one at a time to see if one is causing the issue.
Web themes are also common culprits of slow sites, especially if they’re packed with a lot of tools you don’t use.
Page load time can have a huge impact on your business’s success, but unfortunately many site owners are unaware of how important it really is. With this information, you can aim toward speeding up your site to push your user satisfaction above the competition and see higher conversion rates and profit. How fast does your site load?