Whatever industry they are in, and whatever the purpose of their website, there is no denying each and every webmaster on the planet would dearly love more traffic headed to their site. In fact, many companies invest big bucks in drawing extra traffic to their pages and boosting their search engine ranking through targeted SEO campaigns.
One factor which is often underestimated in the quest for more online traffic is the speed at which the website operates. Good SEO will help people to find your site and excellent content will make them stay, but if your site is taking ages to load up, the temptation to simply click the back button and find a site that doesn’t make them wait around could be too much for your customers.
The risk factors
Poor performing websites that take a long time to load will reduce traffic in two distinct ways.
1. Customers will abandon your site
In a study by Akamai, they found that 47 per cent of web users expected websites to load up in around 2 seconds. Forty per cent of web users would be keen to navigate away from the website if it took longer than 3 seconds to load and, even if they do stay long enough to buy something, 79 per cent said they would not return to the site if they experienced slow loading times once.
2. Google could penalise your rankings
Since 2010, Google have included loading speed in their ranking algorithm, which means your hard-won spot on page one of the search results could be at risk if you choose to ignore this factor. In practice, Google say this only affects around 1 per cent of active websites, but there is another way that you could be penalised because of your website’s poor performance.
Google monitor the ‘bounce back’ rate from your site, i.e. the number of people who click a link from their search results but swiftly hit the back button and return to the search page. This indicates to Google that they have directed a customer to an irrelevant or low-quality site, making them less inclined to return your site for that search query in future, whereas in reality it was just that your customer couldn’t wait around for the page to load.
Increasing the loading speed of your website can have far-reaching benefits for your business. Here are just a few of the results other businesses have documented after decreasing the page loading time of their websites:
• Shopzilla reduced loading time by 3 seconds and saw a 25 per cent increase in page views, 12 per cent more revenue and 50 per cent less hardware.
• Firefox reduced load times by 2.2 seconds and saw an increase in download conversions by 15.4 per cent.
• Netflix saw a drop in outbound traffic of 43 per cent after they enabled compression.
Overall the potential to increase traffic and give your users the very best experience possible means site loading speed is just too important to ignore. Begin with a website speed test to see how your site is performing now, and work from there to eliminate those elements which are slowing it down and boost performance and traffic instantly.
Have you check your site speed recently ? How is it performing ?
Image Credit: Jamiel Smith