Are slow load times putting the brakes on your business’s website?
Sure, no one has the time or patience to wait around all day for a slow site to load, but slow load speeds are more than just an inconvenience; they could be having a very real impact on your website’s bottom line.
Load speed is a major contributing factor to page abandonment, says Sean Work on the Kissmetrics blog. With nearly half (47%) of all consumer expected a web page to load in two seconds or less, every second counts. Time can be a real killer for eCommerce and conversion rates: 40 percent of people abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load.
That means if your eCommerce site makes $100,000 per day, a one-second page delay could end up costing you $2.5 million in sales every year. While this may seem like an extreme example, the truth is that slow load speeds are having a very real impact on your business – one you may not even realize until it’s too late.
Related Article: Move It or Lose It: Tricks for Increasing Your Website’s Speed
Image via Google
Slow load speeds affect more than just conversion rates. Back in 2010, Google announced it was officially using site speed in web search ranking. In an official statement from Google’s blog, the company says, “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’s statement also points out that improving site speed may help to reduce operating costs. While the announcement may seem like old news five years later, it’s worth re-visiting, especially in the age of the mobile web. In the minds of consumers (and Google) faster equates with better. Period.
Small business owners have a lot on their plates, and as one myself, I know that speeding up your website probably doesn’t come close to making the top of your to-do list. But it should. The good news is you don’t need to spend a lot of money or time hiring an expensive web developer to give your site a jolt of adrenaline. A content delivery network (CDN) can get the job done for you. Here’s what you need to know:
Websites Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Websites using a content delivery network (CDN) are 50% faster and consume 40 to 70% less bandwidth. According to research from Incapsula, a content delivery network can significantly speed up site load and reduce bandwidth requirements, so even if your user is trying to access your site on a crowded cell data network, the site will still load quickly and smoothly.
Checkout, Login, and Home Page Speed Matters Most
Despite Google’s announcement five years ago (a century in Internet time), most sites are still slow, taking more than five seconds to load. In a 2014 study, Portent, Inc. found that the biggest and easiest value jump is to go from 8 seconds to 5 seconds of load time. While optimal time is between 1 and 2 seconds, at the very least businesses must get load speed down to 5 seconds. Focus your efforts optimizing the checkout, login and home pages for the fastest speeds. As Portent argues, these pages “hog high-consumer-intent traffic” so make them fast!
Page Weight Matters Less Than We Thought
“Page weight” is the amount of kilobytes transferred (including images). Weightier pages once were a tell-tale sign of slow load speeds; now, with sites “minifying” their code and using GZIP compression, page weight matters less. The biggest factor, according to Portent’s study, is server and page configuration. That’s where a content delivery network can really speed up your site. A CDN can shrink the size of your webpages by removing unnecessary characters on the fly (a process known as ‘minification’). Session optimization will reduce the number of open connections to your web server, removing unnecessary latency for faster server response time.
While CDNs were once the domain of enterprise-level companies, today’s small businesses are increasingly discovering how affordable and beneficial CDNs truly are. The difference between two, five and eight seconds may not seem like much, but as the Kissmetrics’ blog pointed out, that difference could be costing you thousands (or millions!) in lost eCommerce revenue. Get your site up to speed now!