The Need for Speed: Increasing Sales with Site Optimization

Business.com / Marketing Solutions / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Here's what causes a slower load time, how delays impact your site and business, and a few steps you can take to optimize your site for...

The bottom line is that site speed and page load time affect your bottom line. Believe it or not, something as small as 1-second delay in load time can lead to reduced conversions, reduced page views, and reduced customer satisfaction. All of these things impact your business's bottom line. When you're spending money on lead generation and various marketing mediums, the last thing you want is to have the people that visit your landing pages bounce without spending some time connecting with your content, products, and/or services. Here's what causes a slower load time, how delays impact your site and business, and a few steps you can take to optimize your site for speed.

Related: A Bright Outlook for Landing Page Optimization

Impact of Delayed Page Load Time

You've spent time, money and additional resources on developing stellar landing pages for your leads, right? However, if your page loads slowly or a customer has to wait to navigate to the next page, they could decide to leave and turn to a competitor's website. Page abandonment rates increase greatly when a site is slow to load. 25% of users will abandon a site after 3 second of delay, and the longer a delay lasts, the more customers you'll lose to competitors. Reducing load time can greatly affect revenue and your business's bottom line. Some big business examples include:

  • Bing, which found that a 2-second delay in load time led to a 4.3% reduction in revenue per visitor.
  • Shopzilla, who optimized their site to reduce page load times from 6 seconds to 1.2 seconds and saw a revenue increase of 5-12%.

Related: Get these stats and more in our latest infographic: "The Need for Speed"

The Cause of Delays

No matter what kinds of sales, promotions or content you have on your site, if the page isn't loading fast enough, your visitors are going to leave and they may not be in the mood take a second chance on it, or your business, later on. There are a number of factors that can impact the speed of your site including the number of images, as well as their size and format, and how you use Flash and JavaScript. Even how your site is coded can impact load times. Businesses that optimize their sites for speed had 17% fewer complaints about response time than companies that did not. Some site elements that can cause delay are:

  • Server response time.
  • CSS and JavaScript coding.
  • Browser caching.
  • Image size.

How to Increase Site Speed

Now that you know what can cause delay, here are a few steps your business and IT team can take in increasing site speed. While taking on all of these tactical changes at once can lead to a headache, begin by focusing on instant wins and then working towards the bigger projects. Establish a list of priorities and work through them one at a time. To get started, take a look at:

  • Your images. Optimizing images with proper formatting and compression can save many bytes of data. Reducing the size of images can aid in increased site speed.
  • Your "above the fold" content. Your above the fold content should load quickly, so look for ways to make that content top priority in loading. Try to defer or asynchronously load blocking resources or inline the critical portions of those resource directly in the HTML.
  • Your expiry date. Setting an expiry date or a maximum age in the HTTP headers for static resources allows the browser to load previously downloaded resources from a local disk rather than over the network, increasing site load speed.
  • Your CSS, JavaScript, and HTML coding. Compacting your code can save bytes of data, especially if you tackle on all three codes. Doing so will also speed up downloading, parsing and execution times.

Related: The Lasting Effect of Landing Pages

For a complete list of steps you can take to improve site speed, check out the tool Page Speed Online. Google created this tool to help webmasters and coders improve their sites. It will provide you with insights into what things are greatly impacting delays in page rendering as well as steps you can take, such as optimizing images and minifying CSS, to improve site performance.

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