According to the latest research, half of Internet users wait no more than 2 seconds for a website to load. If your project does not fit into this norm, then it does not matter how beautiful the design is, stylish typography or useful content – there is a risk that a person will simply close the page that did not load on time.
Now, along with usability, the speed of web projects is one of the key points in web development. Moreover, it affects not only audience loyalty, but also positions in search, conversion, and sales. Here everything is decided literally in a split second.
1. Loading speed – the first impression of the site
Web site speed and loading speed is critical for online business. It is by this parameter that the first impression is formed about the reliability of your company and the services you offer.
If all pages open quickly and without any lags, it has an immediate positive effect on the user experience. Website visitors experience quite strong positive emotions, they are satisfied with the result and pleasantly surprised.
These conclusions are based on conventional psychology: a person believes that a website that loads in a split second is professional, and its content is a reliable source of information. The visitor associates high performance of a web project with concepts such as trust, accuracy and responsibility.
“If the download speed is high, then the site is handled by professionals!”
On the other hand, a slow website creates a negative impression of a company as unreliable and insecure.
Moreover, as practice shows, the first negative consumer and UX experience is difficult to change! And you, most likely, will not even have a second chance to fix the situation. most of the visitors simply do not return.
According to statistics from Neil Patel, 79% of buyers of goods and services of online stores will not return to sites that load slowly.
2. Waiting for fast loading
With regard to the speed of sites, now the Internet has set a fairly high bar. Users not only expect, but demand that they load instantly. This is evidenced by the following facts from the infographic above:
- 47%people expect a website to open in less than 2 seconds.
- If the loading time exceeds 3 seconds, then 40%will not return to the website after the first unsuccessful attempt to open it.
Users of mobile versions of web projects are no less demanding:
- 85%people expect that the speed for mobile versions should be no lower or even higher than that of desktop ones.
When people are not tied to a desktop computer, their demands on website performance become even higher. They want instant answers to search queries. And the speed of work should be equally good, regardless of the device – tablet, smartphone, laptop or PC.
On the other hand, many people are willing to wait longer than usual if well-known and reputable projects load slowly. For example, Google or Facebook users treat small time lags with understanding and patience.
Unfortunately, small businesses and startups cannot afford this “luxury”. For companies that are just opening, it is extremely important to initially ensure the maximum performance of their online resource.
3. User experience (UX)
In the highly competitive Internet space, UX design is especially important. Custom design aims to create a positive customer experience for your online visitors. To create it, you need to focus on two main factors:
- Give users the content they are looking for.
- Display information as quickly as possible.
It is for this reason that when it comes to creating a positive customer experience, the highest priority should be given to increasing the performance of the site. The sooner a person can find what he was looking for on the site, the more he will experience positive emotions. Nothing frustrates or disappoints consumers like a slow website.
In principle, this reaction of Internet users to the rapid opening of web pages is understandable. All of them have no less high expectations regarding the speed of their home or mobile Internet – people want to instantly receive the information they need, comfortably watch movies or listen to music.
You can check the speed of the Internet connection using the Speed Check service, where, in addition to the results, you will find tips for improving them + there are articles on how to identify problems with the router / computer. There are similar tools for loading sites – GooglePageSpeedInsights, GTmetrix, YSlow, Pingdom, but eliminating errors and increasing this metric is a much more difficult task that requires complex optimization of a web resource.
4. Website performance affects website conversion
Let s go back to one of the points that we mentioned above – about 40% of Internet users will not wait for a website to load for more than three seconds. If your monthly website traffic is 100 thousand visitors, then increasing its open time to 4 seconds will lead to a loss 40 thous.(!) potential consumers of goods and services.
Loss of buyers will significantly lower the conversion rate of the web resource. And this is not just a guess. The veracity of this statement has been verified by specialists from one of the world s largest corporations.
- According to Amazon experts, if their site takes one second longer to load, the amount of annual losses will be $ 1.6 billion.
It should be emphasized that Amazon is a well-known company all over the world. And, if consumers do not want to spend an extra second waiting for such a giant to download, then what can we say about representatives of small / medium-sized businesses.
In one article on Medium, there is another example of conversion losses with a 2-second delay in opening pages: minus 4.3% of revenue per visitor and a 3.75% decrease in clicks.
5. Website Speed and Google Ranking
Google loves speed:
“We are working hard to speed up the world wide web.”
And so far, their work in this field can be called quite successful.
There is a lot of information on the Internet about the effect of download speed on “search rankings”. Some information is true, others are not. At the moment, the most reliable data is provided by Google itself:
- Google takes website speed into account for search rankings (announced in 2010)
- But unlike relevance and authority, this metric is a very small ranking signal.
“Site load speed, being a new signal, does not weigh as much as the relevance of a site s page. This signal currently affects less than 1% of search queries. ”
That is, it turns out that for an average project, the download speed will not greatly affect its ranking? It s not all that simple …
First, if a website s performance is extremely low, then it is obvious that its ranking on Google will suffer a little. Secondly, a lot of time has passed since 2010, and now much more time is devoted to the issue of network speed.
In addition, there is one interesting point: “Google will reduce the number of hits of its bots used to crawl a site if its server load speed is more than 2 seconds.” This means that your new blog posts, the latest updates to the catalog or changes to information pages will not get into the index as actively, which is not very good for the effective development of the site.
Despite the information about 1% of Google, there is an interesting case in the same article on Medium at the link above – according to the owners of the Smartfurniture website, after optimizing the download speed, they received + 20% organic traffic, + 14% increase in the number of views, and improved positions in search and sales.
6. Long-term effects of slow loading
Unfortunately, poor website performance doesn t only result in 40% loss of audience. There is also a negative long-term effect here. Business growth rates decrease, and a negative and unattractive brand image will be formed in the minds of users.
Customers gradually stop sharing links to the site of the store / company, where their experience of interaction was not very successful (and as we already found out, speed is one of such parameters). Reputable sites are more likely to not link to your content to avoid negative consequences for their image.
This is because a slow website is often associated with the term “unreliable and untrustworthy”. If you don t take control of this situation and take action, there can be negative consequences for the brand and business in general.
As you can see, now, when creating a website (especially a commercial one), you need to solve a lot of related tasks – new, no less important aspects have been added to the classical stages in the form of design, development, content: SEO-optimization, performance, social activity.