The internet is always growing, advancing and diversifying. For users this means more options - brilliant news whether we’re looking for our next holiday, shopping for that must buy item or just idly passing the time. But even though our internet speeds are getting faster many businesses are losing out due to their site’s performance and it could be costing your business big.
So what’s happening online?
It’s not really new information that web is continuing to grow, more people are using the internet than ever and we’re all using it very differently. High resolution images, HD video and powerful online applications are increasingly common in our day to day activity online. This means bigger web pages, bigger web pages mean longer loading times and longer loading times mean disaffected web users.
The truth is there are right ways and wrong ways to make great websites and far too often we see sites that look great and serve their purpose well but we know from a conversion point of view that if nothing else loading time is going to be really hurting their prospect of success.
What’s causing these problems?
For all the infinite combinations of server, software, CMS, method and content the issue of slow pages tends to be cause by any combination of three main factors –
- The server – sometimes the server (the computer which figures out what the user needs to see and sends it to them) can be badly put together, poorly maintained or not powerful enough to deal with a site and its’ traffic. Just like some cars are faster than others, there is a huge variety in performance with servers and slow ones will leave your user staring at a blank white screen whilst the server tries to figure out what it needs to do next.
- File size – we’re able to use beautiful photography, fancy UI tricks, video and graphics online and where it adds to the user’s experience we should do. But even though you can often cut file size in half using clever compression and the right formats a number of sites don’t. They end up sending data and adding to load times for literally no reason.
- Thinking… Time – this one is a bit different but bear with me. Take for example a site built in WordPress (the system behind 40% of the top 100,000 sites online), the pages that you see on that site don’t really exist, they're put together on the fly when someone visits your site. What happens to a number of sites which can cause them to load really slowly is that they get stacked up with a number of plugins and fancy extras. These should add features to the site but end up just adding a lot for WordPress to think about first, which means actually loading the page comes later.
Why does this matter?
So by now we know that the bottlenecks are out there and they’re getting in the way, but does it really matter? Think about the last time you were in the shops, you might expect to wait thirty seconds to get served, after a minute you might be a bit irked. If it’s busy you might wait a couple minutes but inevitably you’re going to assume the shop doesn’t want your business and go somewhere.
Web users are generally less loyal, less patient and always able to get to your competition much easier than in the real world.
Let me explain a bit better with some stats -
40% of visitors abandon a website when they reach a page that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
7% - a commonly observed drop in conversions for each second of loading time
51% of customers cite page load time as the main reason they’d abandon their cart
Clearly speed is important, a well built and optimised site will remove one all too common obstacle preventing your visitors becoming customers. Website Success have worked with a number of businesses to get their sites up to the pace of modern web and give their products and services the attention they deserve. Speed is an important factor in search engine optimisation as well as visitor conversion.
If you’ve got concerns about what the technical elements of your site might be doing to your success pick up the phone or send us a message, and we’ll
take you through your options.