Anybody that used the Internet in the late 1990s remembers how slowly websites used to load. When you tried to access the website through a DLS connection, it would often take 5 to 15 minutes before the content was finally displayed. Websites fortunately load much more quickly these days, but there is a catch for web developers.
Faster websites have given customers higher expectations. They are not very forgiving of websites that take too long to load, so you need to optimize them for speed. Here are a few of the biggest reasons that you need to optimize your website for speed.
Slow loading websites have a high bounce right
If you can’t give customers a website that loads quickly, then they are going to bail on you pretty quickly. One survey found that 53% of all mobile visitors will leave a website that takes more than three seconds to load. Since mobile users now account for over half of all Internet traffic, this is something that you can’t ignore. Of course, desktop users aren’t going to be much more patient. The majority of all website visitors will not stick around for more than 15 seconds, so you will need to make sure the site loads quickly to have any hope of engaging them.
Slow loading websites don’t rank as well in google
A lot of factors come into play in SEO. Too many website owners invest all of their efforts in building links and tweaking their content. This is a mistake. According to Matt Cutts, the former Head of Web Spam at Google, there are over 200 major ranking factors that you need to account for and speed is one of them.
Slow loading websites might be doubly penalized by Google. Google recognizes that slow loading websites have a poor user experience and the search engine seems to downgrade them in the SERPs the moment that it first starts crawling them. On top of that, Google is believed to use user engagement metrics such as your bounce rate and the time on site to assign SERP rankings.
How much will your website speed affect your SEO? It might not be one of the most important factors, but it is not insignificant. One study from SEOMoz shows that around 1% of all websites suffer poor rankings due to slow loading times. However, this figure understates the problem with websites that are not well optimized. The majority of website operators recognize the importance of using reliable CMS and hosting solutions. The chance of getting penalized in the search results will skyrocket if you are using and unreliable free hosting platform or didn’t choose the right CMS.
A slow loading website will hurt your brand perception
Having a slow loading website isn’t just going to annoy your visitors. It is also going to hurt your brand reputation.
People don’t just get frustrated when your site doesn’t load quickly. They are probably going to tell their friends and colleagues that your website isn’t reliable. Other people they know won’t plan on visiting your website after the word gets out. They will probably also assume that you didn’t put much effort into creating high quality products and services, since it appears you fail to pay attention to detail with your website.
How can you make sure your website loads quickly?
There are clearly serious consequences for operating a website that doesn’t load quickly. The good news is that there are a number of things that you can do to optimize it for faster loading times:
- Removing unnecessary visual elements that increase the need for HTTP requests
- Upgrading to a higher-tier hosting package or moving to a more dependable hosting provider
- Using a better CMS
There are a number of things that you can do to improve the performance of your website and make sure that it loads more quickly. It is important to regularly test the speed of your site to see if it is necessary to make further improvements. Using tools like Pingdom can help you see if your site is loading quickly. You can also get feedback on any issues that could be hurting your site loading time.