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Believe it or not, the most important thing about the website of your business is not what’s on it but how fast it loads. Yes, that’s right!
As you can see on this infographic (an oldie but goodie!), there is a clear relationship between web load speed and customer conversions. And unless you have money to burn, the assumption is that you’re in business to earn revenue (rather than just having a fancy looking website!).
Let’s say this another way. The faster a page loads the more likely customers will be to visit and do business on your site. The inverse is also true. The slower a page the less likely customers will be willing to wait around and engage with your brand.
While this seems fairly straightforward, it’s surprising how few business owners really get the importance of website performance and the role it plays in their overall strategy. It might be nice to have a trendy looking website, but if it takes 10 seconds to load visitors won’t hang around long enough to appreciate all the bells and whistles anyway.
It’s important that small businesses leverage the latest web performance insights to ensure that things are running as optimally as possible and that your customers are happy. At the end of the day, this is really all that matters!
In order to help keep your business in check, we list out below the top 10 things you should know about website performance today.
There’s a direct connection between web load speed and sales conversions. Consider this metric: 1 in 4 visitors would abandon the website if it takes more than 4 seconds to load. And this one: A 2-second delay during a transaction results in shopping cart abandonment rates of up to 87%.
A few years ago e-commerce giant Amazon calculated that a webpage load slowdown of just one second could cost it $1.6 billion in sales each year. Any questions?
Start Render Time has emerged as a key metric in web performance and is the first visual cue that something is happening on a website. The following statement gives some words of wisdom on this topic:
The median for Time to Start Render across the web is 2.5 seconds. Shoot for better. The top 10% of sites on the web start render in less than 900 milliseconds — fast enough that the visitor doesn’t have time to think about the fact that he or she is waiting to see content. That should be the goal.
Increasing the size of your website’s size, images, third-party scripts, and style sheets come with a heavy price and can adversely affect performance. This is especially true in the world of mobile. Over 50% of all time consumers spend on retails site is on mobile devices, and more than 50% of consumers multiscreen during the purchasing.
Some of the worst design practices are evident when web pages are initially blank and then populate, the CTA is the last thing to render, popups block the rest of the page, or when you fail to adopt user experience into your design strategy.
We get the importance of website speed on customer conversions and sales. But this impact is more systemic than you might think. Kissmetrics shows that 44% of online shoppers will tell their friends about a bad experience online. And 79% of shoppers dissatisfied with a website performance are less likely to buy from that site again.
M-commerce is huge, which is why having a “mobile first” website is critical to success. Mobile commerce transactions in the United States are expected to total $123 billion in 2016. $76 billion will be from tablets, while the remainder will be from smartphones. These same numbers are replicating themselves globally.
A study from Google several years ago showed that mobile-friendliness was a key factor in purchase decisions, with 67% indicating that a mobile-friendly website made them more likely to buy a product or use a service. In addition, 61% indicated that a bad mobile experience made them more likely to leave.
Web analytics can make all the difference in how you relate to your customers. The ability to track a single customer across your site and across multiple devices will ensure that you can tailor your brand to their needs.
For instance, you want to learn more about when and where they’re visiting from, what devices they’re using, what are their online activities, and other key demographics such as age. Gaining these insights will help your organization better understand what’s important to your visitors and how to personalize their experience.
In April 2010 Google started using page speed as a ranking factor, meaning that faster pages would earn higher SEO rankings than slow ones. More recently, Google also announced that it’s moving in this same direction for mobile web pages. The point here is that you get rewarded for offering your customers a better overall experience; faster load time means higher SEO rankings.
When reviewing web performance, it’s important not to forget your web hosting service. Even though your provider may offer you unlimited bandwidth, does that mean shared service with other sites that ends up affecting your own web performance?
Are you experiencing downtime or bandwidth issues? If so, it’s worthwhile to review your hosting options to ensure you’re getting the most efficient service. Don’t be afraid to insist on 99.99% uptime.
Becoming an affiliate reseller and pushing ads to bring folks in is great, but too much of a good thing can also become bad . . . especially for performance. When you go overboard on ads and affiliate code, this can lead to high bounce rates and, in turn, can adversely impact your overall website performance.
There are significant advantages to adopting website monitoring – cost, scalability, efficiency, to name a few. Not to mention, this frees you up to focus on growing your business, which matters the most anyway.
When it comes to monitoring your website, you don’t want to shortchange yourself. Get the peace of mind you deserve by entrusting your business to a proven industry leader.
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