Website Speed: How it Impacts Your Traffic & Conversions

Website Speed: How it Impacts Your Traffic & Conversions

website speed

Speed /spi:d/
(n.) the rate at which someone or something moves or operates or is able to move or operate.

It a drag having to wait for a month to receive a letter from your lover or travelling 3 hours to get somewhere to have your fancy dinner. That’s why speed is considered one of the most important criteria when measuring quality of a service.
Your website isn’t an exception. A slow website with blank error pages isn’t what you need, unless you’re, like, trying for zero traffic.
Your website speed, often referred to as “website performance” is the average amount of time it takes for the content of your webpages to be displayed on the screen of the browser requesting access. But when can you know for certain that your website speed is good enough? Where is the limit of a user’s patience?
To understand the phenomena of the website speed deeper, we need to talk about the influence it has on the traffic and conversions rate of your website.

Traffic

website trafficWebsite traffic is the amount of users visiting your website. What matters a lot is the average time users spend on your webpage and the bounce rate (the percentage of users dropping the webpage after viewing only one page), the exit rate ( the percentage of users dropping the page without reaching the bottom).

Of course, content matters a lot, but quality content ain’t everything. If your webpage doesn’t load fast enough, you might not even get the chance to present said content.
Truth is, while your site is struggling to load, some readers close the page with every passing second.

Let’s talk numbers:

  • Some research suggests that the first 10 seconds are crucial and that readers bounce the page if the content isn’t fully displayed within that time.
  • Google research gives much crueler statistics: after 3 seconds of waiting, the probability of a bounce increases 32%. After 5 seconds the chances of your page being dropped reach 90%. Google’s actually trying to reach a load time of half a second. Pretty impressive, isn’t it?
  • Those efforts are justified though, as studies indicate that 79% of users dissatisfied by the speed of the website never visit that site again.
  • Moreover, 47% of the dissatisfied clients not only personally rejects your service, but also discourage other potential users by writing negative reviews or by simply sharing their experience with friends.

Conversion Rate

conversion ratesThe conversion rate is the percentage of the visitors of your website, who perform a desirable action – basically, those who “buy the product.” Unsurprisingly, this percentage is also highly affected by the performance of your website, because people associate the speed of your website with the quality of the site and the quality of the site with the quality of your products. Why should a great brand own an unprofessional website?

  • Research reports unbelievable results – only a second of improvement in page load causes a 2% growth in conversion rates.
  • Amazon has a truly sad story on their loss of 1.6 billion dollars because of a lousy second of speed reduction.
    On the other hand, Mozilla Firefox gained 60M downloads just by improving speed by 2.2 seconds!

Conclusion

The speed of your website is one very decisive factor, when it comes to the success of your website. Slow speed is also bad SEO practice and, as Google has confessed, it directly reduces your search ranking.
It makes sense then that you have to work to reduce those milliseconds you keep your visitors waiting if you don’t wanna lose them!

What can you do to improve the speed of your website:

There are several tried and tested methods of speeding your website up and thus increasing your traffic and conversion rates.

    • Check the performance: To cure a disease properly, first you need the right diagnosis. That is to say, you need to estimate your current performance and discover the issues reducing your site speed. There are various options of performance graders on the market, such as, for example, gtmetrix, and each suggests different functionality.
      performance grader
    • Image Optimization: Loading huge and high resolution images is very time consuming, so the more “heavy” images your page contains, the slower it’ll load. Luckily, there are tons of image optimization methods, plugins and software, that will help you compress your images and enhance your website performance.
    • Minimize http requests: Media is what takes most of the time when your page is loading. For each element – images, videos, links, etc. – an http request is created. So, measuring the number of the requests and reducing them is one way to reduce the load time of your web pages.
    • Combine and minimize files: The more files the website contains, the harder it will be for the content to load. So, combining and minimizing files wherever possible will be beneficial for speed improvement. In fact, try to avoid CSS expressions whenever you can. Those files are recalculated too frequently – when the page is rendered, resized, scrolled, and even when the user simply moves the mouse over the page. Besides, CSS expressions are not supported in any modern browsers.
      too many CSS expressions
    • Asynchronous CSS and JS: After the files are minimized and combined, you should pay particular attention to CSS and JS files. If those files load synchronically, it’ll take more time for your webpage to load, as they will load one at a time. Changing your settings to make those files load asynchronously, you’ll save time, as certain files will load simultaneously.
    • Enable caching: When you enable caching, the first time the user opens your page all the elements of the page get stored in cache storage. Next time the same user attempts to open your page, it loads faster, as there is no longer a need for http requests.
    • Use a CDN: Imagine a scenario: Your website is hosted on a server. Suddenly you get massive traffic: lots of people try to load your page at the same time causing a crash. That’s when you need the help of a Content Delivery Network (CDN), which caches your website in a global network of servers. So, when lots of people are trying to open your page, their browsers can load the page from the server closest to them. CDN is an especially invaluable tool when it comes to loading images, as it would take a whole lot of time for the image files to “travel” from a faraway server.
      CDN/content delivery networkSeems like too much to take care of? There is a compact solution to save you time and trouble:
    • 10Web Performance service: 10Web decided to make your task so much easier by providing a toolkit of all the absolute necessities. Our Performance service will fully scan your website and grade its performance, generating detailed reports, listing all the loading issues and causes of speed reduction. Moreover, the service will give you valuable advice on what measures should be undertaken in your specific case to improve the performance of your site.
      permance grader resultsThe Image Optimization service will, in its turn, take care of your high resolution images and compress up to 80% without any quality reduction.

image optimizer resultsIf you got super excited and can’t wait to experience the magic service for your own, go ahead and try 10Web for free!
Turns out it’s not that tough, huh? Your site will be pretty fast, once you optimize its performance. Don’t forget to tell about your experience with website speed and the solution you prefer in the comments below.

Gayane Vardanyan
Gayane Vardanyan
Though she majored in Applied Mathematics, Gayane has also attended political schools and art institutions and has worked as a photographer, peace-builder, journalist, and translator. These days writing for 10Web she combines her two passions, writing and WordPress, with her somewhat secondary passion for listening to trash and speed metal.

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