Website speed or site performance refers to how quickly a webpage loads. And yes, it matters. Faster websites have more traffic, better conversion and improved sales & business outcomes.
The poor performance of the websites can, on the other hand, help drive users away and can kill your online business. No jokes or puns here.
This article is my attempt to help you understand why website speed is essential and why it determines the traffic of a website and thus resulting in better conversion and sales.
Importance of Website Speed
Site speed is critical to the performance of the website. Site speed is directly related to specific metrics that generate traffic, affecting its ranking. When the website is ranked lower, it gets less traffic.
Not only does site speed offer a slight advantage in terms of SEO, but site owners can also significantly increase conversion rates via speed optimizations.Matthew Post of SEM Dynamics
Here are other reasons why site speed is essential:
Conversion rate is the speed at which users complete an action. Website speed is directly related to conversion rate. Users prefer fast-loading websites because they have higher conversion rates compared to the slower-loading websites.
A decrease in a few milliseconds of the page loading time can increase the conversion rate to a significant amount. A higher conversion rate is directly related to generating more traffic. Take an example of an e-commerce website.
If an e-commerce website takes a lot of time to load, the users of the website will deteriorate. Users visiting the e-commerce website will lose interest and they feel like buying products. This will increase the bounce rate and not only the conversion but also the page views per visit will go down. They will surely look for other options.
Other examples of how the conversion rate can be affected are:
- Filling out a contact form
- Answering Survey Questions
- Switching between web pages.
According to Google, website speed affects the ranking of the page. Websites that rank on the first page of a google search will inherently generate more traffic.
Page speed determines the user experience. If the webpage loads at a slow speed, then it affects the user experience causing them to switch to other options. It then changes the ranking. Moreover, search engines like google prioritize relevant information for users.
When the users switch between websites, the search engine considers them an irrelevant result, which affects their ranking. As the ranking falls, the traffic automatically falls.
Users visiting the website will become impatient as the time to load between webpages take time.
Long page load times and inadequate response will discourage the users from ever visiting again. It becomes frustrating for a user, and they may end up leaving the website, which affects the bounce rate. Consult a user experience agency, hire a UX developer or use Instant.Page like tools to improve page load and reduce bounce rate (explained in next paragraph).
Bounce Rate and Dwell Time
Site or page speed is a direct ranking factor. Since websites are ranked through SEO best practices and other strategies, it also affects SEO. However, it indirectly increases the bounce rate and reduces dwell time.
Dwell time is also an important ranking factor. The more users dwell on your website, which is only possible through a fast website speed will improve its ranking.
What Factors Affect Website Speed?
Site speed relies on different factors. Determining which factors are affecting the side speed will help improve its speed and ranking.
Here are some factors that affect site speed:
If the data must travel from a significant distance, it will affect the speed of the site. For example, if the data center is in Germany, and being accessed from Australia will take time to travel. The data will have to go thousands of miles. You can use a CDN to copy your website to various locales and let your readers/users have a faster browsing experience.
The network is a crucial factor in determining the page load time. Mobiles have access to 3G or 4G depending on the location, which will affect the page load time as Wi-Fi has better speed. However, the quality of the ISP services and the local network used will impact the quality of the internet connection.
How to Improve Website Speed?
However, website speed can be improved using some tactics which are described below:
Use Faster Hosting
To get the best website speed, you must use a hosting provider that’s fast and efficient for your type of website. I recommend Bluehost for websites built under budget and Cloudways for heavy websites. Both are very well designed to improve the website speed.
Heavy code files can add weight. Optimizing the codes by removing spaces, commas, or other unnecessary characters can help shorten the system. Removing code comments, formatting, and unused code will also aid in page speed.
When the user redirects to another page, it will increase the waiting time. Reducing rating time will reduce the HTTP request-response cycle.
Leverage browser caching
Improve server response time
Server time can be improved through performance bottlenecks like slow data queries, slow routing, or a lack of adequate memory.
Use a CDN
Copies of your site stored at multiple locations using CDN will enable faster data travel and reliable access to your website. I recommend these CDNs if you are using a WordPress website.
Use an image optimization tool like Tinypng or Imagify to compress your images before or after uploading to the website. This can significantly improve the load time without much difference in image quality.
Also, hiring the right professional to build a website can have a significant impact on your website. Such factors or metrics are linked with digital marketing strategies to rank your site and can improve your business.