When it comes to successful websites, speed is of the essence.
It is widely known that online visitors want to browse quick and responsive websites. The faster a website loads, the more likely it is that your visitor will have an enjoyable experience. In fact, with websites, every millisecond can make a significant difference. A staggering 1 in 4 shoppers would abandon a website that takes more than four seconds to load up (source: eConsultancy).
With this in mind, it's evident that you could be missing out on revenue if your website speed performs poorly.
To help you understand the correlation between your website loading times and your bottom line, we've identified some of the common issues that could be causing your website to perform slowly. We'll share some valuable tools that you can use to check your website speed, and we'll identify quick and easy recommendations for simple improvements.
The importance of fast loading websites
These days, shoppers are choosing online retailers due to the convenience factor. They want to find what they are looking for, and they want to see it immediately. The quicker a website loads (and the faster they find their required item), the more likely they will make their way through the sales funnel and complete their transaction.
Slow website speeds result in high abandonment rates.
As you develop your website, it's essential to pay close attention to your desktop and mobile loading speeds. We already know that search algorithms are increasingly taking a "mobile-first" approach to websites. We also know that most online sales are now coming from mobile devices.
Recent research from Google suggests that "77% of smartphone shoppers are more likely to purchase from companies whose mobile sites or apps allow them to make purchases quickly."
As online shopping becomes increasingly prevalent, it's essential to make sure that you are doing whatever you can to make it easier for your shoppers to complete their transactions. This could be through stringent UX testing, effective conversion rate strategies, or making sure that you offer frictionless checkouts.
How can you check your page speeds?
You can test the speed of your revenue-generating pages using Google's free tool, PageSpeed Insights.
As a resource, it can be helpful for businesses to identify their website performance. As well as analysing your website, it will provide you with clear and easy-to-understand recommendations on how you can make your page faster.
How do website speeds impact sales?
Websites that perform slowly are likely to see a negative hat-trick:
Increased bounce rates
Reduced time spent on your website
Poor conversion rates
You will hinder any investment you make on search engine optimisation, digital advertising, marketing, or conversion rate strategies because any new traffic will likely disappear almost immediately.
Not only will it make it harder to show any return on investment on your broader digital marketing activities, but the reduced sales caused by slow loading pages can be complicated to recover from.
We've already explained that shoppers have zero tolerance for slow websites. A sluggish loading page doesn't just cause them to log off; it prevents them from returning in the future. According to Google "65% of UK's consumers said they will switch from a poorly designed mobile site to a better alternative.". And a report from Akamai has also shown that UK Consumers are "58% are less likely to revisit the site, 39% less likely to complete transactions online, and 36% will have a negative perception of the company." Your website loading times need to be an urgent priority if you wish to remain competitive and retain a positive reputation amongst your audience.
Could your website loading time be impacting your organic search traffic?
Your eCommerce outlet relies upon your customers being able to find you online. Remaining visual in search engine rankings is vital for your sustained success, and poor site speeds could impact your ability to sit high in the SERPs.
As part of their search algorithm, Google continually looks to see how your website puts your end-user first. If a slow-site speed results in unhappy customers, then Google will reduce your visibility in its pages. This will mean that you will have to spend more money on acquisitions to make up for the lost organic traffic. And as we've already said...
...There's no guarantee that the paid-for traffic will convert into paying customers once they've reached your website if they feel that they are experiencing a poor level of service.
So, in essence, your bottom line could be impacted severely by your website loading speeds. You have to spend more money on new customer acquisitions with a reduced likelihood of returning on that investment.
What could be affecting your website loading time?
If you have used the Google PageSpeed tool and identified that your website (or individual pages) is performing slowly, there's no need to panic. You can quickly look into a few things to assess whether they are impacting your website loading time.
Optimise your imagery
Websites need to be highly visual. Shoppers want to benefit from various images and videos to see the product in full. Many websites are increasingly using AI and automation to bring the shopping experience to life, such as visualising how a sofa could look in your living room. However, the increase in imagery could be harming your site speed.
A quick way to improve your website loading speeds is to ensure that images aren't too large and cropped to the correct size. You should always use JPEGs for your pictures, and don't forget to compress the file sizes.
Successful eCommerce retailers rely on having the right platforms and infrastructure in place. They know that they need to have various apps and plugins built into the software to attract customers. However, outdated plugins or infrastructure approaching its' end of life could be a key contributor towards slow loading speeds.
Make sure that you regularly update your website with the latest updates and patch fixes. Not only do they improve your resilience, but they are also designed to work as effectively as possible. If you're using out-of-date plugins, or you have too many installed, then your website server may start to become overwhelmed.
A crucial part of our consultancy service is working with clients to identify if they have the proper infrastructure in place. If you believe that your software could be impacting your website loading times, we can recommend cost-effective options that could have an immediate impact on your bottom line.
Decrease the number of redirects
You may have many redirects within your website designed to help shoppers get to where they need to go. However, this could be hindering your website speeds because the more redirects there are, the more it increases your website loading times.
As we know by now, shoppers may report a negative experience because the website has taken mere seconds to load up. Reducing the number of redirects within your website can increase performance and provide a better experience for the end-user.
Your website speed will directly impact your bottom line
There is a direct correlation between your website loading pages and high abandonment rates. The slower your website loads, the more likely shoppers may log off, never to return.
This can be disastrous for your bottom line.
Having a slow website will not only cost you significant sums in lost sales, but it can also be expensive to overcome. You will likely have to spend far more on acquisition strategies to attract new customers, and you will reduce the overall return on investment on any broader marketing techniques. Making small changes to your website could significantly improve your loading speeds. This can result in a better online shopping experience (and enhancing your reputation); it can reduce your bounce rates and improve your conversions. It can even enhance your visibility in your SERP.
At Sherwen Studios, our consultancy services are designed to help clients identify what could be causing slow website loading times. Once we've identified why your website is performing slowly, we can make recommendations that could have immediate improvements on your loading speeds. To find out more about how we can help you improve your website performance, please contact us. Phone 01244 340051 or email firstname.lastname@example.org