Research shows a clear relationship between web load speed and customer conversions. 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 business 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.
In the following we outline the top 5 things you should know about web performance today.
Website Speed Impacts Conversions and Sales: There’s a direct connection between web load speed and 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%. Ecommerce giant Amazon calculated that a webpage load slowdown of just one second could cost it $1.6 billion in sales each year. Any questions?
Time to Start Render is a Key Metric in Web Performance: Time to Start Render 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.”
Design Best Practices Can Become Your Worst Enemy: 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. According to this piece, some of the worst practices are web pages that are initially blank and then populate, pages where CTA is the last thing to render, popups that block the rest of the page, and designing and testing in an ivory tower (or leaving the user out of the equation).
Website Performance Directly Impacts Shopping Behavior: We get the importance of website speed on customer conversions and sales. But this impact is more systemic than you might think. Research 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.
Mobile Unfriendly Sites Drive Customers the Other Way: M-commerce is huge, which is why having a “mobile first” website is critical to success. Forrester expects mobile commerce transactions in the United States to total $114 billion in 2014. $76 billion will be from tablets, while the remainder will be from smartphones. These same numbers are replicating themselves globally. A 2012 study from Google 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.