Load speed has a massive impact on a website’s success in a number of interconnected ways. The longer a page takes to load, the higher its bounce rate will skyrocket. A high bounce rate signifies to search engines that the page isn’t useful, so its rankings will then slip, too. And e-commerce sites will start to lose customers if their checkout page is even a little bit slower than the competition.
Now, let’s take a look at exactly how load speed impacts a website’s bounce rate, rankings, and sales.
When it comes to page load speeds, customers aren’t very patient, in fact, 40% of consumers will wait no more than three seconds before abandoning a site. This means that every passing second has a significant impact on bounce rate:
The longer the wait, the worse the damage. A one-second page load time makes users feel stress-free and in control. But after 10 seconds, users’ attention is barely kept, and they are unlikely to visit the webpage again.
Not even large companies are immune to the relationship between load speed and bounce rate. When Yahoo! reduced its page load time by just 0.4 seconds, traffic increased by 9%.
In the eyes of Google, slow website loading time equals dissatisfied users, and Google doesn’t want to recommend pages that are unhelpful.
Google’s research showed that the chance of a bounce increased by 32% when a page load time went from one to three seconds, and by 90% when the page load time went from one to five seconds. If a site takes up to 10 seconds to load, then the chance of a bounce increases to 123%.
This means that speedier pages will give an e-commerce website a better shot at high rankings and, as a result, more traffic.
For e-commerce websites, time really is money. If you’re running an e-commerce site that makes $100,000 per day, then a one-second page delay could cost you an estimated $2.5 million per year in lost sales.
A slow website also makes you vulnerable to the competition. 79% of online shoppers who have a dissatisfying experience are less likely to buy from the same site again, while 64% would simply purchase from a different online store.
How to Improve Website Speed
By now, we know how important having a fast website is for e-commerce success. And the good news is, even the slightest improvements in speed, and we’re talking tenths of seconds here, can bring massive benefits:
So, how can you improve your website speed? There are a number of steps you can take yourself, regardless of your technical skill level. To name a few:
a. Optimize images – The larger an image is, the more weight it takes up on a webpage, which means that big file sizes can easily slow your site down. Optimizing images is a balancing act of creating the lowest file size with the highest picture quality, but it’s not as complicated as it sounds. Free tools like ImageResizer allow you to resize and compress pictures in just a few clicks, which you can then upload to your site.
b. Use a CDN – A content delivery network, or CDN, is a geographically distributed network of servers that work together to deliver your content faster to users anywhere in the world. They help speed up a website by distributing bandwidth across multiple servers. Cloudflare is one popular CDN option, but there are many out there to choose from.
c. Be selective with plugins – Plugins are downloadable extensions that add features to a website. They provide everything from email marketing software to advanced shopping cart features. But too many plugins can also slow down a site, so it’s best to be picky when choosing which ones to download.
Lastly, it helps to bring it back to basics, and think about what customers expect when they visit your website:
With these elements in mind, you can build a great user experience that will help drive conversions and customer loyalty.
Whether it is bounce rate, rankings, or customer satisfaction, slow load speeds will have an undeniable effect on your website’s performance.
That said, there are easy steps you can take to improve your website’s speed, like compressing images and using a content delivery network. Whether you’re a tech titan or a bit of a novice, there are site speed solutions available that you can implement yourself.