How Website Speed Affects Sales, SEO and Conversions?

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website speed optimization

Can a single factor like website speed make a major impact or difference when it comes to conversions?

More than you’d have expected.

If a website visitor doesn’t have their needs met, they are more likely to become frustrated and leave. Some of ‘em even head to the competition. Why? According to Andy Crestodina, an eCommerce analyst, there’s a pretty simple answer:

“Web pages don’t have loading bars. So when the page is slow, the visitor doesn’t know if the delay will be another 500 milliseconds or 15 seconds. Maybe it will never load. And the back button is right there.”

For business owners, this is a space that must be prioritized, as losing customers to the competition should not be part of their marketing strategy. Unfortunately, most marketers aren’t hitting speeds that put them in Google’s good books. Since they’re slow, they’re likely paying more than they need to for their search ads — and disappearing completely from organic search results.

The main problem that marketers face with loading time is that most of them can’t actually grasp the importance of improving page speed by a few milliseconds: it’s just not tangible enough. In consequence, most of them often end up overlooking page loading time in their annual priorities because they want to focus on other more “tangible” improvements such as design, SEO, social media, paid ads…

And that’s a mistake. We aren’t saying one shouldn’t pay attention to these but data from industry giants and experts have always shown that page loading time directly affects conversions, page views, SEO and revenues.

To help you sort it out and quantify the impact of page loading time, we have prepared some additional insights that should help you better understand the stakes involved in improving page speed.

Keep reading, it’s worth it.

SLOW WEBSITE AND YOUR BUSINESS BOTTOM LINE

Put yourself in the shoes of your customer, and you will realize:

PEOPLE HATE WAITING!

They get even MORE impatient when it comes to website speed. Why? Have a look at the Financial Times Case study:

The speed of the site negatively impacts a user’s session depth, no matter how small the delay…The data suggests, both in terms of user experience and financial impact, that there are clear and highly valued benefits in making the site even faster. From this research we’ve chosen to invest even more time in making every aspect of the new FT.com website even faster over the coming months.

They added a 5-second delay to each page load time and this is what they discovered:

  • The first-second delay resulted in a 4.9% drop in the number of articles a visitor read
  • The three-second delay resulted in a 7.9% drop
  • Visitors read less when delays occurred

This depicts that web page load time not only impacts user engagement with content but also impacts the shopping cart and ultimately your site conversion rate.

For a clearer vision, let’s take a look at some numbers from 2019:

prestashop development

IMPACT ON VISIBILITY, SEO AND MARKETING

Google keeps on reminding us that website speed is one of the prime factors in its search algorithm which is used to rank websites. A slow website is bound to hamper your SEO rankings since Google and all the other search engines place penalties on websites that have a poor user experience. In addition to this, search engines have an allocated crawl budget so if your website loads slowly, only a few pages can be crawled by search engines.

As an eCommerce website owner, your search engine rankings play a vital role in your overall success. Rankings directly affect your organic traffic, which, in turn, affects your sales and conversions. Thus, optimizing your page load time and time to interact should be your prime goal.

Search engines promote websites that have good user experience – the speed of your website is one aspect that highly affects user experience. Period. All your SEO content would be nothing if your website loads too slow!

Let’s support our statements with some powerful facts and numbers:

“Make sure web pages load fast, for your users. I aim for less than 2-3 secs”- John Mueller, Google

web pages load

Now the question is,

MOST MARKETERS KNOW WHAT LOAD TIMES THEY SHOULD TARGET, BUT ARE THEY GETTING THERE?

A significant number of marketers say that 2-3 seconds is an acceptable load time, which is right on target with Google’s recommendation (as mentioned above).

Rand Fishkin, a leader in the field of search engine optimization tools, says speed is a “crucial component for so much of what creates a great experience that converts visitors to buyers.”

There are quite a few reasons you’ll want to speed up:

  • it will improve your ability to rank well in search engines,
  • the likelihood someone will amplify your work,
  • the reach of your pages to those with slower connections,
  • the percent of visitors who won’t hit the back button, and
  • the odds that someone will feel jubilation versus frustration while using your site.

TAKEAWAY: MARKETERS KNOW THAT SPEEDING UP IS ESSENTIAL, BUT THEY’VE HAD OTHER PRIORITIES.

And who could blame them? Delivering speedy pages can be a complicated process and there are so many other tasks that demand their attention. Well, if you are one of those, here are some steps recommended by Google:

  • Conduct a speed audit. Run your pages through Google’s PageSpeed Insights to see how they stack up.
  • Ensure all your media is optimized for mobile. Use smaller file types, like SVG, whenever possible.
  • Remove unnecessary plugins, add-ons, and scripts. Think and analyse smartly about what needs to be kept.
  • Use asynchronous loadingfor analytics and ads so that you don’t depend on their loading times.
  • Enable browser caching. Eliminate or reduce the chance of re-downloadinga file that your visitors have already downloaded.
  • Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)to send files from global servers that are closest to your visitors.
  • Enable gzip compression for your pages. Keep your files as small as possible by shrinking fatter files.
  • Minify your JavaScript and CSS. Remove your code clean by removing the unnecessary characters.

CONSIDER OPTIMIZING YOUR PRESTASHOP WEBSITE SPEED NOW

In 2020 it’s imperative to make changes and optimize your website for a higher ROI and of course better conversions. It’s the wise thing to do but it’s not something that can easily be done without expert knowledge.

So before you take up this task, make sure you hire the right PrestaShop developer – I have years of experience in figuring out how to boost site speed by tweaking websites and determining which factors affect site speed the most.

Let’s tweak and ensure you don’t lose a potential customer due to slow site speed again!

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