How important is speed for your website?

Okay, so the question is, is speed important for your website? Well, the answer is simple yes! Everyone knows that. However, how important is the difference between a 1-2 second loading time and an 8-9 second loading time?

Speed is arguably one of the most important metrics to monitor when it comes to your website. It might seem like nothing more than being slightly frustrating when a page is taking longer to load, but it is much, much more important than that. Not ensuring your website is fast enough can have dire consequences for your website.

It’s important to remember that speed is judged by two main viewers, the web crawlers (such as Google Bot) and real-life users. For both of these, different judgments come into play when it comes to the speed of your site. Let’s go through both of these and work out what effect speed has on them.

Web Crawlers

Web crawlers are the bots used by search engines like Google and Bing. They scan the web for content and add them to their list of results. Then when someone searches for a particular keyword or phrase, it returns them the results they think are best suited. Sounds simple right? Well, search engines are quite a bit more complex than this. They have very complicated algorithms which determine the ranking positions. We know now that Google has over 200 factors it takes into account when decided how high up the results your website will appear. While we do not know all of them or know what weight each factor carries – we have a rough idea through trial and error of what the most important factors are. Yes, you guessed it. Speed is an important factor.

Imagine for a moment you are a search engine. Your goal is to provide your users with the most relevant results and give them the best experience possible. This is so that they come back again to use your service. As a result, you want to make sure that the websites you show are fast. If they are sluggish, your users may not have a satisfying experience and may not come back again. This is why speed is such an important factor when it comes to search engine ranking.

Now, I know what you may be wondering. You’re probably thinking “Hang on, how come some of the websites on page one of Google are slower than others and yet they are still there while my site isn’t?”. Well like I said, there are over 200 factors Google takes into account. Just because you are highly weighted for one factor, does not mean you will have a better weighting overall. That is for search engine optimisation, which I will discuss in future blog posts.

Users

Users are the second judge when it comes to your website performance. No matter how you are directing traffic to your site (search engine optimisation, social media marketing etc) if your website is slow your conversion rates will drop. We live in such a fast-paced environment that we want everything right this second. It might not sound like much, but if a website takes 10 seconds or more to load then users do get frustrated and will not use the website.

From looking at the graph above you can clearly see that the longer the page takes to load, the more chance of user abandonment. They will just leave if your website is slow, pure and simple. This could be detrimental to your conversion rates, which is why it is so important to have a fast website.

So, in conclusion, it is fair to say that it is really important to have a fast website. So if you have a slow website, how do you make it quicker? Well, there are a number of things that can be done – so don’t worry! Feel free to contact me and I can let you know what can be done to improve the performance of your website, increase your rankings on search engines and improve your conversion rates.