Why Slow Loading Websites Lose Customers

How many customers do you lose by having a slow loading website?

Website Optimization If you've ever seen the movie Office Space, then you know about the scene where they beat up the fax machine because of an issue with it saying "PC Load Letter" over and over again. Do you ever get the same feeling with slow loading websites? I can tell you that from a user's perspective, it is very frustrating. Who wants to go to a website that takes years to load? We're in the age of the internet, which means that people can and will go to where they can get things faster - a slow loading website isn't one of them. Not every person immediately leaves a slow loading website, but more often than not this is the case, especially if every click after the homepage results in a page that takes forever to load. In this post I'll break down a few benefits of having a faster website, as well as some tips to improve the speed of your site.

What is the Typical Website Speed?

The average website takes about 6 seconds to load. While it's not the greatest time to have, it isn't as bad as some. Ideally, you want your website to load under 3 seconds. Below highlights some of the benefits of having a speedier website.

What are the benefits of having a faster website?

It is commonly known that decreasing your website's load speed can improve your website's user experience and potentially bring in more revenue.  Saying that a faster website brings in more revenue is a lofty statement to some, but it is almost certain considering that higher ranking websites get favored in the search result pages (ie; more clicks), as well as improves the user experience so that website visitors don't end up leaving your website and making their purchase somewhere else. So it is even more imperative that e-commerce sites address their website speed than an informational website.

How do search engines see slow loading websites?

Search engines are all about improving the search user's experience, so naturally, the slower your website is, the worse the user experience it has. This is why search engines favor speedier websites. The speed of your site does have an impact on the way search engines choose to rank your website in the search results, in addition to a variety of other rankings factors.

What can I do to check and enhance the speed of my website?

There are also many free website performance tools and browser page speed extensions available that you can use to help you perform website speed analysis, and find the areas that are causing your website speed to suffer. They offer ways for you to optimize and fix these errors. Some things website performance tools help you solve:

  • Large image files: Tools available help you identify images that can be compressed
  • Checks to make sure your website follows W3C standard code
  • Areas where you can use HTTP compression to reduce the size of javascript files and other external scripts that may be too large.

Two great tools are Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools. Google Webmaster Tools is a great tool that allows you to check the average load time of each page and the speed of your site over time. Google Analytics is also a great tool to your website load time statistics. They recently incorporated a new feature that allows you to check the speed of your website and produce website speed reports on this data. While I haven't had the chance to really implement and test website speed performance data on any specific website yet, I can say that it is something I'd like to try in the near future and know that it is an important part in improving a website visitor's experience and search engine rankings. If you're looking to take a deeper dive into how Google incorporates site speed into search rankings, this site speed post by Matts Cutts gives a great explanation of website speed in relation to Google's ranking algorithm, and information on website speed optimization tools. Google also has a great mini site dedicated to website speed related resources and tips. If you have any questions or thoughts on how to improve the speed of your website, or any tips to share, please leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Image credit: Image: http://www.cosmicdiary.org

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