What do you think are the most important ingredients for a successful website? Based on our previous interviews with project stakeholders, most people focus on the design, the messaging, the content and the functionality.
I wouldn’t disagree with any of these answers, but one important factor missing from that list: your website’s speed.
Modern website visitors won’t necessarily notice if your website is fast, but they can feel when things are slow. Would it surprise you that your visitors are not the only ones concerned about how fast your website is? Here are some key reasons why your website needs to be fast:
Your visitors measure the quality of your website’s content as a combination of the value it provides and the level of investment they have to spend to receive that value. Poor reader satisfaction can decrease repeat visits, social shares and direct referrals.
Any increase in time to view a webpage will increase the likelihood of a visitor bouncing away and decrease their overall time spent on page and pages per visit. If you are attempting to drive visitors to the appropriate product or capture leads, this can be a significant concern.
With the amount of traffic coming from mobile visitors and the increasing amount of “sticky” content available on mobile devices, it’s becoming even more difficult to make an impactful first impression. For mobile visitors, a slower load is often attributed to larger download size (which may impact their data caps) or their cell/wifi connection. Regardless of the perceived cause, the impact to your business is still the same: a high likelihood that they will close out of your site and move on to something more responsive and engaging.
In an effort to provide the highest quality results to its visitors, Google is constantly adjusting its measurement and algorithm to better select the best websites. While page speed has been a factor for ranking for a while, in July 2018, it will also become a ranking factor for mobile results as well. This is likely to help drive adoption of its own AMP platform, but it’s another warning signal for poor performing websites to get their acts together.
One of the easiest tools to measure your website’s performance is Google Pagespeed Insights. Simply visit the tool, enter your website address and click the “Analyze” button to receive your results and recommendations.
Some of the most common issues that plague slower websites include:
Many of the recommended changes are going to require someone with a technical background to resolve and we strongly recommending contacting your website developer / IT staff to help explore potential solutions to speed up your website.
If you like to self-manage these types of problems and your website is built on WordPress, we’ve put together a simple guide to optimize your WordPress site.