2 Simple Reasons Website Speed Is Hurting Your Business Online (And 3 Ways to Fix Them)
It might not seem obvious, but website speed is one of the most important factors in seeing success and growth online. Whether you run a major plumbing business or a Mom and Pop operation, your website’s speed can make or break your efforts in the digital world. There are two main reasons for this: instant gratification and Google. Find out how optimized site performance and managed web hosting can change the game for you and your business.
Why Is Web Speed So Important?
Reason #1 — Instant Gratification
The first reason that your website needs to be important is that people today want instant gratification. In other words: if it doesn’t load immediately (or pretty close to it), then they’re going to leave and find a different site. You might wonder, “Why is website speed so important to people?” The answer is that speed is always important. Website speed is just one example of that. Improving website speed pays for itself in spades over time.
According to one of the leaders in web page analytics, Pingdom, a “page’s load time directly impacts bounce rate.” And the proof is in the numbers. Pindgom found that “the average bounce rate for pages loading within 2 seconds is 9%. As soon as the page load time surpasses 3 seconds, the bounce rate soars, to 38% by the time it hits 5 seconds!”
To take it even further: once you reach 7 seconds of load time, more than half (a whopping 53%) of all visitors are likely to click their back button and find another supplier or service provider for their needs.
To put this into perspective, think about the last time you did a Google search of your own. Let’s say you were searching for “air conditioning maintenance”. If you clicked on the first result for an HVAC company, but the website didn’t load for a full five or ten seconds, you’d probably have second thoughts about hanging around for very long.
Page Load Time (seconds)
Bounce Rate (%)
Of course, the HVAC company didn’t intend to have a slow website, but because it is slow, they’re very likely going to lose your business (and many other people’s, too).
Now, consider your own website. No matter what kind or size of business you run, and no matter what industry you operate within, speed matters. It’s just a fact of doing business today on the internet.
Reason #2 — Google Rankings
The second main reason you need to have a lightning-fast website is that Google considers speed a key indicator of overall website performance and usability. Let that sink in. Google, the biggest search engine in the English-speaking world, ranks your website based (in part) on its overall speed.
Specifically, Google looks at a few factors, one of which is called Largest Contentful Paint (or LCP), which is a nerdy tech phrase for the biggest piece of content on any particular web page. In order to provide a great user experience, Google recommends getting your LCP down to 2.5 seconds or lower. Anything higher than that, according to Google, is likely to produce a low quality user experience.
So, according to Search Engine Land, if “Google thinks your website users will have a poor experience on your page … Google may not rank those pages as highly as they are now.” Even if people didn’t want their products and services delivered yesterday, the Google ranking algorithm is more than enough reason to work toward a faster web presence. In fact, Google thinks that web speed is so important that they offer a tool called PageSpeed Insights for all business owners to use for free to determine their own site speed.
In other words, this whole “page speed thing” isn’t some marketing company telling you to do something for an upsell. Google, the search engine and traffic King and Queen of the English-speaking world, considers it fundamental to a good experience on a website. Any one of these reasons should be enough motivation on its own. Combined, however, they’re downright scary. In practical terms, they mean that a slow website a) won’t get as many potential customers and b) the ones it does get are likely to leave the site right away.
IMPORTANT: When we say that a photo or image on your website gets “smaller”, we DO NOT mean the actual way it appears on the screen. The actual size of the image/video will be just the way it always was in full size and living color. Instead, we are referring ONLY to the size of the data, the file itself. Just know that your images and videos should always look great even when the file size is reduced or compressed to create a great user experience. Which they will — when you work with us!
Fix #2 — Get Faster Web Hosting
What if you’ve tried to lower your website’s file sizes, but it’s still not providing the speed you’re looking for? If that’s the case, then you might want to look into an entirely new hosting solution for your website. Generally speaking, we’re referring to web hosting, which is where the files that make your website work are stored. You can think of it like the hard drive in your computer — it just happens to be located somewhere else.
Not all web hosts are created equally (we ran the tests, so we know). Some offer budget rates, but you don’t get all the bells and whistles. Others may allow you unlimited web storage, but your website speed suffers. The ideal solution is to shift to a website that’s hosted on a web server that is built just for your site and your company’s needs.
With us, we offer options for both dedicated hosting (a server just for you) and shared hosting (a server with multiple websites on it). We can also implement specific geographical locations for your particular server, depending on where in the world you happen to be located. Work out of Minneapolis? We can use a Minnesota-based server for your website for fast page-loading and optimal performance. We know all this “web hosting” talk can be tricky to understand for the non-nerd crowd. In everyday language, getting a new and better web host is sort of like switching out the old engine in a car. The car (your website) is still the same, but it’s going to run faster, cleaner, and more efficiently than ever before with the new engine (the better web host).
Fix #3 — Go Under the Hood
Once you go beyond the essentials, there are a lot of ways you can tweak a website
“under the hood”, as it were. A few of these include:
- Minifying CSS
- Implementing caching
- Lazy loading (images load only when a user scrolls to them, instead of all at once)
- YouTube videos (upload videos and display them on your site from YouTube, instead of hosting them yourself)
Naturally, the specific nuts and bolts of what all of these entail and how they work is a little bit on the technical side.
That being said, minification in particular is more or less exactly what it sounds like. Minification is “the process of minimizing code and markup in your web pages and script files”. In other words: making something large and complex into a smaller and more streamlined version of itself. You can sort of think of it like your website going on a diet.
Of course, any digital marketing firm worth their salt can help you achieve the best solution to improve your website’s overall performance right away, using these and other methods. Ultimately, it’s all about making your website run better, so that your business can reap the benefits day-in and day-out. That’s really all there is to it.
A Faster Website Means Better Business
If you’re wondering why your web visitors aren’t sticking around, there’s a good chance it’s due to a slow site. You can design a gorgeous layout with the perfect logo and calls to action in all the right places. But if it runs slowly, then you’re not going to see any benefit from all that effort. Instead, switch to managed web hosting and website design utilizing modern best practices from Cut Throat Marketing. Schedule a free consultation to see how you can generate more leads online today.
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